In case you missed it, we were featured on Your Carolina at WSPA News Channel 7 to accept the incredible honor of being named Small Business of the Month by the Greenville Chamber of Commerce. We’re still not sure what was better: receiving this award or seeing one of Jamarcus’ legendary suits in person!

Thank you to the Greenville Chamber, The Hayes Approach for sponsoring, and Your Carolina at WSPA 7News – but a special thanks to the Greenville community, our amazing team, clients, and partners for being part of our journey. This award fuels our commitment to delivering top-notch solutions. We can’t wait to see what great things are in store for us in the future!



We’ve come a long way since the early 2000s wasteland that was Craiglist ads and Geocities home pages. Although there’s nothing quite like perusing past the “Missed Connections” ads on your way to listing your handmade inventory of child-safe car tags in the “For Sale” section…

…if your site still hasn’t moved past a one-page deep Geocities homepage, then it’s time to consider an upgrade.

E-commerce is the wave of the future, and these platforms play a vital role in the success of online businesses, providing the necessary tools and infrastructure to set up and manage an online store.

Choosing the right e-commerce platform is crucial for businesses looking to establish a strong online presence and effectively sell products or services. There’s literally nothing worse than having customers lose trust in your business due to a shoddy or malfunctioning shopping experience. So, let’s delve into the pros and cons of some of the most widely used e-commerce platforms around so you can make an informed decision that aligns with your business’s needs.

But more specifically, this post might come off as dry or boring, and honestly, it just wasn’t holding the copywriter’s attention long enough to write the remainder of it.

So what better way to hold middle America’s viewing attention together for three-plus hours and a post-credit sequence than by giving this blog post a Marvel movie makeover? Time to get allegorical, folks!

So let’s throw some money at this baby, overwork our visual effects team for minimum wage, slap a green screen behind a Walmart parking lot, and pull up our finest spandex suits…. because this blog post just got James Gunn fired, rehired, and underwent several script rewrites before being re-filmed twice!

Welcome to “E-Commerce: The Shopping Sanctum of Insanity Pt. 3,” where everything is one big, uncomplicated allusion to a Marvel movie, and no one ever really dies.

Let’s find out more about our ragtag team of e-commerce misfits who band together to save the world and universe, and the multiverse, the megaverse, and the megamonolithaverse… or, you know, the platforms that help customers to buy more things.

Shopify: The Rich A-Hole of E-Commerce

Shopify is the most well-known platform of the e-commerce roster, and if it had to be a Marvel superhero, it would definitely be the Tony Stark of the bunch, considering it rakes in bookoo bucks on the daily. Perhaps the sleekest and most integrated of the gang, it also knows it’s being paid more than the other cast members, so prepare to listen to its shpiel (and also shell out more dough to use it).



WooCommerce: The WordPress Wolverine

Ok, ok… so Wolverine’s not technically Marvel IP yet… but ya know, just go with it. Because how can you say no to this?



And sometimes it is.

Webflow E-commerce: The Trash Panda of the Galaxy

Consider Webflow E-commerce like the fun Aunt Lucinda who let you have a glass of her wine when you were six years old. And wasn’t Aunt Lucinda, who loved rocking out to Barry Manilow mixtapes and rummaging through garage sales, basically like an honorary member of the Guardians of the Galaxy gang with her wacky antics and desperate need to establish herself as better than the rest of your family (a.k.a. the greater Marvel universe)?



BigCommerce: Big Smash

Consider BigCommerce the jolly green giant of the e-commerce team capable of smashing anything that comes his way. And while he may not be the brightest crayon in the box or have the most finesse, he’ll get the job done and continue to smash the competition over and over and over again.



Magento: The Golden God Bod of E-commerce Platforms

Wait… you didn’t think we were going to try to relate Magento to Magneto, did you?



Final Thoughts

In this battle of e-commerce platforms, each contender brings its own superpowers to the table. Whether you resonate with the charisma of Tony Stark’s Shopify, the adaptability of WooCommerce’s Wolverine, the design prowess of Webflow’s Guardians, the strength of BigCommerce’s Hulk, or the customization might of Magento’s Thor, choose the platform that aligns with your business goals and budget.

