With the future looking uncertain for many businesses across the UK (and, indeed, worldwide), and the prospect of a weak post-pandemic economy striking fear into the hearts of struggling companies, many entrepreneurs are searching for ways to cut costs in order to stay afloat in 2020.

Like marketing and advertising, design is typically one of the first things that gets shelved when budgets are tight. But when it comes to developing a stand-out brand identity, the price of getting it wrong is much higher than the cost of getting it right.

Recap: why is branding important?

I’m always talking to my clients about the benefits of creating a solid, instantly recognisable brand.

I know first-hand that good branding will:

  • Communicate your company’s personality
  • Differentiate you from your competitors
  • Shape how you’re perceived in the wider market
  • Create a sense of trust and loyalty from your customers

And, crucially, a brilliantly well-thought-out brand identity design will leave a great impression on everyone who interacts with you.

Can you really afford to leave this first impression to chance – even if it means investing a little more in the design process right now?

What happens if you don’t invest in good branding?

Sadly, I’ve come across the following scenario many times throughout my career as a graphic designer in Essex:

An entrepreneur – let’s call him John – has a great idea for a product or service. John spends an age researching his industry, analysing his rivals and coming up with a sound business plan. But, in his haste to bring his brainchild to the market, he decides not to spend time (and money) developing a brand identity that aligns with his values and truly represents his vision.

His launch comes around. He impresses a few people in the first few weeks of trading, but he quickly sees a drop-off in interest. Why? Because he’s failed to present his business as professional, credible, and the kind of organisation that’s here to stay.

By believing that he could sell his idea on his own merits, and without the backing of a strong brand, John has blown his chance to make a real impact in his sector. He’s turned off his potential customers with his amateur logo and his makeshift designs. He’s let an inadequate brand identity limit his company’s potential – and all because he didn’t want to invest in sound design knowledge to begin with.

Some more sobering stats for would-be DIY designers

Still tempted to take to the reins of your branding project for the sake of saving a few pennies?

These recent statistics should send you running straight back to your designer!

The stat: Leaving a great impression is vital when it comes to developing customer loyalty. 48% of consumers say they are more likely to stay loyal to a company if their very first experience with the brand is a positive one.

The takeaway: Create an underwhelming brand, and you could risk losing the attention of your target audience.

The stat: 52% of people will not buy from a company because of bad brand aesthetics.

The takeaway: We’re shallow creatures (!) – and design really does matter!

The stat: People make a subconscious judgement about a product within 90 seconds of viewing it for the first time – and between 62% and 90% of this judgement will be based on colour alone.

The takeaway: Picking the wrong colour palette for your brand could spell disaster for sales.

The stat: Presenting a brand consistently across all platforms has been proven to increase a company’s revenue by as much as 23%.

The takeaway: There are direct financial benefits to investing in professional brand guidelines and making sure they are used throughout all business materials.

Don’t be afraid to invest in building a professional brand identity, even in these unsettling times. Shoddy design work really could do your brand more harm than good in the longer term.

I’m always happy to chat with business owners and entrepreneurs who need a hand developing a new brand identity. Drop me a message if you want to arrange a convenient time to talk. And check out this post for more actionable branding and marketing advice to help you take your business to the next level.