Branding and Logos
Some think that branding is only for huge companies, like Starbucks or Coca-Cola, and not for the typical small business. These people misunderstand what a brand really is.
Your brand is what people think of you; so like it or not, you have a brand. You may not like your brand, and it may not be a strong brand, but it’s still yours.
Strategic branding begins simply by taking some inventory. Ask the most basic questions. Who are you? What do you stand for? What makes your business different from the rest? When someone hears your name, or drives past your location and sees your sign, what comes to their mind? The answers to these questions are the basic elements of your brand.
Think about the brands that you know. What images, feelings, and expectations are evoked when you see certain logos or hear familiar names?
Here’s some strong brands: Honda, Apple, Harley Davidson, McDonalds, Oprah.
They’re strong because they evoke a positive image in their target market. Whether or not you like and buy what they are selling, you know what they stand for.
Maybe you are “funky gift shop” or the “family-friendly restaurant” or “the lawyer with the cool office”. Then again, maybe you were shooting for “the best dentist in town” but are actually perceived as “the expensive dentist”. In that case, your brand needs some work.
If your brand is not what you want it to be, there is hope. To some extent, you are who you say you are. If you reinforce your message again and again, it will begin to sink in. But in the end, you will need to deliver on your promises. If you want the community to buy into your brand, you have to have some steak to go with the sizzle.
A logo is not a brand, and brand is more than a logo. Think of the logo as visual shorthand to identify your brand at a glance. Consider the Honda logo. What does this say? Maybe something like this: Japanese company that makes practical and reliable cars. These are generally not especially sporty or luxurious, but many are affordably priced. All this from just a logo.
Logo creation is a very appropriate first project for a marketing campaign because your logo can be used in just about every visual medium, from business cards, to brochures, to websites, to yellow page ads. It conveys a fairly complex message, while remaining one of the most affordable pieces of your marketing picture. Many logo projects we do cost under $500, including the services of one of our experienced graphic artists. That’s efficient marketing!