A Smart Branding Investment Guide for Professional Services SMEs

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Imagine your brand as the main character in the story of your business – it’s not just what you tell people it is, it’s who they believe it to be.

In the professional services world, your brand is much more than a sharp suit or a glossy business card; it’s the embodiment of your reputation, the whisper in the market about who you really are.

Good branding is about always making a great first impression – it’s about being distinct, being memorable, and never ever being misunderstood.

Now, the million-dollar question (not literally, don’t worry): How much should you invest in your brand? Buckle up as we guide you through the nuances of branding investment, ensuring your brand not only enters the room but also lights it up.

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Decoding Branding Spend: More Than Just a Pretty Logo

Branding: Combining brushstrokes to create business’s portrait

Your brand is like a masterpiece on canvas – each brushstroke telling a part of your story. Your logo may be the first stroke, but then your website, your videos, your social pages and indeed each and every post – they are all tiny impressions contributing to the whole. The epic portrait emerges over time as your audiences experience different touchpoints.

And the act of painting never ends. With brand development, it is never a case of “one and done”. Every brand needs to evolve for a whole variety of reasons.

Allocating Your Branding Budget: A Balancing Act

Where to Spend: A Strategic Puzzle

There’s no magic number, but aiming for 20-30% of your marketing budget towards branding is like choosing the right spice level – enough to leave a lasting taste but not too much to cause discomfort. The ‘where’ part? That depends on what your brand needs most. Is your website starting to induce yawning? Does your social media lack sparkle? Identify where your brand feels lacklustre and direct your funds there. In building your brand, it is important to get strategic.

If for example your financial services company “Investment League” realises that your social media was about as engaging as watching paint dry… Then you want to reallocate a portion of your branding budget to social media, infusing personality and tech-savvy charm into your online presence to build more human connection.

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Think practical: A long-term investment that must deliver returns

Amortizing Branding Spend Over 5 Years

When it comes to branding, think of it not as a monthly utility bill but more like a mortgage on a house – it’s a long-term investment that pays off over time.

Especially when doing a brand refresh, spreading the cost of branding over a five-year period is a savvy financial move. It recognizes the lasting impact of branding and helps in strategic financial planning, transforming what might look like a daunting expense into a manageable investment.

For example, consider ‘Building Assets Solutions’, an assets and facilities management consultancy firm facing a major rebrand. Their $60,000 branding overhaul might seem steep at first glance. But when spread over five years, it breaks down to a $12,000 annual investment – a figure that suddenly seems a lot more digestible and justifiable.
Why It Works: More Than Just Spreading the Cost
Long-Term Value: This approach underlines the fact that good branding continues to pay dividends well beyond its initial implementation. It’s an investment in your company’s future.

Financial Stability: By breaking down the cost, you avoid the shock of a large one-time expense, ensuring smoother financial operations.

Regular Updates: Committing to a multi-year plan encourages regular reviews and updates to your branding, keeping it fresh and aligned with your evolving business landscape.

Measurable Returns: When bundled in at 20-30% of marketing costs, you are able to track return on branding investment in a tangible way.

Branding: Long term value creation

Investing in branding is akin to investing in the future of your business. It’s not just about how much you spend, but how wisely you spend it. Whether it’s revitalising a tired brand, navigating a business acquisition, or simply ensuring your brand stays current and compelling, consider branding as an ongoing narrative of your business’s journey. By amortising branding spend over a longer term, you’re not just spreading costs; you’re strategically planning for a brand that grows, adapts, and thrives alongside your business. In the end, it’s about making sure your brand’s story is one that continues to captivate and resonate year after year.

At the heart of a thriving business lies the concept of brand equity – the value and strength of your brand in the minds of your customers. That’s what this investment is all about – creating lasting impressions, fostering trust, and establishing an emotional connection with your audience. It’s more than just recognition; it’s about being the preferred choice, the name that comes to mind when people think about your industry.

Of course this process naturally involves consistently delivering on your brand promise, ensuring every interaction with your brand reinforces its values and essence. From the quality of your services to the tone of your communications and the impact of your social media presence, every aspect contributes to this intangible yet invaluable asset.

Fundamentally, investing in brand equity means investing in the pillars of trust, loyalty, and recognition – elements that stand the test of time and market changes. It’s a strategic endeavour, one that transforms customers into advocates and transactions into relationships. In the grand scheme of your business’s story, building brand equity is not just a chapter; it’s the theme that runs through every page, making your brand not just seen, but felt and remembered.

Talk to us today about investing in your brand.

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