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BRAND IS AN ASSET

Why good branding isn’t cheap and why it’s worth the investment

You are spoilt for choice when it comes to creative agencies and graphic designers to create a new identity for you.

But that’s the point, it’s usually just an identity. To build a brand is a lot more complex and it’s why you see such a range of costs to create your branding.

We discuss why good branding isn't cheap and why it's worth investing the time and money into your brand as it will more than pay itself back in the long term.

Think in skill, not time

Sometimes it may not take long to actually create certain elements of an identity but to do any of it well almost definitely took many years of experience. Often it does though.

No person or business should be punished for having the skill to create better output in a shorter amount of time. What you tend to be paying for with a more expensive branding exercise is the time to think about how that business needs to be positioned.

To do this well and consider how that would look and sound across digital, print and social, takes a lot of time and thought.

We have lost jobs based on deliverables for the price. It's short sighted. What you should be asking yourself is can this agency position my business rather than can he deliver more for a cheaper price.

You get what you pay for

I had a potential lead bragging that he built his previous website for £3000. Design, build, imagery and copywriting. He was calling me to rebrand his business and build a new site 4 years later as he said it dated quickly. No wonder.

Obviously we parted ways.

Taking the time to build a brand doesn't mean re-creating it from scratch every three to four years as you didn't do it properly first time around. Look at most global brands, they evolve over time but keep their core essence. Each interpretation builds on the last and what you see today is a few hundred year evolution.

Your brand is an asset

Branding should be viewed as building assets that become an important element of your intellectual property.

It can often be overlooked as a lot of people believe marketing a business is far more important. Marketing is vital for every business to get its message heard but if you look and sound like everyone else, I sure hope you have deep pockets.

It's all about positioning

So instead of lots of people knowing you and being average. Spend the time to build a brand so every person that comes into contact with you does your marketing for you.

People share the exceptional. They don’t often like or share average. It’s how things spread.

Take for instance ikon. We spent a whole year on strategy and refining our message and our offer. We tested quickly and made mistakes but now we clearly differentiate in the market.

Of the people who visit our website, we have attracted our ideal audience. One of the first after our repositioning was in the luxury interiors and architecture space and more recently an enquiry from Cartier. Both examples of ideal clients. It’s definitely not by chance either.

Find ways to differentiate

Rather than go for mass appeal and please no one, differentiate your offer, differentiate visually and differentiate in the way you speak.

All of this stems from understanding your audience and what they value.

This is why branding is much deeper than a visual exercise and the more you treat it like one, the more you are likely to attract average.

Document and be consistent

It doesn’t stop there, now you have built a brand to be proud of that defines your business, it all needs to be documented to ensure any employee or external person understands exactly what you stand for and how your brand should be represented.

We have spoke with so many founders who struggle with consistency across all their marketing. Guidelines solve this.

Recently we started working with Westfield to help define their global brand guidelines. A recent merger with Unibail-Rodamco has prompted even more of a reason to tighten consistently across all their centres.

So whether you are starting out, established or global, the quicker you become consistent, the more likely your bottom line will increase.

How good will your brand be

There are plenty of agencies that will knock together an identity for you but if you want to build a brand that lasts, see it as an investment in the future of your business.

So it's your choice. Do you choose a surface level rebrand that makes you look, sound and act like everyone else in your market? Or do you take the time to think about how you position yourself and how you differ. Good branding can stay with you for many years to come and if you make it exceptional, you best start thinking about where you want to spend your early retirement.

This article is written by Alex Colley, Creative Director of ikon | We are a boutique branding & creative agency – but not in the traditional sense. We hand-pick a team from our experienced creatives to suit each project, delivering a personal and bespoke service. Alex is always the lead contact every step of the way and our clients include the likes of Westfield, Porsche, Oakley & F1.
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