Why Do Retail Businesses Need A Brand?
The world of business is far more competitive than it has ever been. No longer can retail businesses differentiate from the look of their store alone and expect to attract enough customers to grow. Retailers who continue to do what they’ve always done will now get less and less return for their efforts. Market leaders across every category of retail are positioning themselves strategically for success. The thing these fast growing businesses have in common – something critical to their success is that they’ve built their brands on a well defined strategy that:
- Identifies their core audience
- Defines a differentiated value proposition for that audience
- Establishes what the business must do every day to create a brand experience that communicates the proposition
The Emperors New Brand
Whilst many design studios and web agencies talk about brand on their web sites and in their proposals, most fall woefully short of the required skills and experience required to make a real impact on your business. Brand strategy is not an add-on, it cannot be delivered by a smoke and mirrors graphic designer asking “if you were a brand what animal would you be?”. If the agency does not have full-time, dedicated brand strategists on their team, they will simply be unable to deliver what they promise.
The Brand Development Process
Once the brand strategy has been established, it provides clear direction for the naming (if required) identity design, as well as your digital, marketing and advertising campaigns. It’s worth being aware the different capabilities of a graphic designer when compared to a specialist brand designer are chalk and cheese.
Once the multiple layers of brand definition have been established, they need to be communicated to your target market by way of visual language. Visual language that both attracts and connects with your desired market, and also communicates your proposition and market positioning by way of visual cues. This craft is far more complex than creating a catchy symbol, choosing a matching typeface and a fresh colour palette.
How Much Should Your Branding Project Cost?
Branding project budgets vary greatly depending on the scope of requirements such as research, brand strategy, brand naming, number of brand identity concepts and the list of things your brand needs to be applied to such as packaging, staff uniforms, store graphics and signage, retail space design, web site, marketing materials, ad campaigns, etc.
The second cost variable is the experience of the agency. A good rule of thumb is that if you’re paying too little, it is due to a lack of skill and experience which will directly impact the result of your process. And one thing we know for sure is you only get once chance with your market to position your brand.
Typical Project Budgets
Our branding project budgets start at $15,000 and go upwards from there based-upon the requirements of the client. Our many years experience allows us to ‘cut the cloth’ to suit most budgets, so we encourage you to give us a call to discuss how much you have to invest in your branding.
Avoiding an Expensive Mistake
The complex and endless combinations of visual language available to a designer when developing a brand can and usually does lead to a visual identity that provides confusing and conflicting visual messages. When a brand identity is not designed by a specialist brand designer, the probability that it will fail to connect with the audience, fail to position the business where it desires relative to the competitive market, and fail to communicate the unique brand proposition (if in fact one exists).
When this outcome occurs, not only have the designers fees been wasted, but more importantly the opportunity cost of time wasted and often the even greater costs relating to implementation such as stationery printing, web site design, signage, etc.
We regularly work with clients who have been through the deflating and uninspiring experience of working with generalist graphic designers attempting the specialist task of brand identity design. Whilst the results of us working with these clients inevitably is a great outcome for them and their business, we gain no satisfaction from the wasted time, money and resources they have expended through not working with a specialist from the start.
No matter how well priced the generalist design option may-be, if the outcome does not position your business for success, whatever you spend will be wasted.
Working with Retail Brand Experts
As with any investment in professional service expertise, by engaging experienced specialists to position and design your businesses brand identity, you give yourself the greatest return on your investment in both the project budget, and your future marketing spend.
Recently we worked with TOM Organics, a client who having had a couple of poor experiences working with cheaper graphic designers finally bit the bullet and decided to invest in her brand. TOM makes organic feminine hygiene products, and was distributing through a handful of independent pharmacies when they began working with us. TOM had had no luck in getting a foothold in any of the major retailers despite repeated attempts.
In our view, their brand and packaging was failing to position them with a clear and compelling consumer proposition. We developed a clear and concise brand strategy, tweaked their brand identity and completely overhauled their packaging, developing an evocative brand story along the way. The new brand immediately caught the eye of the buyers at Chemist Warehouse, followed by Woolworths and then Coles, who now clearly saw the brand as adding to their product mix.
In less than 18 months from launching the new brand TOM is now stocked in all the major retailers and has extended their line from three to eight products. As a business they have seen their revenues soar by 1500% and growing. With no changes to anything but our brand work, and with no additional marketing investment we have significantly impacted the growth and success of TOM, and as now they turn their attention to Europe and the US, the sky is the limit.
We highly recommend researching the right brand agency at your project’s outset:
- Ensure they provide in-house, specialist brand strategy expertise;
- Select an agency with demonstrated capacity to design brand identity programs, not just a page of logos on letterheads
- Speak to some of their clients – testimonials are the best way to establish whether the brand agency has the expertise to add real value to the business (you can find a stack of our client testimonials here); finally
- Ask for a cost estimates at the outset – as in life, with professional brand development you get what you pay for. Brand strategy and brand design expertise does not come cheap. In our experience, if the agency is quoting you less than $10,000+ they almost certainly cannot deliver the specialist expertise you require.
As experts in the field of retail branding we work with clients across the category to define and position their brand for success. Whether you’re refreshing or repositioning your brand or working on a start-up, if you’re looking for effective and proven brand development to assist in building and growing your business, give us a call. We’re more than happy to meet and discuss our process and the difference we can make.
“The brand definition work and brand identity design Truly Deeply developed for our Spudbar chain of healthy food stores has blown the lid on the potential for our business. We believe what was previously a nine store franchise now has the market positioning, store design and brand image to expand into a significant national network. As a return on business investment I can’t rate the brand work Truly Deeply produce more highly.”
Ant Morrel, Spudbar Owner & National Director of Marketing & Sales
Like what you see?
We are one of Australia’s most experienced and creative retail brand agencies. Our own value proposition is founded on the return on investment our work provides to our clients and their businesses. We invite you to call us or drop us a line to make a time to discuss the commercial benefits of working with us to develop your brand.