“We really like your proposal, but we’re not interested in artsy-fartsy branding stuff. We just care about sales and growing revenue.”

Insert straight face emoji here.

That might be one of the most frustrating things I’ve ever heard a potential client say to me.

I get it. Budgets are finite. I’ve worked with a number of small businesses and start-ups and I understand that it can be hard to put precious dollars into “brand” when there isn’t a clear return on investment.

Building brand identity is a crucial, foundational element for an emerging business.

Let’s face it, most start-ups and small businesses are entering crowded and competitive marketplaces. Don’t you want to look better than “the other guy?” Weren’t we taught as little kids that “you never get a second chance to make a first impression?” It’s easy to say “my product is better” but consumers are more likely to initially judge a book by its cover.

So what exactly is brand identity?

  • What is your name?
  • What are the visual elements that define your company? (logo, colors, fonts)
  • What is your core message and elevator pitch?
  • Who are you selling to?
  • What is your company’s communication style and tone of voice?
  • What is the user’s experience when they interact with your brand? (website, storefront, kiosk, telephone call, marketing e-mail, social media)

Brand identity encompasses everything about who your business is — it’s the way every single piece of collateral you put out to the public looks, it’s how you write your emails, it’s how you talk about your business and it’s the feeling someone gets when they interact with you.

Why does all this matter? Let’s go to the stats.

  • Brands that are consistently presented are 3 to 4 times are more likely to experience brand visibility.
  • The average revenue increase attributed to always presenting the brand consistently is 23%.
  • 64% of consumers cite shared values as the primary reason they have a relationship with a brand.
  • 94% of respondents said they would be highly likely to recommend a brand they were emotionally engaged with.
  • 60% of US millennials expect consistent experiences when dealing with brands online, in-store or by phone.
  • 90% of consumers expect their experience to be consistent across all channels and devices used to interact with brands.

To go back to the quote that started this article — brand identity absolutely makes an impact on sales. If you‘re unwilling to invest in brand identity, then you might end up in the ever-growing pile of failed small businesses and start-ups.

This article originally appeared on co-founder Andy Morris’ Medium page