Too often, small business advertising and marketing campaigns prioritize branding at expense of direct response--i.e., actually getting leads and/or sales right now. That is almost always a foolish and even dangerous proposition.
Small Business Branding Advertising and Marketing an Oxymoron?
Unless you're a ubiquitous consumer products company, value of branding is far, far less than value of direct response. What good is impressing someone with your brand if he or she never comes into contact with your business again? Why would they come into contact with your business again if you haven’t gotten a direct response?
Branding is essential for Coca Cola and Microsoft and all other consumer giants because they don't need direct response. Their offering is available every time you drive down street, so burning their logos into your eyeballs will actually make you more likely to buy. But if you have to search out business, having a logo floating in your consciousness won't be enough to motivate you.
Even if branding alone could drive business, how long will it be before that logo or slogan or jingle has left your memory forever? A few hours? A day?
One of basic requirements for branding is repetition. Numerous repetitions. Like seeing little Microsoft flag every single day, in lower left corner of your screen, on your computer's case, in magazine advertisements and on television commercials.
One visit to your website or one glimpse of your advertisement won't accomplish this—and remember, unless you have Microsoft’s budget, one exposure is all you’ll likely get if you don't get a direct response.
In reality, even numerous exposures to your brand might not be enough. There's only so much room for logos in people's minds, and you've got an awful lot of deep-pocketed competition for that space.
In contrast, if someone requested a whitepaper from you, or called in for more information, you would have their attention for much longer, even if you never followed up--which you could do, since you had their contact information.
The Two Cases when Branding Makes Small Business Marketing Sense
1. When branding enhances direct response rather than detracting from it.
Good branding enhances trust in your business. A good tagline, graphic design, and logo can also make it instantly clear what your business does, allowing users to go directly to your message without having to decide if you’re worth listening to.