Across Australia, businesses are doing it themselves like never before. Rather than outsourcing or hiring trained professionals, an abundance of hi-tech tools is putting specialised skills in the hands of owners.
From accounting to HR to business development, automated and integrated online solutions are lowering the cost and time of everyday processes.
As marketers, we’ve seen the rapid emergence of brand self-management technology, from design tools such as CANVA to AI writing applications like Grammarly or ChatGPT.
Whether born out of economic necessity or a desire to take more control, we now live in the age of the multi-tasking entrepreneur.
But can that entrepreneur really do it all? And is the cost-saving as good as it looks on paper?
The answers to these questions will differ from business to business. However, there is a risk that owners will fail to focus on their core business and burn out because they are stretching themselves too thin.
So, when it comes to marketing and going alone, here are our thoughts on the pros and cons of brand self-management.
There’s nothing like developing a brand the way you want with a look, feel and messaging all your own making. Moreover, the brand will feel authentic to you, reflecting your passions and creative flare.
When it’s your DIY approach to branding, there’s a risk you’ll get too involved, constantly wanting to update the look or messaging based on a hunch or singular piece of customer feedback. The other problem is objectivity or lack thereof. External marketing professionals bring an outside perspective based on years of understanding audience behaviours and how they respond to brands.
Brand self-management is easy, and it’s getting easier. Now you can knock out a flyer or a logo in minutes. In addition, because the technology is so easy to use, it’s also a lot of fun, especially when you see the result of the design you’ve created on your socials or shopfront.
As any tradie will tell you, everyone can own a tool, but it doesn’t mean they know how to use it. Whether it’s graphic design or messaging, a trained operator knows the do’s and don’ts of making your brand look professional and appealing to a target audience. Further, with off-the-shelf design tools, there’s a risk that you’ll make costly design mistakes and, worse, create a brand that mimics other businesses.
Mimicry might be the highest form of flattery, but it is also the lowest form of brand value.
The most apparent reason for self-managing your brand is cost. Tech subscriptions are much cheaper than employee salaries or agency fees. You can also develop your resources on your timetable, not someone else’s.
Every business owner should ask, can they afford to spend time developing their brand rather than running their business? More importantly, is a cheaper brand delivering you the value you need to attract and convert customers? As the old adage goes, when it comes to ‘quick,’ ‘cheap,’ and ‘quality,’ you can have two at any one time but never all three.
With brand self-management, having all the tools at your fingertips means you can see what works in real-time. You’re also invested. You care about your brand and how it’s performing.
Being over-invested in your self-made brand can create blind spots to criticism. You might love your brand, but it may as well not exist if no one’s buying. The risk of self-management is you won’t receive the essential feedback which tells you when and how to adapt your brand to connect with new and emerging customers.
Considering the pros and cons of brand self-management, our overall advice is don’t shy away from new and emerging technology. The tools are great for speeding up business processes and will only improve. However, use them selectively and rely on professionals for your overall brand development and strategic direction.
Use professionals for:
- Brand strategy
- Brand design and messaging
- Delivering high-quality brand assets
DIY everything else but:
- Follow professional guidance in the application of your brand
- Be consistent in your messaging and realistic about what you can deliver
- Listen to customers and adapt.