Why Branding Matters for Small Businesses

There is an ongoing debate about the role branding should play in a small businesses marketing plan.

Proponents of direct marketing often argue that branding is a waste of time and money for a small business—that 100% of a marketing budget should be devoted to trackable lead generation campaigns. Conversely, branding experts argue that without creating and publicizing an appealing image, other marketing efforts will not be effective.

We believe that the truth lies somewhere in between.

It is almost always a mistake for a small business to invest into a major branding campaign—such as a TV commercial or a billboard campaign. This type of mass-media advertising doesn’t generate results overnight—it takes repeated exposure over a long period of time to have an impact. And such a campaign requires far more cash than most small business owners are willing to invest into their marketing.

On the other hand, direct marketing (such as newspaper advertising, sales letters, lead-generating websites, etc) is far more effective when coupled with a powerful brand. A well-constructed brand defines and strengthens the position of a business within its market.

So what is the proper balance between branding and direct marketing?

We recommend that our clients focus almost exclusively on direct marketing—but only after they have created a strong brand identity. Specifically, that means an effective logo and tagline, branding materials such as business cards and stationary, and a branded website. Creating these basic brand elements allows every direct marketing campaign to reflect a strong, cohesive brand.

So before you think about direct marketing, ask yourself these questions:

1) Have you defined your brand? (If you’re not sure how to start, give us a call!)

2) Does your logo accurately reflect your business—not just what you do, but also who you are and what makes you different?

3) Do your business cards make a strong first impression? (Or are they just like everyone else’s?)

4) Does your website reflect your brand?

Once you have a memorable brand identity that differentiates your business from the competition, you can move on to direct marketing. But until then, your direct marketing campaigns won’t have the appeal that they need to maximize your response rate.

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Spotlight Branding

Spotlight Branding is an internet marketing and branding firm for lawyers. Our goal is to help our clients create an online presence that positions them as a credible expert in their field, keeps them connected with their network in order to stay top of mind and increase referrals, and to become more visible online so prospects can find them!