Many small business owners can make the mistake of thinking that a good logo is not necessarily a priority for them. In reality, the logos are just as important for them because it can help them develop a loyal customer base that, in turn, will help them expand. [Read more…]
Once you have a pretty good idea about what your logo should be like it is time to figure out the tagline for it or even if it should have a tagline at all. The role of the tagline is to provide extra information that will further emphasize the values of your brand. If you do a good one, people will be able to focus more on your brand each time they see the logo. Having a well-done tagline is very important so here are a few tips that will help you out.
- Mention your unique selling point. The tagline is the perfect opportunity for you to mention something extra about your business so your unique selling point (USP) is the perfect fit. It is something short, catchy that is particular only to your brand and will help it distinguish itself from the competition.
- Keep it short. While there are no strict rules about how long a tagline should be. The best ones are always four words or less. This is a good idea because it is easier to remember, but also because it makes the logo more versatile by allowing it to be placed on items without difficulty. If you make the tagline too long, you will need to shrink it more in order for it to fit the logo and it might start to lose legibility. Just look at some of the more popular taglines from companies like Apple (“Think Different”) or McDonald’s (“I’m Loving It”).
- Make sure it is memorable. Since the tagline provides the audience with extra information, it needs to be memorable if it is to be effective. Do not be redundant by including something already mentioned by the logo name. Oftentimes, the best taglines are born when there is an underlying concept that represents the basis for the entire brand like “Just Do It” for Nike.
- Use logical connections. A good way to come up with a tagline is to write down all of the words that you think of when thinking about your brand. Do you see a connection between them? If you can come up with some kind of metaphor or character that can link these terms then you might have yourself a good tagline. This way you are also likely to come up with something unique that will distinguish your brand from the competition.
Even with these tips, you can still have a hard time coming up with a great tagline. That is why it is important to look for feedback. Ask anyone you can, friends, family, colleagues etc. to read your tagline and see what they think. Maybe they can improve it or point something wrong with it that you missed.
If you are starting up a new business, one of the first things you will need will be a logo that will represent your new company. Luckily for you, there are many professional logo designers out there that can help you. However, some of them will provide you with quality work, while others might be lacking in that department. It is important to know how to tell them apart. First, there is some information that you need to be clear on such as your target audience, the name of your business, details about your products or services, slogans, taglines etc. If you do not know enough about them, it might be wise to first contact a marketing team to help you before seeking the services of a logo designer.
Once you do have all these answers, it is time to get a logo. This logo will form the basis for all of your future marketing campaigns and it will become a symbol of your company, so it is important to get it right. You do not need to rush things by hiring the first logo designer you find. In order to help you, here are the 10 most important questions to ask a logo designer before hiring him.
- How Much Will It Cost?
The prices for a logo vary wildly as some will cost several hundreds of dollars while others can be as low as $30 or $40. Why is there such a huge difference? The answer is the quality of the work. You should not expect to get a lot in return for a $30 price tag. Many companies promote themselves as professional logo design teams that work for cheap when in reality they are just one person making logo after logo. Speed is their priority, not quality.
It would be a good idea to hire a national logo designer as they are better at understanding the culture and the audience that you are trying to reach. You should also inquire about all of the services that are included in the price such as the number of samples provided, turnaround time, customer support etc.
- How Many Designs and Revisions Do You Get for Your Money?
During the early stages of the design process, it is vital to get multiple concepts so you can pick the one you like. If you only have one or two, then you will be stuck with something that might not appeal to you. Alternatively, if you get too many choices then it will be hard to select the one that fits your business best.
Once you do have a good concept, it is more than likely going to need revisions. This is another thing you want to be clear on: how many revisions do you get? Some companies only offer a limited number of revisions or only minor changes such as colour swaps in the original price. Anything more than that and you will have to pay extra. Do not get fooled and ask beforehand exactly how many revisions are included.
- Will There Be More Than One Designer Working?
