Reasons Brands Fail: #5 Insufficient Funding
Like so many other priorities in business, branding requires financial investment. Underfunded branding efforts usually fail. Why? Because there isn’t enough investment to provide a sound basis to validate the viability of a brand direction, or to provide the message frequency required for the brand to penetrate customers’ minds. When the latter occurs, messages aren’t communicated to the customer well, aren’t communicated often enough or worse, aren’t communicated at all.
Effective branding requires a level of investment similar to – and during launch, possibly greater than — what you might put into your annual marketing budget. Your brand message needs to be consistent in all media and materials and it needs to be put in front of your audience frequently, which adds cost. As much credit as customers deserve, they are mammals after all, and we mammals learn by repetition. Further, studies show that buyers’ trust for a brand increases in relationship to the frequency with which they experience the brand. Don’t starve your branding effort and expect it to succeed. It won’t.
Selling the Brand
Effective branding requires an investment of time and money. Expecting the salaries of the marketing team to suffice for a brand investment is like sending your teenager to the grocery store without any money. Neither will bring home the bacon.
Another way to think about the branding budget is to realize that making a long-term investment in your brand strategy is akin to renovating a house. You can certainly hire a remodeler and forgo the architect and interior designer, but the results typically reflect the missing expertise on the project.
To build a solid brand house, at a minimum your marketing team will most likely need funds for:
- Market research to determine the sweet spot available for you to stake your differentiating claim in the market, and to test your proposed brand strategy prior to spending to implement it;
- Brand and positioning counsel and/or a facilitator to guide your management team through the brand decision-making process once the findings of the research are available;
- Graphic design for logo and identity package, brand standards manual, creation of brand-consistent templates, update of marketing materials;
- Web development, including design, programming and search engine optimization;
- Copywriting of tagline, website and print and digital communication;
- Production and printing costs to replace mission-critical pieces (some items can be replaced when quantities are exhausted as long as their use doesn’t create brand confusion);
- Internal brand launch expenses to ensure all staff are fully prepared to deliver on the brand promise;
- Brand launch marketing and PR pushes to gain momentum for the new brand;
- Operational impacts of the brand on various support functions, including apparel, fleets, signage, etc.; and
- Ongoing content creation and marketing campaigns to deliver enough frequency to embed the brand promise in the minds of your most important audiences.
Your goal is to provide your compelling brand message with enough frequency that it will create an emotional connection in the customer’s mind. The emotional connection drives buyer purchasing. Yes, even logical business-to-business decision-makers. They cannot escape the basic function of the human brain. It is what it is. People buy things that give them something they perceive they need or want or believe can do something for them or their companies. Keep this in mind as you hone your message. It should never be about your business – an all-too-common messaging mistake; rather, it should be about the experience your product or service creates for the customer. You are selling what your brand does for the customer – not what you do for a living. The level of connection and market penetration required can only be achieved if you fund your brand campaign appropriately. So when your marketing team suggests a branding exercise, be sure that everyone understands it won’t be a small, casual, occasional or inexpensive undertaking.
Don’t want to leave your brand recognition and market penetration to chance? Contact Ward today for help launching your brand. We can help you create, promote, and manage your brand for success.