CREATING YOUR "LOOK" : Brand Your Business - Part 3
In part TWO of this mini course we talked about how to create a “Mission Statement” and how this mission statement will help you come up with ideas for a name (and logo) for your business. You can see Part 2 HERE.
In Part 3 of this 6-Part mini course we will deal with: Creating Your “Look” (LOGO) & Promoting Your Business Brand.
Lets get started.
The purpose of your logo is basically to give your business a visual identity.
If you choose your logo well, then it should be instantly identifiable and people will know to associate anything with THAT image with your brand and your business.
You also need to be a bit creative and somewhat pragmatic with your logo creation.
How to Create Your Logo
Consider the following criteria for your logo creation. Your logo should be…
So straight away you want to avoid anything that is going to be clichéd or derivative.
Simple is better because you need to come up with something that people can “copy”.
The people we are talking about here is your followers and your “TRIBE” [See Part 1 of this mini course]
And what do we mean by “copy” your brand?
Lets see, can you remember the logos of the rock bands ACDC and Kizz in the 70’s and 80’s?
Can you remember how their followers (I did it – maybe you did to too) copied the logo’s of these bands everywhere. We did it on our school bags, graffiti on walls, etc.
Teenagers love to associate themselves with BRANDS they like and love. You may not copy these heavy metal rock bands logos anymore but you may advertise the “Springbok” rugby logo on game days, without thinking it about it for a second.
In effect, you advertise these BRANDS for free….
Today with the Internet it is easier to copy logos and spread them around the world than ever before. Once you UNDERSTAND this concept, your marketing is going to be a “breeze”.
If you have a simple logo (it doesn’t get much simpler than “ACDC”) it makes your BRAND more versatile which means that you’ll be able to use it in more places for more people to see.
Think about it this way: your logo isn’t just going to be used on your letterhead, business cards, websites or on your own products.
Sometimes, it’s going to be on a banner on someone else’s website – on an directory site or advertising platform or news site.
Sometimes it might be on gifts or packaging. In this case, it’s going to need to be different sizes or it might even have to be in black and white.
You might need to use a “silhouette” of your logo.
So ask yourself this:
Does the logo look just as good when you use it as a silhouette?
In black and white?
Finally, make sure that your logo expresses everything you want to say about your business. That means not only communicating the niche, the industry and the kinds of products and services you’ll be selling – but also your mission statement and the emotion you want to trigger.
Can you now see why it was so important to come up with your mission statement before your started to design your logo. (See Part 2 of this mini course)
The Process to Follow
So what process can you use to get where you want to be?
A great option is to create some kind of mind map. This time though, you will be using images. So this will be more of a “mood board” – maybe it is something you want to try doing on Pinterest.com
Basically you will have a collection of images, words and ideas that all relate to your brand.
From here, you can now try combining the individual elements of your image. This will allow you to create something unique from those different parts. Try playing with different words and try using different fonts.
It’s worth making a few different logos and then show them to your friends or even your customers to get an idea of what they think and which LOGO is the most popular.
Tools and Resources
It can be rather expensive to get your logo designed by professional designers.
The reason for this is that it takes time to do any design work – it is not something you do in five minutes. And time is money - we all understand that.
So, there are basically three options you have when it comes to designing your own logo.
Option 1: Do everything yourself IF you have the software and skills to do it.
Here is a tip: when you create your own logo(s), use good software and templates and try to create a VECTOR file, not only a JPEG or a PNG file. This is especially true if you are going to make HUGE banners for advertising, etc.
A Vector Type file will ensure that your image never loses definition when made bigger or when zoomed in if it is online. This also gives you highly versatile and easy customization.
Option 2: Buy a “Logo KIT” with a collection of MASTER TEMPLATES to edit.
This is a great and inexpensive way to get started. A good LOGO KIT will have 25 or more templates in it and you will typical get the master files in PhotoShop. PhotoShop images makes it very easy to edit a logo and save them in a HIGH resolution. You can do this even if you don’t have PhotoShop software on your PC.
For example, you can download the free Paint.Net software to open and edit PhotoShop files. It works great.
Most professional designers use PhotoShop and if you don’t want to do the editing yourself, you can just give a designer the logo you want and they will edit it for you quickly.
The SA Chamber of Entrepreneurs (SACE) has a very smart and nice LOGO KIT for local entrepreneurs who needs business logo’s fast. You can click HERE to see the LOGO KIT and how to download it.
Option 3: Outsource the entire process and hire a professional designer.
Typically you will give the designers all the information they will need to create two or three “DRAFT” logos for you.
It will be important for you to make up your mind about exactly what you want before you ask designers to start working on your company logo.
