The Realities of the Competitive Landscape
Fortune 500 companies have the luxury of multi-million dollar advertising budgets. They are able to invest dedicated manpower and finances into creating brands on a national level—where the scope of work is nearly limitless and the target market spans from coast to coast. They have dedicated, renowned agencies and marketing departments who coordinate, manage and create their brands. So how can small-sized companies possibly compete with these well-known brands and steal a share of the market to call their own? How can small companies get a big bang for their buck and ensure that their budget stretches as far as possible? How? Well, that’s simple… the answer lies in the foundation.
Importance of a Foundation
The foundation of your home is quite literally the base of the house and is the most important structural part. Since it provides the fundamental stability for the future of the house, it is pertinent to lay the foundation correctly or it can be the demise of the house in years to come. The cornerstones behind the foundation are simple—make it sturdy and make it strong. Otherwise, if not properly laid, the entire house structure will be unstable and can collapse.
Similar to a well-built house, the foundation of a company is essential to its longevity and success. This foundation takes on the form of branding through an image or identity, which helps manage the perception of a company and differentiate it from its competitors. Powerful and captivating brands create an instantly recognizable, unique, professional image that can help catapult the company to success.
Essentially, strong branding can create the perception that the company employs hundreds of workers and has a net worth nearing ten million dollars; when in actuality, the company only employs ten workers and has a net worth just nearing one million dollars. Still, the consumer doesn’t know this reality and thinks the company is large, credible and professional because of the image it portrays through branding.
Investing in a Foundation
As indicated, a well-laid foundation is unquestionably essential for a house. As such, experts suggest hiring an engineer or a general contractor for this purpose. Though it will cost a little more money upfront, it will be well worth it in the long run. A strong and well-laid foundation is the best investment you can make, and in this case, quality, attention to detail and experience make all the difference.
Likewise, quality, attention to detail and experience also play critical roles in creating a brand. Strong brand identity stimulates recognition, intensifies differentiation and creates value so it is essential to invest intelligently in the creation of a brand. Don’t rely on your average Joe Schmoe or nephew to strategically develop your brand—as I can promise that your company’s success will be directly impacted. And by no means for the better. Instead, invest in an agency that specializes in this line of advertising. After all, would you entrust your 14-year-old nephew to lay the foundation for your home? I certainly don’t think so.
“Image and perception help drive value; without an image there is no perception.”
–Scott M. Davis, Brand Asset Management
Sustaining a Foundation
Once the foundation of your home is laid, it is still necessary and important to routinely check it, as small cracks can cause major problems in the future. Likewise, every so often your brand may need a facelift to remain relevant in the minds of your consumers. Perhaps, the brand is looking a bit antiquated and needs to be revitalized; or the marketplace has become saturated and you are no longer positioned in the white space; or you are losing relevancy with your niche market. Whatever the reason, preservation is a must. Time can be detrimental not only to a brand image, but also to the house foundation.
And while success in spite of a poor brand is admirable, it also has a tendency to lull the business owner into a false sense of security. Past success is not a valid reason to perpetuate a poor brand. Imagine an even greater success for your business in the future, with the proper branding in place.
The Realities of Budget Constraints
Given these economic times and struggles, we understand the importance of a budget and making that budget work hard for you, and not vice versa. And we understand the need for a website and collateral pieces to support your communication strategy. However, we don’t understand why so many clients want to put the cart before the horse and do the website and collateral pieces prior to creating the brand/logo. If you don’t have a strong brand, why invest in other advertising elements? Would you put up the slabs and framing prior to laying the foundation of a home?