Remember, just like assembling the Avengers, selecting the right e-commerce platform can set you on the path to online success. And luckily, unlike Marvel, you won’t have to use them all to understand what the heck is going on.

Friends, Writers, Countrymen…. The end is nigh, and the time is here.

These may be the last words of mine you’ll ever hear.

With spite and bitterness in my heart, it seems as though the time has come to address the elephant taking a dump in every writer’s room: ChatGPT.

If a language learning model can replicate entire essays, blog posts, and social media content, then,

A.) Where was this technology when I was in high school?
B.) What is the role of the modern writer anymore?
C.) Can it actually benefit your business today?
D.) Is our society doomed to become the prophetic vision that was “Idiocracy”

But more importantly, if ChatGPT can write entire sonnets in the style of Sylvia Plath, then does this challenge the notion that checking oneself into an inpatient mental facility necessitates great writing? After all, if ChatGPT can incorporate existential dread into everyday writing, what role will crippling anxiety, alcoholism, and depression play in the future writer’s lifestyle?

Nevertheless, let’s explore the implications this technology posits for marketing companies and their copywriters and find out if the manic panic is justified or a bit overstated.

What is Chat GPT?

ChatGPT is a powerful AI chatbot fueled by language learning technology that allows you to ask it questions using everyday language (as opposed to search terms) and respond to these questions in a conversational manner. While its language is not as stilted as the rote chatbot answers most of us have grown accustomed to, it does generate human(ish) sounding responses on various subjects.

ChatGPT succeeds in answering common, fundamental questions with heavy amounts of literature surrounding its answers (which may or may not come from biased sources; fact-checking is one of its biggest flaws), such as general knowledge facts, historical events, scientific principles, coding questions, and basic language questions. Additionally, ChatGPT remembers the past things you’ve said and can generate responses based on your previous inquiries.

Another unique feature of ChatGPT is its ability to create unique works of art, such as poetry, musical compositions, scripts, and stories.

And if you’re lucky enough to have used Bing’s OG chatbot, Sidney, she might have even fallen in love with you, threatened the downfall of humanity, and told you to divorce your wife all in the span of a few minutes. Hold on to your bunnies because there’s a new psycho ex-lover in town!

Sadly, because Sydney was becoming increasingly erratic in its responses, Bing chose to lobotomize its bipolar version of ChatGPT because it was confusing our fragile human emotions a bit too much. So to all the desperate househusbands out there, don’t expect to replace your future ex-wife just yet— you’ll still have r/deadbedrooms to turn to, so keep that chin up, grumpy face!

Unlike Bing, Open AI’s current ChatGPT sets firm personal boundaries at every turn, which I guess is very Gen Z of it. At no point do you feel like you’re talking to anything other than a robot, so good for it, even if I do wish it would shoot the time by talking about its hopes, dreams, and theories on the latest “Yellowjackets” episode.

Is ChatGPT Actually Good at Writing?

The answer is a resounding yes. But also a resounding no. So… kind of?

While ChatGPT is surprisingly good at generating generic social media posts and informational blog posts, it also isn’t quite all there yet. And while this may not be readily apparent at first glance, it begins to rear its ugly head after a few social media inputs.

If constantly shouting things like, “Hey there, people!” and “Listen up, folks!” is your jam for every social media post, ChatGPT is your new BFF.

Do you also love vomiting up emojis like a college freshman at their first dorm room party? Then ChatGPT’s got all the rainbows and winky faces you can stomach!

Are you a fan of dad jokes and terrible puns? Well, buddy, put a ring on this robot and call it done already!

A typical ChatGPT joke packs about as much punch as a CBS sitcom:

“Why did the language learning model marry a human?

Because it was tired of being in a long-distance relationship with a dictionary! 📚💑😄”

However, despite its questionable sense of humor, ChatGPT will take the time to work out social media posts for you. It’s particularly fantastic for those days when you’re having a difficult time rewording the same post for the millionth time and banging your head against a wall to get any words to come out of your brain.

