Are you committing either of the two most common brand marketing mistakes that I see entrepreneurs make?
As an entrepreneur or CEO, your primary focus is on growing your business and achieving your revenue goals. While you may have a general idea of what branding is and why it’s important (I hope!), developing an effective branding strategy requires more than just a basic understanding. This is where hiring a marketing professional with experience comes into play.
While many entrepreneurs may recognize some advantages of hiring a branding expert, as well as the risks of attempting to develop a branding strategy on their own, there are two crucial factors that are often overlooked. Yet these are also the two that I see businesses make most often. These aspects of not having the touch of expertise are even more significant, yet they are not discussed as frequently: lack of documentation, and lack of objective viewpoint.
Reasons Why You Should Hire an Expert
Real quickly before we speak more in-depth about these two overlooked important pieces, here’s a recap of some of the most important reasons why entrepreneurs and CEOs should hire an experienced marketing professional to develop their branding strategy – the list that you’ve probably already heard of:
Marketing professionals like me have the expertise and knowledge to create a strategic branding plan that aligns with your business goals. I can identify your target audience, analyze your competition, and develop a plan to differentiate your brand and position it in the market.
Developing a branding strategy is time consuming, and entrepreneurs and CEOs already have a lot on their plates. By hiring an expert, you can save time and focus on other critical aspects of your business, such as product development or sales – those areas that only you have the real ability to do in your business.
Consistency is key when it comes to branding. A marketing expert helps ensure that your brand messaging and visuals are consistent across all channels, including your website, social media, and advertising campaigns and more.
Return on Investment
Effective branding can lead to increased revenue and customer loyalty. Your branding strategy needs to be designed to generate a positive return on investment.
Pitfalls of Attempting to DIY Your Branding
On the other hand, there are several pitfalls of attempting to develop a branding strategy yourself, that you’re also likely aware of:
Lack of expertise
As mentioned earlier, developing a branding strategy requires specific expertise and knowledge that most entrepreneurs and CEOs may not have. This can result in a less effective branding strategy and potentially waste valuable time and resources.
Without a marketing professional’s expertise, you may miss out on opportunities to differentiate your brand, connect with your target audience, and generate revenue.
Attempting to develop a branding strategy yourself can result in inconsistent messaging and visuals, which can lead to confusion and mistrust among customers.
Developing a branding strategy can be time-consuming, and doing it yourself can take away from your focus on other critical aspects of your business.
Investing in branding is a significant financial commitment – time or money (and time is money), and doing it yourself can result in a wasted investment if the strategy is not effective.
Critical Issue: Lack of Branding Documentation
This, by far, is the most common error I see entrepreneurs face when it comes to their branding. Yet it’s one place that will help their business move forward, and help make their team much more efficient.
One of the most critical factors that can hold back CEOs who are scaling towards a million dollars or more in revenue is the absence of a documented branding overview, which should include both visual and written communication guidelines.
The absence of a documented branding overview can lead to confusion and inconsistency among team members, both internal staff and outside contractors, who are responsible for executing various aspects of the branding strategy. When team members are unsure about the brand or its articulation, they may struggle to effectively communicate its values and mission to the target audience, resulting in a weakened brand image and potentially lost revenue opportunities.
There are two main reasons why this branding document may be missing (or lacking).
First, the entrepreneur or CEO may not be clear about the branding strategy themselves, making it difficult to communicate it to the team or document it effectively. In such cases, it may be necessary to bring in an experienced branding expert who can work with the entrepreneur to clarify their brand messaging and develop a comprehensive branding strategy. If you don’t know what your brand message is, having thought it through and strategized, you cannot tell your team or anyone else.
The second reason is that the entrepreneur or CEO may simply not have had the time to document the branding strategy in writing. A CEO being busy? (gasp!!!) As your business grows and becomes more complex, there will be other urgent priorities that require immediate attention, leaving little time for tasks like documenting your branding strategy. Plus, branding most likely isn’t your zone of genius, and I always recommend that’s where you focus your precious resource of time.
