As a small business entrepreneur, you are savvy enough to know that branding isn’t just for large multinational corporations. But how important should it be to your small business? To answer this question, let’s take a look at the two parts that define branding. There are the visual aspects of typography, colors and graphics. And there are the emotional aspects of a brand, the customer experiences and associations with the products or services. When one combines on-target design with positive customer experiences, you’ve got a business that can go places. Why is branding so important? Business is a big game and in this game you should always be in pursuit of a competitive advantage. This applies to businesses of any size.
Ideally, you want your logo to represent the reason why you are in business in the first place. First, read your mission statement of how you intend to win in business and who your target market will be. Then think about what kind of a logo would be necessary to hold its own against your competition. Now you are ready to communicate vital notes to a logo designer.
From the logo designer’s perspective, the logo is the single most important part of your branding that you will develop. True enough, your marketing materials and websites will go through many changes, but your logo should remain stable-the anchor and springboard of all of your branding. This is the ideal. A Madison Avenue ad agency might charge the equivalent of a luxury car for a logo, because major corporations know how important it is. It is ironic, that for small businesses, the proliferation of online factories means you can get a logo for the cost of a nice dinner. My recommendation is that you find an individual designer or small firm who will really listen to you and with which you can build a relationship. Not only will the fees still be very reasonable and affordable-you will receive value far exceeding payment.
On your first sales meeting, will it give you confidence to know you spent $45 on a logo? By the same token, as a small business owner, of course you don’t want to overspend. In fact, you don’t want to stress your marketing budget by overspending on any one piece of the puzzle.
Food for thought: is the success of Google’s logo through visibility and repetition or is it award-winning design? It’s really the only part of the branding that we see. The logo has become a cornerstone of the Internet, because the success of the company made it so. It’s achieved brand familiarity and with it trust, if not awe. What if Google was a D List search engine with a few hundred visitors a week, what would you think of their logo?
You’ve probably heard this before, but it’s worth repeating: you should include your logo on every piece of communication. Put it on every web page of your site, business cards, letterhead, envelopes, invoices, yellow page ads, building signage, newsletters, web buttons, promotional collateral, and certainly every ad. Familiarity begets trust and trust will lead to increased sales. Then perhaps if your logo is next to a competitor’s, they’ll contact you first.