Sorry to be grumpy but when I see an advertising company, which is what the company Facebook is, not the thing, I get annoyed.
Basically branding for small to medium sized, and even massive, companies does not work in 99% of cases. There is no proven repeatable system out there that shows you how to brand and make a return. None. Stats prove most consumers can’t remember branding. Good ads yes branding no.
If branding did have a “system” that worked there would be a que of sales reps outside your door saying you need to implement the “whatever branding series”.
Unlike something like a “dunning letter series” where you use a seven step system of letters to pull in bad debts, that has a known outcome based on proven, tested and repeatable systems.
Branding, however, is full of fluff (actually a branding word used in law) and bubble – like, “oh your Pantone color is so important”, “your ads must have lots of white space” and “let’s sign the contract and go out for a chai latte”. Yea right. Let me give your a tip. When dealing with a Branding company ask for a scheduled ROI against which you will pay their bills and watch the blood drain from their faces.
When they say, and they will, nobody does that. Well point out that literally since they built the pyramids that is how builders are paid. Building work is done, a quantity surveyor surveys the work and works out the payment due in stages and then the payments are made. Simple.
Now I’m not saying good images, good copy, the use of professional video, having a code of company colors and fonts and placing you stuff in the right places is not good. I’m saying they are not what you should focus on. Or over pay for.
Branding as an outcome of direct response is fine. But as a small to medium sized business every penny counts and I challenge anybody to give me a good ROI on branding. I’ve asked hundreds of CEOs to do so and never had one “show me the money”.
And here is the rub. When you get on this branding band wagon its like the “King has no cloths fable” you keep taking the cool aid and buying the invisible clothes until some little punk, normally a small agile competitor, shouts “he’s got no clothes on” and nicks all you business.
Here are one or two examples of this in everyday business.
Oh we need a beautiful looking email/newsletter template. Then spend hours getting just right.
Trouble with that is. No proof, in fact the opposite. That fancy email template do nothing to help you get recognition or sell anything. Also they are annoying to read on a mobile and often get stopped by spam bots. Whereas a plain, simple, short and well worded email get great results.
I see this happen all the time and I just put it down to ego. Some person wants their email to be beautiful thinking that is best for the reader. Well it’s not it’s just your ego.
Adverts. We want a beautiful ad with beautiful pictures and lots of white space and glamor. See them all the time and they suck at selling or making clients react. And by react I mean buy something.
Whereas well written text intensive ads with great before and after pictures, which any company should have, and a call to action like ” call now limited stock” work brilliantly.
I used to work for yellow pages. We had a system that tracked phone calls to ads. Every year the graphic designers would get their prizes for the best ad. Always beautiful one page $75,000 one.
Trouble was when you looked at the call rates. Which is where the business comes from. In bound client calls. The small say quarter page text intensive ad with before and after and call to action got about 8 times the number of calls than the big “ego” ad.
When I pointed that out to management I got told to say nothing. Problem is over time those big ego ads got cut. Rather than go for better text intensive ads clients just stopped using yellow.
For proof you only have to see what has happend. Google Adwords which only have about 147 characters of space and is used by millions of small business has made Google one of the biggest companies in the planet and still growing.
Yellow pages around the world have all shrunk in size, got much smaller ads and now almost all mandate you put a track able number in then so they can prove value.
If branding worked then Google’s main revenue would be banner ads and side bars. It’s not, it’s is so small an amount of their revenue I can never find it reported.
So please please please. Focus your valuable time on the copy, building your list, engagement and cut back on the “branding” cool aid. I know it might make you feel good and all those well meaning never been in business themselves “here’s my free advice” think it’s good. But “the king is wearing no clothes” when it comes to SMe branding.