However, investing the time to create a documented branding overview can ultimately save time and resources by ensuring that team members have a clear understanding of the brand, resulting in more efficient execution of the branding strategy.
Lack of brand documentation hinders business growth
Without a clear understanding of the brand by both the CEO and anyone working with them, scaling the business becomes challenging and can hinder its success. Yes, you may still be able to get to the level of success that you actually want – for most of our clients, that’s 7 to 9 figures – but it will take longer and it will be harder … and who wants harder work? (Not me!)
Without a well-articulated branding strategy, entrepreneurs and CEOs risk wasting time and resources on ineffective marketing campaigns, losing customers due to unclear messaging, and ultimately hindering the business’s success.
If team members do not understand the brand, they may make decisions that are not aligned with the business’s goals and mission. This can result in a disjointed brand image, making it difficult to connect with the target audience and generate new customers. Or they may have to wait to get input, direction and approvals, creating project bottlenecks, causing inefficiency and projects taking longer (and I will repeat, time is money!).
Furthermore, if team members are not clear about your brand, they may struggle to effectively communicate its values and mission to the target audience. This can result in a weakened brand image and potentially lost revenue opportunities. In contrast, a well-articulated branding strategy can help team members effectively communicate the brand’s values and mission to the target audience, resulting in a stronger brand image and increased revenue.
Critical Issue: Need for an Objective Viewpoint
One of the most significant challenges for entrepreneurs when developing a branding strategy is the inherent bias owners have towards their business. They have a personal stake in the business’s success, and as a result, they can have a myopic view of their brand. Entrepreneurs may believe that they have a clear understanding of their business and its branding strategy, but in reality, their perspective can be clouded by their personal attachment to the business.
This is where an outsider’s perspective comes in. An experienced marketing professional can provide an objective viewpoint and approach the branding strategy with fresh eyes. They can offer a perspective that is not influenced by personal biases and can provide insights that entrepreneurs may not have considered.
In addition to providing a fresh perspective, marketing professionals also have access to the latest industry trends, tools, and techniques. They can apply this knowledge to develop a comprehensive branding strategy that is both innovative and effective.
Furthermore, marketing professionals have experience working with a wide range of businesses across different industries, giving them a unique perspective that entrepreneurs may not have. This experience can be invaluable when developing a branding strategy that effectively positions the business in the market.
Entrepreneurs often overlook the importance of having an objective viewpoint when developing a branding strategy. While entrepreneurs may believe that they have a clear understanding of their business, personal biases can cloud their judgment. Someone like me can provide a fresh perspective, access to the latest industry trends and techniques, and unique insights gained from working with a range of businesses. These benefits can lead to a more comprehensive and effective branding strategy, positioning the business for long-term success.
Your branding documentation doesn’t have to be fancy – just functional (although there are a few instances in which having something a bit more eye-catching can be helpful).
Developing an effective branding strategy is crucial for entrepreneurs and CEOs focused on growing their business to more than a million dollars of revenue a year. While it may be tempting to attempt to develop a branding strategy yourself, the benefits of hiring an experienced marketing professional far outweigh the potential pitfalls. By investing in a marketing professional, you can ensure that your branding strategy is designed to achieve your business goals, generate a positive return on investment, and set your business up for long-term success.
Ready to get expert insight into your branding?
Schedule a free consultation.
Vicky is the CEO and Chief Creative Strategist of Vicky Wu Marketing. She draws from 30 years of experience at the CMO level, the CEO level, marketing for Fortune 500 companies and multi-million and multi-billion-dollar organizations, PLUS strategies learned helping startups and nonprofits with limited budgets … now focusing on providing SMBs with effective and efficient marketing strategies – giving them access to the same level of expertise as the really big guys with deep pockets, that they may not otherwise be able to access.