It is important to know exactly how many people will be working on your logo. If it is a dedicated designer it will increase the chance that a good relationship cannot be established between client and designer. Even if he is willing to provide you with several different concepts, if the two of you are not thinking along the same lines you will not get good results.
However, a similar problem occurs when multiple designers drop in and out of your project. They will not be as familiar as they should be with what you want and what the logo needs to be about. Furthermore, if you have a designer who just started on your logo do revisions, there is a good chance that he might try something that has already been rejected, thus wasting your time.
- What Is the Turnaround Time?
If you hire a smaller design company, there will be advantages and drawbacks. The advantage is that the work will be more personal as these companies are usually willing to work extra hard to please their clients. However, the drawback is that if that company currently has a lot of work to do then the turnaround time will suffer. Usually, your contact person should be a project manager, not a designer. This person is trained specifically to oversee all of the work that is being done on your logo and to communicate with you. However, many logo designers on the internet do not have project managers and this means that the lines of communications between company and client will not be as good as they should.
- What Files Will You Receive?
Once the logo is done, you will want to receive it in various formats. You will probably need different files for your online and offline marketing materials so you need to check that the company will provide you with everything you need. The most important file is the logo in vector format as this will allow you to scale the logo to any size you want without losing any clarity.
- Is the Logo Custom Made and Do You Receive Full Ownership?
If you are paying for a logo, you will want it to be completely custom made. This means no kind of clipart or any other recycled imagery. If the logo is not 100% unique, you will not be able to trademark or copyright it. This means that you cannot have full ownership of it, which is a very bad idea. You will have to rely on their word that the logo is custom made as it is unlikely that you can verify it.
- Where Are They Based?
A lot of companies can afford to offer low prices because they are based overseas. While this, by itself, is not necessarily a bad thing, these companies tend to provide low quality services. In order to get a good logo, the company must be able to understand your logo brief, as well as the meaning of your logo and the audience it is intended for. This is almost always done better with a logo design company from this country. This usually also makes it easier for the two parties to communicate between each other.
- What Kind of Customer Support Do They Offer?
When you are checking out a design company, make sure to take note of all of the contact information that they provide. You will want to have a direct number that you can call in case of assistance, not just an email address. Without a phone number, it is unlikely that that company will provide you with adequate customer support. If they do have a number, give it a call and see exactly how well their assistance rates.
- What Software Do They Use?
The company should mention what kind of software they use for the logos. Usually, it is recommended to rely only on Adobe Illustrator as it is the industry standard when it comes to logo design. Try to stay away from Adobe Photoshop as much as possible. It simply is not meant to handle high quality logo design and you might find yourself dealing with a lot of issues once you have the logo and are trying to print it.
- How Experienced Are They?
Experience counts for a lot when it comes to logo design. Any good company will provide you with a portfolio and testimonials to check out. If their previous work seems similar, then this probably means that they have very few designers that usually stick to the same pattern. If none of the samples look like something you were looking for, then look for another company. Moreover, some designers specialize in certain industries. While they might be capable of really great work for that particular industry, if it is not relevant to you then you should avoid. Lastly, it does not hurt to check that the company you selected is fully registered. This is easy to verify as they are legally required to provide a registration number on their website.
Once you have a logo design, it officially becomes your property. This is normal, considering the amount of time and effort that goes into creating a logo, particularly a good one. Unfortunately, it is common for other people to attempt to copy or even steal logo designs, so it is important that you take all the necessary steps in order to protect your logo as best as possible.
How You Should Do It
The best way to safeguard your logo is to register it as a trademark. This should be done early on because once a logo is trademarked, you are protected against third party that might attempt to infringe on your design.
Not all trademarks have to be logos. They can also include other graphical representations that are associated with your brand. Common examples include slogans, shapes and even colours. In order for something to be acceptable as a trademark, you need to make sure that it is unique to your business and that is not just a description of a product or a service. For example, if you owned a bakery, you would not be able to trademark the word CAKE because it is simple a word used to describe a certain kind of product provided by all other businesses such as yours. However, you might be able to register CAKE if it was the logo or brand for a company from another industry because, in that case, it would be unique.
