Just as much as you feel you can do it all, sometimes you should know when to step outside of your comfort zone and engage a consultant. And, for many people, branding is among those times. We spoke to Michael Marsland-Root, Owner and inventive Director of Red Five Design, Small Business BC’s Threepipe, about the importance of branding and how it might affect your bottom line. Here’s what he had to say.
“Small businesses often consider branding as only something large companies do,” said Michael. “People associate it with big advertising campaigns, something unaffordable, and not for small enterprise.”
However, there is much more to branding than advertising. It really is about how exactly your organization interacts with the customers. Yes, this includes a logo, but it’s also about how exactly you answer the device, how you connect with your clients, how you process a sale and the way you keep on that relationship. Although a graphic designer can create some of this, threading the personality of your own business through everything that you simply do is when a branding consultant can be purchased in.
“Thinking too small,” says Michael. “There is a propensity to see a well-designed, well thought out brand as too slick or big.” However many customers do not factor size within their decision making process, they simply want to deal with a cohesive, professional business, no matter whether these are small or large. “Just because you’re a business of only one, there’s no reason at all not to look as professional and ‘put together’ because the big guys.”
Impartiality as being a sounding board and a set of fresh eyes are invaluable in terms of creating a brand or re-design.
“When someone starts an organization, it is actually their dream, their life’s passion, and it’s very hard to allow them to take a step back and look at the business through impartial eyes,” he explains. For this reason a brand consultant can be so valuable. Their unbiased opinion can easily see things you will probably have overlooked and may be harming your edge against your competitors, which can be where their experience kicks in. “The brand expert might be able to in a short time provide ideas and suggestions that you may possibly not have access to considered,” says Michael. “And those suggestions, small or big, will have a massive impact on your company.”
But that experience does not mean they are unwilling to listen. “I realize that many people a new comer to the notion of working with a brand consultant fear how the consultant won’t pay attention to the organization owner’s real needs and desires,” says Michael. “In truth, while some are similar to that, the majority of us believe in an exceedingly co-operative approach.”
He explains that if starting a romantic relationship using a branding consultant, the consultant’s primary role is always to listen. Hear the history of your business. Tune in to where you see your business going. Pay attention to where you see yourself available on the market. In the end, how do a consultant recommend a technique if they don’t be aware of the business?
It’s difficult to stand back and take an objective look at your business, so it is natural to appear to a trusted member of the family, close friend, former co-worker, mentor, or yes, 50dexspky consultant. But be careful about collecting too many opinions warns Michael.
“Friends and family love you and desire one to succeed, hence they will often be by far the most outspoken with free opinions and feedback. And sometimes these tips is contradictory, which can drive you crazy,” he warns.
Instead, Michael advises business people to pick out a select few voices to listen to, and to understand that at the end of the day the business will be your dream. After all, “No great company out there has available everybody in the boardroom happy. They each had hard calls to create, they knew were right. So seek out advice but ultimately you have to pick which to listen to and which to politely ignore.”
Michael is Small Business BC’s resident branding expert in your “Ask an Expert” series. For just $40, you can book a 45 minute appointment with him to ask for tips and concepts of how to make building your brand. The services are available both in person and via Skype and will give you a fantastic taste of the sorts of advice and services he provides.