Branding retrospectively? It’s always more expensive. As obvious as it may sound, this is a reality that many businesses are oblivious to. Every day design firms are given the task of branding a business retrospectively, where a previous branding process was carried out but failed to assess the full scope of its relevance. This leaves a semi formed brand, unfit for purpose and a wasteful drain on resources. What leads to this situation? Sometimes it is just the restrictions on budget. Many businesses still allocate too little for something as important as their presence, perhaps because they are unable to assess the benefits of a strong and comprehensive brand. Sometimes they are too focused on day-to-day operations, rather than thinking about potential growth in the future. It is clear that there are many reasons why businesses often neglect their branding budgets, and in many cases this is entirely understandable; running a business is not an easy task. If one thing is certain, however, it is that the time will come when a business realises that it needs to develop a strong brand. It is at this point when the retrospective branding begins. Retracing your steps may be an arduous task, and one that many businesses see no apparent reason to carry out. In our experience, however, it is a task that is vital for businesses undergoing a retrospective branding process, and it is instrumental in helping businesses to adapt and meet the needs of current circumstances. It is often necessary to accept that earlier business forecasts were not entirely accurate, but this is all part of the process to achieve future growth. In practical terms, reconstructing all of the assets that surround your brand is essentially equivalent to paying for them twice. The retrospective branding process often reveals weaknesses in previous branding approaches that businesses have taken. Many brands have not properly considered the digital environment that they want to target, and therefore miss their target audience. Some brands have invested in visual assets such as video and photography, but with results that don’t quite represent the aims of the business, and end up diluting the core message. Other brands forget about working for the internal workforce, and fail to create brand advocacy amongst them. Sadly, these avoidable weaknesses are all too common. It is apparent that branding is a key strategic requirement for businesses to move forward, and that it constitutes a blueprint for all the elements that will come together as the business grows. Time and effort put into branding rarely go down the drain. In fact, the more comprehensive and holistic the exercise, the more likely it becomes that a modest investment will reap long-term returns and minimise the likelihood of further such retrospective branding becoming a necessity. They say it is better to think smarter, not harder. When it comes to branding, a smart budget is often more effective than an excessive one without a clear objective.