Giving Context to Branding and Marketing Expenses: Buying a House v. Buying a Car

Of all the grudging expenses for a business, marketing expenses have to be up there toward the top of the list. Businesses seeking a marketing company in Orange County may be feeling this at the moment. How then should businesses feel about branding expenses? Are these two expenses even separate? To a degree, they should be.

Marketing Gives You Wheels

Marketing isn’t really optional anymore. You have to have a way to mobilize your product, to get it from A to B. In this sense, it’s like investing in a car. To extend the metaphor (and I’m just getting warmed up, by the way), you need to buy the right car for your needs. If you’re a pizza delivery service and you invest in a hummer to deliver pizzas in, you made the wrong choice—unless of course you’re delivering pizzas in a war zone…

You may have heard from your father when you were young and looking at buying a car that “The second you drive it off the lot, it’s already gone down in value.” Well surprisingly, the same is true for marketing! A marketing campaign is specific, designed for a specific purpose, and it gets worn out after doing that purpose for a while. And sometimes, instead of spending time and money on upgrading it, it becomes necessary to go out and get a new one.

And new cars (and marketing campaigns) are expensive—so expensive sometimes that we have to finance them, and pay them off gradually. Why, then, do we spend so much time after time on cars? The short answer is ROI. The amount of return on our investment in an automobile is almost incalculable. They take us to work so we can make money, they drive our kids to school so they can get educated, they take us and our sick family to the doctor so we can get the medicine that makes us well.

If goes without saying that this is also true for marketing. Without buying that car, your business doesn’t even get to play the game. It’s expensive up-front and over time, it eventually breaks down and you have to get a new one, and like the geo prizm, has a tendency to go out of style pretty quick. But in the end, the investment pays for itself many times over.

Home Sweet Home

Compare the necessary expense of marketing with the longer-term investment that branding represents. Branding is your property, your house, your indivisible piece of the world, which you are the steward of, which you inhabit, and call home. It’s a place, and that doesn’t change. It expresses you—your personality and values. It shows whether you’re messy or neat, whether you like Star Wars collectibles, or mid-century modern furniture.

You may remodel the kitchen or bathroom after years of use—but that doesn’t make it a different home. Investing in an upgrade or remodel is just that—an investment, which only adds to the value of your home.

This is true across the board for branding. That brand is your home. An update to your logo, for example, doesn’t change your brand. If it’s done right by a quality branding agency, it harmonizes with your brand, in the same way that a kitchen remodel does, or doesn’t go with the rest of the house.

The longer you have your brand, the longer you take care of it and maintain it, and yes, remodel it when necessary, the more value it will have. Think of the grand old mansions of Disney and Coca Cola—if you take your brand seriously, it has the potential to have value that lives well beyond the founder.

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