Often times I get emails from new clients who are starting a new venture or going through a rebranding process of their existing business. Some of these messages have the same request: I need a brand built for my company that is launching next week, can you please help? I get this question so often that I thought it might be useful to create this post.
Building a brand takes time and persistence. A brand is so much more than a logo, business card and website. It is the combination of all the associations, memories and experiences that people develop over time by interacting with your brand.
When you are starting a new business, none of these impressions exist. Customers have no idea who you are, what your company is or how the experience will be doing business with your company.
Yes, you will likely make a great first impression if you have a slick website with powerful imagery and concise, focused messaging. This will get your business into the customer’s consideration set among many other alternatives that they are considering. There is no denial that this is a critical step for your business. Nobody is impressed when they go on a website that has animated GIFs from the 1990s plastered all over it. This will likely eliminate your chances of even being considered.
Here comes “the but…”
But, when we are talking about building a strong brand, we are talking more than just the first impressions. You can generate a big hype about your business using smoke and mirrors, it is really not that hard these days with the technology that is available to us. However, true branding happens when your customers start interacting with your company in different ways. That is when the first impressions are turned into concrete experiences and associations.
Imagine you have the most beautiful looking website with a slick logo and compelling content that draws a lot of customers. If those customers come out of the other end of the funnel unhappy, none of those first impressions will save you. In fact, I would go so far as to say that it will be to your disadvantage that you present such a powerful looking brand and provide such bad experience. There is nothing worse than a customer who feels betrayed by false advertising.
The analogy I like to use for this situation is one that probably many of us have experienced at one point or another in life: the fruit analogy.
When you are shopping for fruit, it’s a bit of a gamble unless you absolutely know what you are doing. And even then, there is always a possibility of a bad surprise. You look at a watermelon that looks beautiful and ripe on the outside. You grab it, feel the weight a little bit, maybe even ask an associate in the store to confirm its ripeness. But in the end all that matters is what you see when you take it home and cut it open. Until then, you are never 100% sure whether it is going to be the tasty, juicy watermelon that you expect it to be.