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Branding 360 Lesson 4: Getting past the initial cost of branding

HomeBranding 360 seriesBranding 360 Lesson 4: Getting past the initial cost of branding
Branding 360 Lesson 4: Getting past the initial cost of branding

Think on these things:
An office is opened at 6:00 am and another at 8:00 am. One spends more on electricity than the other holding all things constant. Yet, one office would serve more clients than the other.
What is the effect here?
Cost and benefit
Making the most out of the hard decisions.

The cost of a brand differs from business to business. Every business has its own costs to handle but the most important thing is in knowing how to make the most out of your decision to brand your business.
Branding is not just about being seen as better than the competition. It’s about being seen as the only solution to your audience’s problem. Once you understand this, you know how to important it is to apportion some expenditure towards your brand.

Look at this scenario:
You sell a product, say fruit juice for 20 cedis. Your competitors sell it in polybags but you decide to sell in boxes instead. The decision to go for the box packaging adds on the cost of your product and the ultimate is that it would cut down on your profits. However, upon observation, you notice most people purchase your drinks because they like the package. This way you are able to cover your cost burden of going for a better packaging. This is the case out there for most our products. The extra costs at branding are recovered sooner enough when customers begin to choose the product ahead of the others on the market. For your fruit juice, you might soon sell at 25 cedis and still get your customers as your branding would have won them over.

Note these truths:
The cost of branding is not monetary. It is the ideas that is costly. Ideas are truly expensive when it comes to branding.
Delays in branding your business can be very costly later. If you don’t have time to do it right now, when will you have time to do it over again? An investment in a brand that would stand out is the way to go.
Before you think money, think on these factors ahead of your decision to brand your business:
How do I want clients to meet me? Dressed, casual, informal, branded or formal?
How do I want clients to remember me? With branded items, with customized messages or even with a shop design?
How would my clients be able to refer others to me?
Am I ready to stand out in this competitive market?

As stated earlier, ideas are really costly:
Let’s say I am a fashion designer thinking about branding my business.
What is the way forward? Do I get wrappers for my clothing? Do I get customized cartons for my clothing? Do I add tags? Do I add stickers? Do I sell off my products in branded polybags?
Before you choose any, you need to know what the customer would want at all times. The food delivery services we see today knew what customers wanted in terms of delivery, speed and timeliness and so capitalized on them. Look at how already cooked foods are packaged and sold on our streets. They come as complete food packs with everything so you can save some time going to queue for food elsewhere.
If ideas are that costly, you definitely need another head to brainstorm with you. Not just any head but an expert in the terrain of branding and marketing. This brings us to the first guideline to saving on your initial cost of branding:
Get expert advice. It saves you from 70% of errors you would have made without it.

Let say you are a chef who wants to start selling food in the University of Ghana. Though a restaurant is likely to gain some patronage from students, you know most students would respond to some form of branding of your business. And since most students do not know of your initial sale point, you are thinking of asking your friends to tell their colleagues about your place through word of mouth.
This approach would be time-wasting and would take a while to yield fruits as most students were likely to eat where they used to. So what then can be done?
Get the expert to give you guidelines in your initial branding decisions. The expert will be able to guide you on the following:

  • To make a banner and hang at a vantage point.
  • To brand your take-away packs and polybags so that whoever sees them outside might be interested in following up to get the same food.
  • To get some branded shirts or aprons for those serving food to customers.
  • To get some flyers and call cards to give out to customers when they visit the restaurant.

Do note however, that the temptation to induce new clients by giving out free foods doesn’t work effectively most times and rather incurs cost to the business. This is because free things are taken for granted most times although this business strategy works within festive seasons so clients can appreciate it as a kind gesture for their patronage and not as a bribe to get them coming in next time. Getting the expert therefore brings these things out so as to target your clients effectively.

“Doing business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark. You know what you are doing but nobody else does”.

Put your budget for branding before the expert or the branding and marketing person. The work of a brands manager is to help fix your business no matter how much you can spare or give to it. Letting him or her know how much you can afford, helps to assess your business and see how best to change the face of your interaction with clients. Through this, you can get maximum returns always. A 100 cedis, 200 cedis or 1000 cedis budget can be structured to meet your needs as long as you leave it to the brand’s manager to work out.
“Getting an idea about a business branding strategy is only 30% of your work. It is the riskier part. Getting an expert to think with you saves you the time and regrets later” (Benjamin Herzberg, Marketing expert)

Make the investment once and for all. A poorly done brand would cost your business. The fact that something is cheap doesn’t mean it is good. Neither does the fact that it is expensive means that it is also good. The cost of a branding move is on knowing if it would be worthwhile in the long run. Your designs must be able to stand through the time you have in business. Your print outs should be done expertly without compromising on quality. Today’s cost to do things well will get you smiling tomorrow. Save for tomorrow’s branding needs today by investing now.


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