Don’t fall for cheap “branding”

Cheap attempts at branding can have a serious cost for your brand. We examine why there’s no substitute for professional branding – check it out

Don’t fall for cheap “branding”
Branding: is it worth a big investment? The growth of services like Canva and Fiverr mean it’s now quicker, easier and cheaper than ever to produce a halfway decent looking logo.

But buyer beware. A brand is a specialised tool – and a cheaper, off-the-shelf option is unlikely to do the things your business needs it to do.

Before we look deeper into what makes professional branding distinct from beginner efforts, we need to ask what a brand actually is. While there’s a common misconception that a brand is just a logo, a brand is actually a carefully crafted identity that covers every element of a business and reflects its story, vision, market, and aspirations.

Why is cheap branding so expensive?
Cheap branding means trading short term gain for long term pain. Off-the-shelf branding jobs fail because they go straight to design without understanding enough about the business. So you end up with something that doesn’t represent your beliefs or help you make meaningful connections with your target audience.

Businesses that jump into branding without defining who they are, what they can offer and who they’re trying to speak to are doomed to fail. Conversely, a successful brand clearly communicates something that inspires its target audience. These are all things that must be considered from the very beginning of the branding process – a quick and easy graphic design just won’t cut it.

We see this especially with start-ups that try to retrofit their whole brand narrative to a logo that was only ever meant as a placeholder, or that run through a variety of logos in quick succession looking for one that “fits” – it never quite works. In many cases, the sunk cost fallacy is at play and businesses continue throwing good money after bad.

In fact, investing in strategy upfront and getting the brand right first time will save you rebranding your business while in flight, which can cost you both reputationally and monetarily. There are few things as fundamental to a business as its brand, and every day that it uses branding that’s not tailored to its purpose is a day of missed opportunities for investment and growth.

There are few things as fundamental to a business as its brand

What do you get from a real branding agency?

A professional branding agency helps a start-up identify its brand story, creates a comprehensive identity that reflects it, and sets it up across every platform to create a cohesive experience for clients, customers and colleagues.

At Redhouse, we call these three stages:

brand definition, which consists of research and strategy to identify what the brand should represent about the business

brand expression, where we create a bespoke visual identity by identifying the colours, typography, language, logo and other elements that will create the right impression

brand engagement, where we apply the brand to business communications like the website, social media, events and campaigns.

Branding is a process, not an event
Successful businesses don’t stand still, and their branding shouldn’t either: a brand should evolve over time to remain a reflection of the business it represents. This evolution doesn’t have to mean a complete overhaul every year, but rather a constant questioning of whether the brand still captures the organisation’s mission. When something doesn’t match any more, it’s time for a change. 

As a branding consultancy, we also offer a Brand Accelerator Workshop, which assesses your brand in five key areas and pinpoints high-impact actions to rapidly improve performance.

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