Men may seem to run the business world, but when it comes to branding, women business owners are the standouts. In a survey released today, May 27, graphic design marketplace 99designs found that women small business owners, not men, place branding at the top of their priorities.

The SMB Branding Perceptions Survey, which included 719 small business owners and entrepreneurs in the U.S., found that women are investing more time and money into getting a logo and branding their companies when they’re starting a business. Women business owners are twice as likely to invest in a logo than men – 31 percent vs. 17 percent, according to the survey. Additionally, more women than men view a professional-looking website as a priority and as a factor that influences their own purchasing decisions.

This might be due to the history of the business world, according to Pamela Webber, CMO of 99designs. In a telephone interview, she speculated that, because men tend to use relationships to market their business, they are content with getting referrals to their small businesses through word of mouth. However, “women, to distinguish themselves choose branding to get a leg up on consumer perception, rather than using the networking channel,” she said.

Nevertheless, the survey found that branding is still important to small business owners, regardless of gender. More than three-quarters of small business owners (76 percent) responded that a professional-looking website would help them attract a better quality of customer – and only 22 percent of respondents didn’t place any importance on the look and feel of their brands.

“No matter what, a business needs a credible brand,” Webber said. The brand is what communicates the value provided to the customer, she added.

However, a website may not be a smart investment for a small business right off the bat. “If you’re a local business and …dependent on word of mouth, a website may not be as important,” she said. However, a small business still needs other branding elements, such as business cards or brochures. “That being said, I don’t think anyone would argue that having a website does give a business more credibility.”