Remember; time cost money and they will probably charge you every time you want to edit something they already made (designed) on your instructions and specifications.
A well-designed and brand-able corporate logo(s) can cost anything between R2000 - R5000 and even more.
To help smaller businesses or start-ups, SACE (SA Chamber of Entrepreneurs) offers a BROKER service to local business owners who needs a unique and brand-able logo.
SACE make use of freelance designers to design LOGO’s for these business owners on their specification. (At the same time SACE try to promote entrepreneur-ship amongst young designers)
Usually this service costs (to do a logo design) about 25% of the normal price professional designers charge, however, this is a 100% online service and you can therefore not sit down with the designers to discuss your ideas. You need to “spec” it out properly. You can read more about this service HERE.
Another “Corporate” Option: Crowd-Sourceing
If you like, you could “crowd-source” your design on 99-Designs [99designs.com].
In this way you invite many international designers to submit their ideas for your companies logo and other branding designs. Those who are interested will do the designs for you and you then just select the one design that you’re happiest with. Make sure you look at their pricing structure before you decide on this option.
Other Things to Remember
The visual element of your brand doesn’t stop at your logo though!
Once you have your logo, you should have a color scheme and you should have a “feel” for what things are going to look like in the future. You need to ensure that this is consistent and cohesive across everything you do. This means that you should have the exact color code number(s) and every font name you use in your logo.
When you look carefully at a well-designed corporate website, you will quickly see how the developers subtly borrow colors and elements from the companies logo.
One can take this even further and create your own “design language” that will ensure everything you create in the future is consistent.
The point is that, as you build your business, you’ll need more BRANDED materials and images for your marketing efforts.
These will include:
- Business Cards (online and off-line)
- Online wallpapers and banners
- Images that you can use for Social Media marketing.
- A “Video Opener” if you plan to make videos, for example on YouTube, to market your services or products.
- Depending on the nature of your business, you might even want to create your own mascot!
Mascots are a good choice for commercial businesses and can help to make a product seem friendlier, warmer and more familiar. Cartoon characters or animal like images are a particularly good choice.
Okay, lets move on to promoting your brand.
Promoting Your Brand – How to “Be Everywhere”
It is all about marketing and marketing is all about making sales.
The question then is: Why do you need to go through all this trouble of creating or acquiring all of these different elements for your brand?
The answer is simple: Because you’re now going to try and make sure that your brand is “everywhere” (where the eyeballs are).
You and going to try and make use of every opportunity available to increase your brand awareness and brand recognition. THAT is how you build trust and how you build a TRIBE.
A large part of “being everywhere” will take place on social media, where for instance you will need to have a similar look and feel on every social media site you want to brand yourself.
This is important because it ensures a seamless and consistent experience for your customers and it looks much more professional and impressive.
Your own website is going to be the main place where you show off your brand. But when someone visits your Facebook page or your Twitter page, you what them to be “greeted” with the exact same logo, the same “feel”, the same cover image and the same type of message.
All of this will reinforce their attitude towards your brand and if you do this well, it is much more likely that you will get more followers and more “likes”.
We can write a 25-Part course on marketing but that is for another day. We are not going to deal with that here today.
We will however briefly touch on how you’re going to enhance your brand through a few Internet marketing strategies.
To begin with then, you’re going to create all those social media sites and ensure that you have prominent branding on each of them.
At the same time you will ensure that your social media pages are providing true value to your followers – value that is relevant to your industry. This will reflect on your business and it will encourage more people to follow and share your message and content.
Think about your ”value proposition” and your mission statement and try to evoke this through your social media activities.
Show images and posts that will inspire and move people and get them excited to really get behind your brand.
In the case of our earlier example of the Ultra Warm Socks, business (Part 2 of this mini course), you might want to use something like Instagram to show pictures of people cuddled up by a fireplace. Or reading a great book in the evening, cozy and warm, promoting your “warm socks”.
When you do THIS, you are using social media to promote the lifestyle that people want and dream about.
It is also a great idea to show a little bit of “behind-the-scenes” stuff. This works particularly well if you have a “personal brand” (meaning that you use [brand] your own name - for example, if you are a lawyer). But this is also good for start-ups ay to show the energy and enthusiasm behind what you do.
Think about what will bring people to your business, sell people on your vision, and get them behind what you do. In other words BUILD A TRIBE. Can you remember the SACE Tribe Building System in part 1 and 2 of this course? Read it HERE again.
Okay, this is it for Part 3. Next time, in Part 4 we will continue our discussion on marketing and we will talk about :”Delivering On Your Promise”