It happened on a nice and friendly spring day in April 2017. Dr. David Daos had to take a flight with United from Chicago O’Hare airport so he could be at his hospital the next day to do what doctors do.
Before his flight that day, he’d never have imagined how fast this flight would end for him.
Everything went smoothly with the airline and its slogan “Fly the friendly skies,” until it wasn’t so friendly anymore and the poor health professional was removed in a not so healthy, but a rather forceful way from the flight.
The reason: United needed four seats to accommodate four crew members who had to fly out the next morning and several passengers who had to leave the flight were picked randomly because no one wanted to give up their seats, of course.
Did United have a great logo? Yes.
Did United have a great slogan? Absolutely.
Did United have great marketing materials in print and web? Sure.
Did they have a consistent color scheme in all their marketing? Yes, that too.
So, with great branding, they must have had a good brand, right? Not at all.
Many websites you can find on the topic of branding for small businesses refer to creating logos, and or doing an overall rebrand.
But do you create a great brand just by creating new branding?
A Revealing Definition of a Brand
According to a highly recommended article from INC, your brand is the emotion that a customer feels when thinking about your product.
That’s interesting because that also means that you just need to create the right feelings for your product or service and you can create a brand.
So, if you come across a nice-looking real estate website with a nice logo and design, you might get a comfortable feeling about the company at first.
But then you get to know the people behind the business and find out that they don’t know their stuff and can’t really help you.
The initial good feeling gets strongly framed with an overall bad feeling when getting closer to experiencing their product or service.
When this happens, any effort on your behalf to apply branding to fix a crappy customer experience with your product or service won’t solve the problem.
On the other hand, when a customer really likes, for example, the way you handle difficult real estate deals for duplex investment properties and you know that this is the case, you can take out the branding toolbox and amplify this experience with different ways of communicating through logos, taglines, websites, colors, etc.
What Else Defines A Brand? And Does Branding For Small Businesses Make Sense At All?
You need to know what your target group or customer feels when thinking about your product or service, hence you need first-hand knowledge about your customer’s experience with your product or service.
If you base your branding efforts only on assumptions and not real knowledge about your target group, it might turn out to be only wishful thinking and you’ll be sending contradictory messages when customers experience your product or service.
Take my website for example. It’s still quite a fresh website. I have an idea of you, the reader, because of my experience with the real estate industry.
But the name of the site might still tank and so could the tagline. The tagline “Practical Real Estate Marketing Strategies That Give You An Edge” is my “why” of this website.
With time, regular visitors to this website might attach an emotion to that tagline or the logo and name when thinking about it.
Then they might connect this emotion to the name and logo for “Valhalla Real Estate Marketing“.
This might happen or might not.
I don’t know anything about the emotions yet.
If I wanted to focus on branding efforts, thinking about other logo versions, colors, font styles, etc., it would be too premature and almost certainly a waste of money and time because I would base all this work only on assumptions that may or may not be true.
What does that mean for you?
This means, that you don’t need to focus on branding efforts too early because you just don’t know what your target group feels when thinking about your product or service yet.
A better idea might be to focus on conversion and a great customer experience, as you can read about below.
This comes with time, and consistently providing a great product or service.
That’s also why the large brands like Coca-Cola didn’t start with a huge branding project too early.
Most of the time, they had a long history of providing a consistently excellent product to their customers.
Let’s Check Some Underlying Assumptions for a Second
What’s the main assumption many small businesses, in our case real estate businesses, make when they feel they have to work on their branding or read many articles about branding (often coming from agencies)?
It’s most likely that the right branding will build trust with new customers and present ones and this trust will help grow their business.
What does growing a business mean?
It means either converting more leads into paying customers at the same price points or converting the same amount of leads into paying customers at higher price points and at a higher profit rate.
The curious thing is that you can create a brand even with bad branding and a good conversion rate, as long as you create a great customer experience with your products or services.
Just for the sake of offering you something complete, I thought about the three elements, branding (logo, tagline, design, etc.), conversion rate (based on copywriting and/or sales) and brand (based on customer experience).
These are the possible combinations. You can have…
- Bad branding, a good CR, and a bad brand (not too likely)
- Bad branding, a bad CR, and a good brand (also not too likely, I guess)
- Bad branding, a bad CR, and bad brand (don’t be this)
- Bad branding, a good CR, and good brand (probably the most economical one)
- Good branding, a good CR, and a good brand (probably because you were the one before this point)
- Good branding, a bad CR, and a bad brand (this means you wasted money on branding)
- Good branding, a good CR, and bad brand (here, something in you customer experience with your product/service should be fixed)
- Good branding, a bad CR, and a good brand (likely because of copywriting and/or sales issues)
With number 4, you can see that you can have a crappy website with a bad logo and design, but a good conversion rate due to good copywriting and/or sales and because of a good customer experience with your product/ service and a good brand.
By the way, here are five examples of ugly designs, that convert pretty well.
What I don’t know is whether they are good brands too, because I don’t know about the customer experience with the products.
So maybe after reading this article, you’ll want to reconsider your planned branding efforts and if you already have several years of great customer experience history behind you, you may want to go for it.
Everyone else might want to focus first on creating a good customer experience and focusing on great conversion rates.
If you liked the article feel free to share it.