Before you look into a trademark, you must first make sure that nobody else already has the trademark that you are attempting to register. There are several sources you can use for this, both national and international, depending on where your business is located. When you search you should also look for trademarks that might sound or appear similar to yours. This includes misspellings, plurals, hyphenated words and words that are phonetically similar. In certain cases, such trademarks will have special clauses that prevent others from registering their own trademarks that might be similar.
Once you have your trademark, you can go through the process by yourself online. However, it is generally recommended that you seek legal advice when you do this, especially if you are selling a product internationally.
The Costs of Registering
A lot of attorneys that specialize in trademarks will provide free consultations for your application. However, even if you have to pay a fee, it is usually worth it considering the troubles that it can save you later on.
If you want your trademark to be protected on a larger-than-national level, it would definitely cost you more and it will also take longer for your application to be processed. In Europe, for example, such an application can take around a full year, but after that the trademark is protected in all 27 EU countries.
When you register a trademark, you will need to choose a class that your business fits into. There are dozens of classes to choose and your trademark will be applicable for your respective class. You should also take into account the owner of the trademark. If the company itself owns the trademark, then it will change hands should the business be sold off.
It might seem like a tedious process, but it is completely necessary. A logo will be very valuable to your business and you do not want to lose it. Also, do not avoid hiring an attorney in order to save money because his services can speed up the process considerably.
As the owner of a business, it is most significant for your business to select the logo designs. Whether you employ a designer or you design the logo yourself, you have to decide for yourself during the entire design process. However you want to ensure that the decided logo will really work well. Many owners of business make an error of making a basis of their choice of logo on their own preference. But your interests should not be much affected with your logo design. Here are some ways to help in your logo design decision.
First and foremost, make a definition of the brand of your business. Your Brand Definition will be the basis of guiding the design of all the materials of your brand identity beginning with your logo. The most significant things to be able to determine before making a logo design is:
- Who You Really Are, the mission, vision and purpose of your business
- What You Really Do, the delivered products and services
- Who You May Be Able to Help Best or your target audience
Next, limit the full edition of your Brand Definition to the most important elements. Creating a logo that is straightforward and clean is important to ensure that it will really communicate well. Majority of the Brand Definitions are complicated. If you try to put so many details into your logo, this will create much a mess. Try to minimize to the most important elements. This will enable you to create a much concentrated and concise logo design that will relay the story of your business much clearer.
Always remember your Brand Definition as you go about designing your logo. Always thinks of every selection that you make and how it will affect the icon of your logo, the choice of font as well as colour scheme. Your logo should be able to relate with your customers always. The logo design and overall feel should communicate with them. What is most vital is their viewpoint. If you are aiming at the clients who are related to you, then it may be just right to design your logo by yourself, but it is most often than not the case. Ensure that you are designing for the clients and not for you. Inquire from your clients about the options for your logo to ensure that the final logo will really perform for you. But of course, the outcome of all this process is not the logo that you will love.
There are a number of components to your brand, one of the most important being the messaging you use. Consistently delivering the same message is important, as is the imagery or visuals you use. However, all the effort to develop your branding is wasted if you don’t have an accurate grasp on the audience within your specific niche.
The niche you operate in is more than just your unique selling position and the product/service you offer within your industry vertical. The audience(s) you’re targeting are a huge part of your niche, particularly their needs, wants, fears and desires. Your branding will only be effective if your message clicks with your audience.
Understand your Niche Audience
If you’re starting from scratch, the simplest approach is to build out buyer personas specific to your niche. These are detailed, fictional personas that define the types of people you’re targeting, the problems they have, their concerns, their barriers to purchasing, the solutions to the problems they have (as they relate to your products and services) and what type of messaging they respond to.
Even a business that has been operational for years can improve their brand messaging and marketing through developing buyer personas for their niche.
