Investing in branding isn’t an easy decision when having limited resources, especially during the early days of business. Without a doubt, many startups decide to pay for a cheap logo to represent their business. They hope that it will differentiate their business from competitors and attract potential customers. But one question that I always have is how could they get the business off the ground if they overlook one of the most important things, like branding.

For a typical startup owner, branding may seem more like an ice cream topping. They try to cut the corner for taking care of their brand on the cheap. In many cases, branding seems to be something nice to have rather than something essential. Branding is one of the most under-appreciated investments.

A brand touchpoint, for example a business card, is being used when you connect with potential customers. Most of the business cards out there are not well designed. It looks like an advertisement that overwhelms you with a lot of information in a small piece of paper. Some of them still have a fax number which we don’t use it anymore. So where is the value of keeping those business cards over the better one? Does it give any sense of quality of the products or services they provide?

Paying for a cheap logo is not the solution for branding needs. Instead, invest in branding the right way, in the earliest stage possible, and on budget will help build a solid foundation of your business. Your brand strategy defines who you are, what you do and why your potential customers should go with your business instead of competitors. Not only giving esthetically pleasing look for the business presence, but also giving positive impression to your potential customers. Hearing them say like “Wow, that is a beautiful business card.” or “Your business cards look very nice, can I have one?” will make you proud of your business.

Credibility does not exist in the early stage for startups. Potential customers never heard of you. Investing sufficient funds into brand building such as brand strategy, brand message, a clean website, logo and marketing materials will help establish credible touchpoints. This will leave a great impression to your potential customers. Furthermore, it helps business get the attention of the noisy marketplace. Investing in branding is investing in trust and credibility.

Building a brand will also increase the value of business overtime. Think about well-known brands. Not all the things their customers buy are at the cheapest price, but because they trust in the brand. They believe in good value and want to reflect their own identity. When we look at a startup business, a new business can’t penetrate the market without trust and value and one common strategy is having the lowest price. Entering the pricing war is not a good business decision. Once big competitors lower their price, it puts the new businesses in a difficult position. How far can it go? Can new businesses make the cost lower than the big companies? Reducing price also means thinner margin, cutting back on other costs and, of course, reducing the quality of products or services that they provide to customers.

Giving value to customers in the early stage is crucial for startups. Use branding as a tool to amplify business identity, attract, influence, and nurture your target audience to believe in what your business stands for. Trust and credibility will build up as the business grows.

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