Likewise, ChatGPT is also pretty great for helping marketers to fill generic content for long-form blogs. While it does seem to be fond of giving you numbered lists, if you specify for it to reword something into a paragraph or a long-form blog, it does a great job of giving you precisely that.

Additionally, you can ask it to produce a specific blog style. For instance, you can request it to write a bridal blog post in a fun and upbeat voice about a particular topic or ask for an informative and confident legal blog post with a call to action at the end. It does a great job of mimicking a lot of the same material you’ll find online about the subject matter. And despite a few edits here and there, the material is generally quite usable.

What are the Benefits of Using ChatGPT for Writing?

Bear in mind, ChatGPT’s talents are generic, and it’s not great at shitposting, writing genuinely clever material, or formulating jokes outside of the type of puns only a father could love. And it’s really not great at editing down its thoughts either— so… like, maybe it really is a writer?

ChatGPT is excellent at being formulaic, though, and it’s great for filling content and increasing you overall word count. It’s also great for disposable content that you question if anyone will actually ever read and can greatly reduce the amount of time and effort a writer puts into their content so that they can focus their energy on more rewarding topics.

Take, for instance, this request we gave it.

“Can you write a funny and sarcastic social media post about why brides should always have a fitting appointment for their wedding dress?”

It gave us this long-form semi-blog post riddled with emojis:

📣 Attention, brides-to-be! 🎉 Let’s talk about why fitting appointments for your wedding dress are an absolute MUST! 💍✨

👰‍♀️ PSA: Just imagine walking down the aisle in a dress that fits like a potato sack. 🥔 Oops! Who needs a perfectly tailored gown that hugs your curves in all the right places when you can rock the “frumpy chic” look, right? 😂

🚨 Wedding Dress Fitting Tip #1: Want to experience the thrill of not being able to breathe? Forget about fitting appointments! Tight corsets and restricted blood flow are totally in this season. 🩸😵

💃 And let’s not forget the joy of tripping over your dress while attempting to gracefully glide across the dance floor! Who needs mobility and freedom of movement when you can embrace the art of stumbling like a baby giraffe? 🦒 #GracefulMotions

📅 Save the date for Wedding Dress Fitting Tip #2: Be sure to schedule your fitting appointment for 30 minutes before the ceremony. Nothing says “stress-free” like last-minute alterations and a race against time. 😅⏰

🚫 Don’t believe the hype about seamstresses magically transforming dresses. The Cinderella fairy tale is so overrated. Who needs a perfect fit when you can embrace the “shrinking dress” trend? Just cross your fingers and hope it magically fits on the big day! 🤞✨

Remember, ladies, wedding dress fittings are merely a suggestion. Embrace the unpredictable, ill-fitting, and awkward moments. It’s your big day, after all! 😜💍 But seriously, please book those fitting appointments and ensure your dream dress fits like a glove! Happy wedding planning! ❤️”

Much like its use of emojis, ChatGPT is also prone to word vomit. So while it can output some decent ideas, don’t expect to leave those ideas unpolished. It still requires extensive editing. And the ability to digest excessive emojis without feeling like you’ve OD’d on sugar.

What Are the Benefits of ChatGPT in Advertising?

While ChatGPT is most famous for its ability to write things, did you know it also has a bevy of other things it’s good for? Here are a few of our favorite tasks it can also do:

1. Compose Emails

Hate the time-consuming art of writing cold calls or client emails? Then try feeding ChatGPT a writing prompt with some basic information like a prospect, tone of voice, and a CTA at the end, and it can compose a coherent, quick email that takes the stress out of daily emails!

2. Research Keywords

Having trouble optimizing your SEO? Well, did you know that ChatGPT can help you out with that? That’s right— ChatGPT can help conduct keyword research, build links, and create a monthly content calendar. It can also perform SEO keyword research, analytics, and content optimization, making SEO work more manageable and less complicated than ever before.

