Build These 5 Things to Grow Your Business

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10 Questions to Kick Off Refining Your Brand

We use the 10 questions in this worksheet at the start of every branding project. Whether you're building, refreshing or simply refining your brand, these questions set the foundation for the process and help guide the creative to its full potential. Use this worksheet as a tool to inform your internal team, your agency or design firm partner, or to gain a deeper understanding of your brand's landscape.

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Build These 5 Things to Grow Your Business

If you need to attract more leads and close more sales, then you need a sales funnel. A sales funnel is another way of saying marketing plan, and it works regardless of the type or size of your business, or what you sell. This strategy will engage customers, capture their attention, and compel them to buy. Download the Marketing Checklist and get started growing your business today.

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Always The Money

Always The Money

The Bottom Line is Always Top-of-Mind; Reason to Refresh Your Brand Identity – Number 1

They say, “follow the money; it’s always the money.” True enough, but “always the money” takes on many manifestations. It can be as clear-cut as ringing the register with more sales, closing bigger deals, or implementing a new growth strategy. “Always the money” can present itself more subtly as reducing vacancies, replacing a lost customer, positioning for the sale of your company, or non-profit fundraising initiatives.

We have found eight common business challenges among our clients that have come to us for a brand refresh. One of the most common is financial – to make money. The bottom line fuels your top-of-the-line operation and is one of the most quantifiable Reasons To Refresh.

Over the past 20 years, when we’ve met with customers to learn about what they are trying to achieve in their business, the conversation often starts with the specific marketing tactic that they need or that they have identified. These tactics usually include a new website, packaging for their product, a logo or a brochure or catalog to help with their sales efforts. But in talking about their business background, opportunities that exist and what’s happening in their market, there’s always a financial element. In fact, there’s a measure of financial goals in every single Reason to Refresh – and rightly so.

Making more money takes on many forms. Some businesses’ financial motivations are to break through a plateau in sales. Some companies fear the loss of a potential customer or opportunity. And for organizations like non-profits, the goal is often to raise funding for the upcoming year. We understand that marketing leaders tasked with identity overhauls either to build or to refresh their brand’s identities, rely on multiple implementation specialists and vendors that know how to navigate within that space. It can be difficult to find a creative ally that can help.

The right business-minded creative partner can make a big difference. We believe the marketing vice president (aka “MVP”) deserves an advocate in their corner to help their brand succeed. Our primary purpose is to create cool stuff that becomes foundational to our clients’ success. Our clients’ success is mainly determined by achieving revenue goals, aka making money. (I need to occasionally remind the right side of my own creative brain that I too am in business, which includes financial goals). Making money leads to financial health. In looking for ways to increase sales, capture market share and achieve revenue goals – the goal isn’t just to survive, the goal for all businesses is to thrive.

Re-energizing your brand identity can help. As Harry Beckwith wrote in Selling the Invisible, “Brand is more than a symbol. In the public’s eye, a brand is a warranty. It’s a promise…Building (your) brand builds your promise.” Brand identity includes the tone of your brand’s voice, clear messaging and a unique logo – all coming to life in the ways your customers experience your brand – in your product packaging, website, sales & marketing materials and your physical environment. What you are buying when you hire a brand identity focused firm goes beyond the deliverable of those tactics. You are investing in that firm’s experience and their promise to help your brand build on your promise.

If I spend what it costs to rebrand, what is the return on my investment? What are the metrics that illustrate what I could expect in growth? If I spend $X on refreshing my brand, will my sales increase by 10%? 20%? I respect these questions because the person asking them demonstrates that they are thinking long-term, and are driven by results.

Building the foundation of your brand is much like laying the foundation of your house. It should be thoughtful, strategic and strong. But are you able to calculate the ROI on those concrete blocks that built the foundational walls of your house?

ROI = Realizing Outstanding Impact. Like the house metaphor, I look at the cost of protecting your brand as an investment, not an expense. And like those block walls, the investment in your brand identity can be amortized over many years. In fact, ignoring your brand identity can be far more expensive than refreshing it. Your brand is either moving forward, falling behind or standing still. Growing and accelerating that growth is the challenge most marketing leaders we work with are faced with and motivated by. The foundation of great creative can help define the path forward. Seth Godin summed it up perfectly in his book The Dip – “It’s almost impossible to over-invest in becoming the market leader.”

While I am not aware of any hard data from the design industry that shows any standard rate of return on the design of your refreshed brand identity, we can talk, and do talk, about results. Real results. We’ve had clients achieve some amazing results. A sporting goods customer increased product sales by double digits one year after the launch of their refreshed brand at retail. A downtown Minneapolis skyscraper increased tenant leases by over 18% after refreshing their brand identity. And five years after refreshing their brand identity, a printing company doubled its revenue. (See more examples at

Many people, specialists, and vendors are involved in our customer’s success. And while we understand that our role plays just one part, we are proud to be associated in any way with the victories of our client – our MVP.

For more examples of the financial impact customers have experienced after re-energizing their brand identity, and for a rundown of each of the reasons, download our free eBook – 8 Reasons Refreshing Your Brand Identity Will Give You the Competitive Edge – at

Your brand is one of your most powerful tools in building your brand promise and creating opportunity. Call us and let us know how we can help.

Here’s to growing your bottom line!

Derek Sussner