Brand Smart from the Start

I’ve admonished entrepreneurs up and down the Internet to think about branding right from the start.

Yet for the most part I only get the “yeah, buts” in response.

Yeah, but branding is expensive.

Yeah, but we’re too small to think about branding now.

Yeah, but I’ve got to get this business up and running – branding can wait.

Yeah, but we’ve got higher priorities and no cash.

I’m a member of an organization called CEOSpace. It used to be called IBI Global. It’s an organization of entrepreneurs that are fortunate enough to have a very well-staffed, highly acclaimed workshop five times a year. It’s called the Free Enterprise Forum with a weeks worth of workshops, lectures and networking opportunities for all things entrepreneurial. Their faculty is top-notch. And one of the sessions is about branding. It’s well attended, but I sense a lot of reluctance by attendees to consider branding a priority.

They may put a line or two in their business plans, and maybe even budget some money for a logo. But very few understand the importance of branding, and only one in twenty-five are passionate about it.

Branding: a number one priority.

As entrepreneurs, these members have a lot of balls in the air – financing being one of the most immediate for people attending the Forum.

My contention is that a brand, complete with a positioning statement and a brand story up front, will help you get financed. If your brand is clearly differentiated and presented with passion, savvy investors will buy in.

Yet, a dull business plan and a private placement memorandum, perhaps housed in a nice binder, is their approach to attracting money.

But just as a brand can be a customer magnet, it can also be an investor attractor.

So think branding early and often. A brand can help you get to market faster and with more impact.

Brand smart from the start.

Martin Jelsema

3 thoughts on “Brand Smart from the Start

  1. Martin you are right on! I wish when we started we would have spend more time and money establishing our brand. Typical of your article we followed the normal scenario start up business. That was getting a web site, never mind brand, logo or the rest of it, just get a website up. Then get the product out, not much thought to design, brand, logo. Then go after the financing, patent, trademark etc. Now as we look back at it, I can appreciate your wisdom. Keep up the good work.

  2. Martin, thank you very much for the comment you added to my article on (“Branding Your Growing Company”). Always a pleasure to find and talk with a fellow “branding evangelist,” if I may call you that. I want to do another branding-focused article soon, I’ll contact you soon about it. Thanks, –Jim

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