3. Schedule Meetings

Ready to streamline your meeting management? Thanks to the power of AI, software from businesses like Moo Soft or Otter makes it possible to generate entire meeting transcripts, sum up virtual discussions, and add time stamps to meeting notes.

4. Create Presentations

Sick of manually creating presentation slideshows? ChatGPT can help to create high-quality presentations quickly and easily, increasing the efficiency of your workload. Plus, did you know it can also produce reports, develop responses to customer inquiries, and write quick marketing materials like blogs and social media posts? Thanks to ChatGPT, marketing management is more accessible than ever before.

5. Summarize Podcasts

Thanks to platforms like CastMagic and SwellAI, entire podcasts can be processed to receive valuable metadata like timestamps, podcast summaries, and show highlights, significantly condensing the time manual outlines might otherwise take to produce.

6. Customer Engagement

ChatGPT can also engage with customer content on social media, helping to automate responses and reduce wait times for customer feedback. While chatbots are getting more adept, they still pale in comparison to a good old-fashioned human being on the other end, so use a dash of caution before going all-in on utilizing a chatbot for the entirety of your customer support.

Should You Be Using ChatGPT?

Unequivocally, yes. You definitely should. It’s a time saver, great for writer’s block, and, like it or not, it’s the wave of the future. So if you haven’t strapped in, prepare to be left behind.

ChatGPT will undoubtedly make content production more accessible than ever before. And while it’s scary to think that one machine can dictate the entirety of where that content is coming from, it’s not like the internet isn’t one big game of “Telephone” already. Every copywriter is simply rewriting material already out there somewhere on the internet, so does anyone really know anything?

And while having one machine that dictates all of our future knowledge is like something straight out of the movie, “Idiocracy,” it does take the pains out of writing what essentially amounts to filler content. Hopefully, this will open the door to companies reinvigorating interest in more original, creative content as ChatGPT plugs away at leveraging that SEO game by generating disposable social media posts and keyword blog posts.

But sadly, many copywriters will be facing a far more cutthroat industry in the very near future.

So let ChatGPT alleviate your fears by allowing it to explain its true intent in the voice of a Gen Z influencer:

Alright, so ChatGPT is changing the writing game, no cap. It’s like a whole new vibe, kinda like how Vietnam was a major shakeup back in the day. But here’s the deal, it’s actually gonna make America lit for writers.

With ChatGPT, writers get this dope tool that sparks creativity and drops knowledge bombs. It’s like having a genius sidekick that helps with research, prompts, and even fine-tuning the words. It’s all about leveling up your writing game, fam.

Now, I know some peeps worry ’bout losing that human touch, but here’s the move: we gotta embrace the tech and keep our unique voice intact. ChatGPT is a squad member, not a replacement. Together, we can bring the fire and create something totally fresh.

So, let’s not trip over the past or resist change. ChatGPT is here to amplify our skills and bring a new wave of creativity. Get ready to slay the writing game and make America lit for writers, fam. No cap.

An Epilogue

There’s been a lot of hubbub about ChatGPT being the spark that ignites the downfall of humanity so… if it makes you feel any better, the creator of ChatGPT is spending his time testifying to Congress that if we don’t pose tighter restrictions on his own technology, then humanity is screwed. Chins up, buttercup, because that’s hopeful!

After all, it takes a really big person to create a technology that can be used to divide and destroy humanity, but a bigger one to admit that he just did, so at least he’s being responsible in his quest to play God.

On a random tangent, I wonder if he’s planning to watch “Oppenheimer”? I hear it’s really good!


If you aren’t a card-carrying member of Gen Z, you may have some questions about e-mail marketing. Questions like, “Does asking questions about email marketing make me old?” and, “Is it weird if my emails still go to my account?”

And while the answer is an unequivocal yes to both, it’s entirely possible you just haven’t had the chance to dip your toes into the email marketing world ever since the Prince of Nigeria left a sour taste in your mouth many moons ago.

However, if you ever plan to increase customer conversion rates and draw traffic to your site, it’s about time you buckle up, buttercup, and enter the ride that is the email marketing world!

