Getting a good return: Branding and ROI for small businesses
In a world where everything’s measured, how do you calculate branding ROI?
You’ve invested in your brand. It’s clearly doing something. But what?
There’s no question that a strong brand has a measurable impact on business performance. But — without getting lost in a matrix of metrics — it can be difficult for solopreneurs, as well as small and growing businesses, to quantify their branding’s return on investment.
Why? Because the impact is not always obviously or immediately measurable.
Add to this the fact that the cost of professional branding for a solopreneur or startup might be a sizable chunk of your capital, and there’s even more need for clarity.
So what kind of return on investment can you reasonably expect to see from paying for quality, professional design, and branding?
What is branding ROI?
The ROI of brand building is — in very simple terms — a strong brand: one which gradually attracts more customers who will buy more often, at a higher price.
One major component of brand success, and therefore branding ROI, is brand awareness. Brand awareness is a way of measuring how well people remember and retell their experiences of your business:
There are a variety of ways to measure it:
- Surveying your target audience
- Using Google Trends data
- Tracking website traffic
- Monitoring your social media following
Whether earned through your website, meetings, social media — or any other brand touchpoints — strong brand ROI results in improved reputation, increased traffic, sales conversions, and ultimately business growth.
With effective branding and a compelling brand story, the ultimate measure of branding ROI is a premium price product or service which generates higher profitability. In effect, it elevates the perceived market value of a product or service.
A Long Term Investment
There are many ways to evaluate the effectiveness of the ROI of your branding. From organic search volume to customer acquisition rates, your measure of success depends on your business and its industry.
While you may see gains now from repeated short-term marketing activities, the ROI of branding ultimately relates to long-term investment that incrementally drives stronger sales growth — not a fleeting uplift.
Short-term marketing initiatives may result in a spike in sales, whereas the real branding ROI is a cumulative, ever-increasing rise in brand awareness levels.
You only have to view Interbrand’s yearly report on the Best Global Brands to see the power of strong brands, and how they consistently outperform competitors. It’s that long term investment in brand-building that creates longevity, and a robustness that ensures the business endures bad times, as well as good.
Tracking The ROI From Your Brand Building
Whether you’ve recently invested in brand building, you’re considering a refresh or contemplating a complete rebrand, it’s worth establishing the metrics you’re going to use to measure your return on branding investment.
So here are four possible routes for you to take into consideration when calculating and tracking your branding ROI:
Customer: With the treasure-trove of data available from online behaviours, software like Google Analytics can be set up to analyse data for your online business, and enable reporting of key metrics.
Culture: When your business grows to more than just you, employee buy-in to your brand values is essential for them to maintain job satisfaction, and motivation. Surveys are a simple way to establish if your internal brand-building is effective.
Process: If other businesses benefit from involvement from your brand, whether tangibly or intangibly, you know that negotiations and recruitment are going to be stacked in your favour. The stronger the brand, the more streamlined and better-targeted your marketing campaign will be.
Financial: If brand valuation methodologies, like those used by Interbrand, seem like something for further down the line, market studies are a good way to uncover the price premium of your brand against rivals. As a great example, look at the difference in price points between Apple’s iPhone and Samsung’s Galaxy.
The Odds In Your Favour
It’s not easy to quantify the ROI of branding. There’s multiple metrics you can use, and which ones you choose will depend on your business. Ultimately, ongoing investment in building your brand is one way to increase its strength and ability to make long-lasting connections with customers, clients, and employees.
Start your branding journey today. Book a conversation with Khula Design Studio. We’re passionate about building better brands for solopreneurs, small businesses, and startups.