‘Branding service’ is one of those weird phrases you’ll stumble across when you first start out in the online entrepreneur world. You’ll probably see it and think ‘What even is that? Do I need it? Hold me.’
Stress less, sweet cinnamon roll, as all will be explained.
Branding services exist to help people create a brand around their product. Branding services could include your logo, tagline, colour scheme and packaging if need be and the general tone and vibe that you want your product to give off.
For example if we look at the branding of Chanel we know it’s classy, classic, French and very sophisticated. If we look at the branding of Aldi supermarkets, we know it’s basic, inexpensive and if you’ve seen any of their hilarious ads, they’re working with the widespread assumption that their products are inferior and turning that assumption on its head. All of this is very smart branding. There’s no way you’d see a cheeky ad for Chanel, because that’s not their branding and thank god for that because scrappy, rugged Brad Pitt needs someone one to pay him obscene amounts money to spout flowery crap like this.
Chanel and Aldi aside, what can a branding service do for your business?
1. Act as that super honest friend you have who always tells you if what you’re wearing makes you look like a couch
If you get a good branding service, they’ll be able to tell you when something isn’t working. If they’re an excellent branding service, they’ll be able to do this without pissing you off. We all get a bit clingy and weird about our businesses, but a branding service will be able to sit you down and talk you out of bad decisions. Much like your best mate who gently talked you out of wearing a pleather dress to a tropical destination wedding. Hot tip: When a branding service tells you not to do something (like publish a photo of your ingrown toenail surgery on your business Instagram account), that advice is not for them, it’s for you. It doesn’t matter how irreverent and funny your brand is, no one wants to see that.
2. Help you define your brand story
Let’s say you sell fancy soap. You spend all day sourcing materials, emailing suppliers, packing products and filling orders. When someone asks you what your brand story is you’re probably going to say something like ‘I dunno, I sell soap.’ Which is fair enough, you’re busy; you’ve got shit to do. Buy some soap or get out of my face, right?
A branding service can help define your brand story so that customers have a connection with your background. There might be a memory from your past of your grandmother leaving a fresh bar of soap on a folded towel on the end of your bed when you went to stay with her, and you loved that fresh bar of soap that was all yours. From then on, every time you unwrapped a new bar of soap you always thought of your grandmother. (Side note: I just invented a mythical product with a false story behind it, and now I want to buy it. THE POWER OF COPYWRITING!)
When you’re too busy being in your business, branding services can help you develop the story that’s going to get your customers buying your product. Hot tip: Don’t lie. You can undoubtedly decorate and fancy-up a basic story, but things like this should be based on truth.
3. Make you fit in…
Branding services are like cool hunters. They know what’s working in a variety of different fields and they can give you advice based on these parameters. Like WGSN. This service provides forecasting advice specifically for fashion, but branding services should be able to tell you what’s trending in your niche, like products and sales tactics so you can keep up with other people in your industry. You’re spending too much time worrying about your own business to be trying to Keep Up With The Kardashians. Let your branding service monitor Kim and Kanye for you. You’ve got more important things to do.
4. But also make you stand out
The trick is to fit in but also stand out. A branding service should be able to help you identify your point of difference, and that’s what you’ll be pitching to your customers. For example, Go To skincare’s point of difference is their small product range. Their whole inventory is made up of about ten products, and they capitalise on that by saying their face wash is so great, they only need one kind. A branding service will be able to pinpoint that juicy hook for you to pimp to your customers.
5. Take all of your ideas and roll them into a neat, deliverable package
Again if you’re running a business, you barely have time to think about posting things on Instagram, and when you do find a moment, you’ll probably sit there with your phone clenched in your hand, paralysed about what to post. A branding service can give you a cheat sheet of what to post on Instagram, when to post it and what colours and styles of images to use. That way you have all the rules ready and laid out so the guesswork is taken out of it for you.
If your website needs a bit of loving but you’re still not sure if you should fork over the $$$ this guide is for you…