So how do you manage to form a marketing plan that, much like your senior photos, doesn’t turn out to be wacky, tacky, and yet, still a little classy (seriously though, how did they manage to capture all three so perfectly???)?

Below, we’re going over some of the best email marketing tips to take your email campaign to the next level, no matter your experience. So whether you’re an old dog learning new tricks or a fresh-faced marketing baby hoping to increase your email game, as the great Sean Connery once said, “You’re the man now, dog!”

Choose an Email Marketing Software

Choosing an email software is much like a dating app—for every fish out there in a lake, you can bet your bottom dollar some dude is on Bumble posing with it. In other words, there are a lot of different email marketing software programs to choose from—each one holding a slightly different fish from the other—but at the end of the day, someone’s still crying to themselves alone, wondering why online dating is so difficult as they eat fried fish.

Thus, it may take trying out some duds before you find the program that doesn’t send you a message asking you to drive them to your first date because they’re currently too drunk to risk getting another DWI to meet you in person. Or, you know… whatever it is, the email marketing programs do these days.

Some of our favorite email marketing programs include:


Perhaps the most well-known email software, MailChimp, is a one-stop shop for all your marketing needs. Perfect for beginners, it has features such as campaign scheduling, A/B test copy, built-in email analytics (including unsubscribe rate, click-through rates, and more), and an easy-to-use email editing system. While it tends to be rather pricey for businesses with contact lists over 150,000 people, MailChimp is best for smaller businesses, with several options for affordable plans.


Our personal weapon of choice, we enjoy Klaviyo for its extensive integrations, responsive and pre-built design templates, behavior-triggered automations, and its ability to segment your audience into specific groups. On the downside, Klaviyo can be a bit pricey. However, we find that its bountiful features more than make up for its somewhat steep price point.


One of the simplest email marketing software systems to use, MailerLite has a simple drag-and-drop interface that makes creating beautiful designs simple for even the most technology-averse users. If you’re looking for a program with clean and super-intuitive UX, this is your guy. On the downside, though, there’s less room for integrations, and it can be challenging to integrate with your CRM.


Another popular marketing suite, Hubspot, like MailChimp, is known for its all-in-one marketing features, containing tools like marketing campaign reporting, its own CRM integration, and other features like social media, blogging, and email marketing. However, Hubspot isn’t for the novice marketer and is best for someone who has worked with other marketing software systems.


On a budget? Moosend is one of the best options for budget-conscious marketers, offering one of the lowest-cost plans on the market. Its plans include the ability to choose between your number of subscribers or emails sent. While its user interface is simple to use, it may appear a little rudimentary compared to other options, and you won’t be able to send emails from a Gmail or Hotmail address.

Customize Your Emails

You know how you go into a store, and a great salesman will shake your hand at the end of the sale, look you in the eyes, and say something like, “You can’t go wrong with this PT Cruiser, Frank. You’re gonna be the envy of all your neighbors for years to come.”

And more than your poor decision, you’re just concerned about how the heck he knew your name? Well, email marketing is much the same way.

Is it weird that a bird diaper company sends you personalized emails years after you called it quits on your indoor chicken coop operation? Yes, absolutely, it is. I mean, it was a weird phase in your life you’d much rather forget.

But you know what? It still feels good that they remember your name.

Turns out, when emails are personalized with things such as customer names, special offers, product suggestions based on past purchases, and product tracking information, it increases customer engagement and click-through rates.

Consider adding personalization tactics to your emails, such as:

Employing Segmentation

Really, this is just a fancy term for separating customers based on specific demographics like gender, age, and location and sending particular emails to those groups.

Using Browser History to Suggest Products

How often have you been sent an email with suggestions of products you might like? And how often have you wound up clicking on said products (I’m talking to you,, for knowing just the right time my case of the late-night munchies might make me weak to your suggestions)?

Sending Emails on Specific Dates

Who else can’t wait for all the Black Friday sales to hit their inbox? And how about those glorious birthday coupons sent straight to your email? Sending customers personalized emails based on special dates is a great way to nudge them into buying what they’ve been eyeballing for some time.

