branding Archives ⋆ Moses Yoon

How Much Does Branding Cost? Death To Agencies – Rise Of The Digital Marketing Specialist

Agencies are notoriously poor at giving their clients an ROI. Like lawyers, when you deal with an agency, the lawyer always wins.

Ask an agency what growth hacking is and they will have no clue.

Ask them about overhead and they will tell you causes grey hairs and heart attacks.

Google, Twitter, Coca Cola?

They spent nothing on their logo design to get started (ok.. Twitter spent $3).

What are they worth now? Billions.

Digital marketing agencies… Again, terrible.

Most agencies are unenjoyable to work for, severely limits creativity if the ‘project manager’ likes to micro-manage, and often lose good talent for the same reasons.

If you are an established company with millions of dollars in revenues then working with an agency is fine and even justifiable.

I would even go as far as recommend it because at least then you know they have a track record of results to show for and a reputation to uphold.

There is of course the danger of working unscrupulous short and narrow-minded freelancers who are out to scam people for the rest of their lives and be miserable.

For a startup? No way. Stay away from agencies. Startups need traffic and conversions – they need sales.

Without money to advertise, a startup is stuck in the mud and going nowhere.

One tip for startups is to not hire employees e.g. content writers on salary but to offer equity/shares, or potential for a job placement once the company gets funded or has sales.

Always be negotiating and never EVER take the first offer – unless you have good reason to.

Nothing is worse than seeing people get excited over a new product, throwing all their money into their branding, and then having no sales – or future marketing strategy.

Start with your MVP and test the market. You can run test ads for as little as $5 a day (Facebook ads) just to get market feedback on your products.

Starting a startup doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. But you also don’t want to stay a startup for years on end. At some point you need to be able to call it a business.

The most successful startups simply had a great offer that when shown to 10 people in their target market, at least 1 person would buy it and a few would think about it or tell a friend.

When you don’t have this kind of data or pre-launch testing done, you can be wasting your time and money (or investors money – and that is not good for your reputation).

You don’t need lots of capital to get started. Heck, you can pre-launch products and get pre-sales before you even have the product made. Companies do it all the time e.g. on Kickstarter.

There is Kickstarter for those in Canada as well as Fundr, Indiegogo, and other crowdfunding platforms to leverage as well as many free resources that startups can use e.g. to get their branding, logos, websites, accounting, stock photos, legal docs, and more…

Beware of freelance sites if you do not have a digital marketing background. Nothing is more frustrating to pay for something only to have the worker disappear along with all your passwords and account access or worse – get hacked and deal with customers complaining about you sending them virus spam emails.

When it comes to product development, sometimes a simple prototype will even do. Online marketing coaches do it all the time by selling coaching and then making the coaching program after they have sales.

If you are in a business that involves marketing, one of the main areas of collaboration between the CEO and anyone else in the company should be with the VP of marketing (slowly being replaced by Growth Hackers which are a new breed of marketers that are obsessed with data, analytics, testing, and scaling even with smaller budgets).

Sales and marketing drives the company forward more than anything. A good product with no marketing strategy is a sad sight to see.

A bad product with good marketing is also sad as it just means money down the drain as people are aware of it but there is no demand (just another me-too product).


There is nothing wrong with spending good money on branding – IF you set aside enough money for the rest AND have plans in place and know that your product is wanted and in demand.

If it isn’t something you can sell out of the trunk of your car or at a flea market then try again… However, if you can sell it on the streets to random passersby then you might have a good product…

What are your revenue goals? How much money do you want to make and in what timeframe? Are you aware of the risks involved with pouring money into something and wasting precious time? (Most agencies typically take twice as long as they originally quote their clients to complete the task and also charge extra). This is because employees being micro-managed are usually not the most efficient workers – and also lack business experience. Find a good marketer with a good team that knows what they are doing (full-stack) that could run the company themselves if they had to. That is the type of person you should work with because truth be told – they are also someone that you would not want to have as a competitor.



The Importance of Anchor Text in Back-links

The importance of anchor text with respect to a linking strategy cannot be overstated. Back-links are a huge part of the search engine algorithm. When initiating a linking campaign, it is vital that external sites link using the appropriate keywords and terms in the anchor text.

Almost always, linking candidates will use the company name as anchor text. This does not provide any type of description of the target company’s products or services. Sure, it may be great for branding purposes, but it isn’t usually needed. In most cases, companies already rank very high (if not first) for searches that incorporate their brand.

Here is an example using fictional company “Acme Plumbing Supplies”:

Most people will link simply using the terms “Acme”. This is alright, but it does not describe the company’s products or services, nor provide any context. By adding the word “plumbing” or term “plumbing supplies” (i.e. “Acme Plumbing” or “Acme Plumbing Supplies”), you may be able to drive additional traffic that may not have otherwise attained the corporate site.

Incorporation of Company Branding and SEO

SEO is not an exact science. This becomes apparent when trying to incorporate both SEO and branding into a strategy. This process is finicky to say the least. On the one side, SEO deals with the placement of keywords and phrases. On the other side, branding deals with company loyalty and culture. Incorporating both sides dilutes the prominence of both. But eliminating one or the other may not meet all strategic and marketing goals.

Once again, it should be emphasized that SEO is a series of guidelines rather than an exact science. Having said that, the following recommendation can be used to satisfy both sides of the equation. In general, keywords and phrases (i.e. SEO) should remain the focus of any early-stage company, while the incorporation of company branding should appear later in the evolution. This is simply a general statement and should not be taken word for word.

The reasoning is pretty straightforward. At first, no-one knows the name of your company, but perhaps they are searching for your products or services. In other words, you want to target keywords and phrases that focus around your offering rather than your company. As you build loyalty and credibility, branding becomes more important. It’s at this point that you may want to incorporate corporate messaging to strengthen the relationship with customers and instill trust in your brand.

One final thought about branding: if a searcher types in the name of your company, they are likely to find your website anyways. This is due mostly to anchor text and back-links. Therefore, optimizing for the company name is rather insignificant in most cases.