Survey: Owners Believe, but Don’t Invest, in Branding

    By | Small Business

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    Small business owners generally agree that “a professional-looking website will help attract better customers.” A majority also acknowledge that one of their own past purchases has been influenced by the look or feel of a company’s brand or website. 

    Yet few new small businesses prioritize branding initiatives when starting out, according to a survey by the logo and graphic design marketplace 99designs.

    The 99designs SMB Branding Perceptions Survey polled 719 U.S. business owners and managers across the U.S. online in May about the importance of branding and marketing materials. 

    “We assumed we would find that while most people believe a brand and identity (including website) is very important to the business, they do not necessarily invest the time or money into creating those or make it the top priority, especially when starting the company,” 99designs stated in the summary of its findings. “For the most part, our hypotheses proved true with a few exceptions.” 

    The survey discovered that:

    • Women invest more time and money in getting a logo and company brand than men when they start a business.
    • More women than men believe a professional-looking website is a priority.
    • More than half of all respondents admitted they had “possibly” or “definitely” lost business because of a poorly designed website.
    • Real estate and transportation/delivery businesses were most likely to say a company’s look and feel is not important.
    • Older respondents place less importance on the look and feel of their business.

    Most respondents, however, professed a belief that branding – especially a professional-looking website – has the power to drive and sustain business. More than three-quarters agreed that a professional-looking site “will help me attract a better customer.” Two-thirds strongly agreed with the statement, “how positively my customers perceive my brand is important to me.” And “being memorable” ranked second only to “providing the best customer service” as a top priority in sustaining a long-term, viable business.

    If small business owners are willing to put their money where their mouth is, the results could be good news for the 1 million designers worldwide who provide low-priced branding and design services to businesses through the 99designs platform. Otherwise, designers might be best advised to target their business development efforts at young women business owners outside of real estate and transportation. 

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