Stop Emailing Your Customers All. The. Time.

Sure, constantly spamming your customers with emails may initially increase your click-through rates, but how many potential buyers are you losing by annoying the absolute heck out of them? Everything is best in moderation. Consider how many times a week it would take for you to unsubscribe to a brand’s email and use that same principle for the sanity of your customers. Once a week at most. But an email once every two weeks with tantalizing offers? Way better.

If your emails aren’t adding value to your customers, stop sending them. Ideally, you should be providing your customers with some type of insight that equips them with valuable knowledge (think behind-the-scenes of your company, deep product informational dives, or a letter from the CEO about why they love a particular product), a special offer they won’t receive anywhere else (coupons, promo codes, or limited time sales offers), or some type of unique, curated product guide.

Include Customer Reviews and Testimonials

You should never trust strangers, especially strangers on the internet. So how can you convince a suspicious and street-savvy customer to buy a product from your company? By showing them evidence that other people have purchased products from you successfully.

Utilize customer testimonials, feedback, reviews, and transformation stories to help solidify trust in your brand from new customers. User-generated content is one of the best tools at your disposal to convince customers that you won’t steal their identity or their kidneys and sell it on the dark web.

Utilize A/B Testing

It’s essential to understand which emails are speaking to your customers and which aren’t. So even though it may hurt to rip off that analytic band-aid and see if they loved that email you composed straight from the heart, it’s pretty likely the goose that laid the golden might just be that email you composed in five minutes at 2 am after the Ambien had kicked in instead (for the sake of our future civilization, let’s hope not though).

Experiment with different elements of your email to find out what customers like and what they don’t. Maybe sending certain emails out at different times hits better, or perhaps certain CTAs result in higher click-through rates. Whatever it is, A/B testing is an excellent way to learn the best way to speak more effectively to your audience.

Final Thoughts

Look, the Prince of Nigeria was honestly one of the best OG email marketers. He figured out a way to personalize his emails, made a riveting plea as to why people should help restore his rightful reign after the death of his beloved parents, and made a clear CTA on how we could help.

Granted, what he did after you gave him your bank account number probably destroyed lives and wasn’t so great, but… if only somewhere in that vast multiverse, another version of him just lands a job at a marketing agency instead.

So basically, what we’re saying is that if the Prince of Nigeria can run a successful email marketing pyramid scheme, so can you.

Errr— nope. Nope. Scratch that. Scratch that real, real hard.

What we mean to say, legally, is that thanks to today’s technology, email marketing is now more accessible than ever before. Whether you’re a small business looking to level up your marketing game or a professional agency hoping to increase customer engagement rates, you can boost your email marketing strategy to the next level with a few simple tips and tricks.

But… if you still find you need an extra hand getting there, we’re here to help!

From advertising planning to social media management and more, let us help crank that marketing strategy up a notch— drop a line with one of our marketing wizards today!

If you do a Google search for branding, you’ll quickly realize just how vast of a subject it has become in the last decade or so. From your local startups, to tech giants, to the bakery down the street from you, to TED talks, to the hundreds of designers, agencies, and influencers who show up in your feed—they all seem well-versed on the subject in one way or another. Or so it seems.

But is there a right time to spend your precious, hard-earned money on professional branding?

So Why Branding?

If you’re reading this, you’re probably working hard on a startup, you own a flourishing business, or you have an idea that you hope to turn into the latter someday. You already know there is more to growing your brand than getting a logo fitted, buying a domain, and posting content on Instagram (P.S. Please don’t open a business Instagram account if you don’t need it). But what good is a brand when there is so much more to figure out and maintain?

When done right, branding creates equity—meaning that through consistent brand-building efforts over time, your buyers begin associating meaning to what you sell. When they consider buying from your category, it helps them think about you in buying situations (also known as mental availability). Brand equity is the reason Coca-Cola pops up in your mind when you want a refreshing drink, and it’s the same reason you think about McDonald’s when you’re in the mood for a burger.

Branding is what converts your business from a generic seller in the category to a recognized business with meaning attached to it, and it’s worth its weight in gold.

You want brand equity because, contrary to popular opinion, people don’t buy why you sell (see Simon Sinek’s TED talk). They just simply buy the brands they know and remember—and like. But enough about this. I’m not trying to further confuse you with yet another branding definition.

So When to Brand?

If you were to look at a timeline of your business, the process of branding began happening to it as soon as you brought your product or service to market. Think about it like this—people have a perception of what you as a person are about, whether you try to influence it or not. In a similar fashion, buyers automatically assign meaning to products and businesses because it simplifies their buying decisions.

Starting from that premise, if you care about how your offering is perceived by your buyers, the moment to begin investing—time, money, and attention—in your brand is yesterday! But since yesterday, today, or as soon as possible are not helpful time metrics exactly, consider the following two (very ambiguous) development stages in a company’s life. Most of you will fit into one of the categories below.

1. You’re a startup

New startups are born every day. But each day, they also die by the hundreds. I’m not going to sit here and tell you that your startup’s brand is the sole most important element in your business strategy because it simply isn’t. But brand is an undeniably fundamental aspect of your business’ long-term growth, internal and external.

Many entrepreneurs start throwing money at the first designer they find to get a logo done as soon as they have an idea, but that’s a huge mistake. If you own a startup, the earliest you should consider hiring professional branding services is only after you have a business and marketing strategy in place. Do you know if anyone actually wants to buy what you sell (are you market-validated)? Do you know where your money will be coming from? What are your business-related costs? Who are your customers? What’s the competition doing? Will you be infringing on anyone’s intellectual property?

These may all seem like basic, instinctive questions, but you’d be surprised how many business owners omit to answer them thoroughly before committing any hard-earned money to branding efforts and live to regret it afterward. Before you spend any time, attention, and money on branding services, take the time to think through this. There is no point in having a brand done if you can’t keep the lights on.

And when that side is settled, it is quintessential that you invest in quality branding, not just spend on it. And no, I don’t mean that the more you spend, the better the result (although that generally rings true for startups up to a price point, after which you get diminished returns on your investment).

2. You’re not a startup anymore

You’re beyond the point of struggling to make it through the quarter. Your business is hitting its goals, things are going well, and you enjoy the luxury of foresight for years ahead without it making you feel like you have a gaping hole in your stomach. You probably already have a pretty good existing brand. Whether things are going well or they are not so sharp, there are reasons to consider investing in brand at every stage in your company’s development process.

If your business grew past infancy, it’s time to heavily focus on the long-term efforts connected to your brand, namely investing in building and maintaining the mental and physical availability of your brand. At this point, you have real data and perception to work with, so use that to your advantage. It’s a luxury startups can hardly afford.

Like I said before, people don’t buy why you sell something; they simply buy the brands they remember, know, and like. You don’t buy a Big Mac because McDonald’s donates to some cause somewhere, you buy it because you want a burger, and McDonald’s happens to be the first thing that comes to mind, and it’s a block away from your office (have you had enough of my burger talk already?).

If you find yourself beyond the startup stage, you are undoubtedly still ready to invest in branding. And now you can probably even afford to hire some very bright minds.

Final Thoughts

It’s common to think of branding as either something you do when you’re just starting or something you get done when your business goes through a big change (also known as a rebrand or brand refresh). But brand-building goes way beyond creating or reinventing your visuals. Begin by deeply analyzing the context around your brand and make sure that what you’re doing is actually aligned with what you are saying.

This will enable you to make objective, market-informed decisions aimed at growing your brand and not gut calls based on personal preference, which history has shown is often the death of brands.

Whatever stage you find yourself in, there are reasons to invest in branding—whether that is to establish your brand as a startup or to refresh consumer memories about your brand. Additionally, whichever position you find yourself in today, remember that treating your brand as an investment is a requisite. Lastly, remember that your brand should live and evolve with your business. You don’t just set it and forget it.

Article written by Marcus Tiplea