Laser Targeting within a Niche
Buyer personas can (and should) change over time to help create a better match between your marketing and branding and your customer. Through additional research and information gathering you can garner feedback from your audience to help improve your message.
Not only will this improve the conversion rates of your marketing, it can help you identify areas within your niche where you’re leaving money on the table, right down to existing problems where a product or service has yet to be developed as a solution.
A smart approach to this is launching surveys to garner feedback from your audience. Depending on your industry it may be difficult to get a substantial response from a survey, so providing incentives to take part (like coupons, discounts, freebies or sweepstakes) can help improve the response rate.
Another approach to help garner info for laser targeting your branding within a niche is to pay closer attention within social media. Treat platforms like Facebook and Twitter as an extension of your customer service division to monitor for subtle clues as to where you can improve your brand messaging, marketing, outreach and business operations.
Maximize the effectiveness of this approach by paying attention to the social channels and customer chatter of competitors in your niche. A missed opportunity on their part is a golden opportunity on yours.
All that information is key to helping your refine your target audience. Regardless of the size of your company you can steadily push out competitors by better understanding the industry you’re in, and the people you service. That kind of forward thinking will allow you to build a more profitable brand presence within your niche.
Whether your business is large or small, or caters to the consumer or other businesses (B2B), branding is one of the most important aspects of your operation. Creating an effective brand strategy can give you the creative edge you need to dominate in increasingly competitive niche markets.
But what is branding and how does it affect your business?
Simply put, effective branding is an unbreakable promise to your customer. It effectively communicates what they can expect from your products and services, and it differentiates your offer from that of your competitors. It is derived from who you are, who you want to be and how people perceive you.
It motivates buyers, reinforces loyalty and establishes value behind your business.
You can’t be all things to all people, and your brand will somewhat be based on who your target customers want and need you to be. The key in that statement is “target customers” – a select group of individuals within your niche.
Building a Brand Strategy
Where marketing and branding are concerned, strategy is critical in order for your efforts to be effective. That strategy includes the how, what, where, when and to whom you plan on engaging and delivering your brand messaging to. Also included is where you advertise, what you communicate visually and verbally, and the channels you use.
The Benefits of a Strong Brand
From a developed strategy comes consistent branding, the source of building strong brand equity. That equity brings added value to your company, the products and the services. This is what draws customers to you over identical, unbranded products within your market.
A striking example is Coke vs generic soda. Customers gravitate to Coke and are willing to pay more for it over generic soda because the powerful brand equity that Coke has built over the years.
This is where the benefits really come into play for creating a strong brand. The added value from brand equity is often scene in the form of perceived quality and even a strong emotional attachment to a brand. The most obvious examples are in how Nike, Reebok and even Redbull associate their products with star athletes and power performers. These brands are betting on customers transferring an emotional attachment from the athlete to the brand. Where celebrities are used, the customers often perceive quality when big names utilize a product and in turn they are more likely to trust the brand. In the case of Nike, it’s more than just the features of the product that sell the audience on the shoes.
When building a business, branding is critical to a successful marketing strategy and increasing trust among your target audience. Every business needs branding, but not every business owner needs personal branding.
Knowing the Difference
Personal branding means you market yourself as part of a business (or career). At its most basic interpretation, self-branding suggests that success from self-package.
Essentially you’re selling yourself.
When you’re branding your business, you’re putting the attention on that business as opposed to on the individual. Here’s where you can make a choice about embracing both, or choosing one over the other.
If your business models includes sharing information about the individuals behind the company, their skill, and prowess (particularly your own) then that’s an area where a cross over is appropriate. When you build brand equity in yourself it shores up your business brand.
If you want your business to be more corporate focused where the attention is on entire times, the product and services and not on you, then working to build your personal brand isn’t really necessary.
The Benefits of Personal Branding and Business Branding Together
Embracing your personal brand isn’t a bad thing; you just have to recognize that once you put yourself in the spotlight everything you do reflects on your business brand. That’s not necessarily a bad thing unless you’ve got a particularly wild side.
Growing your personal brand next to a business can attract business partnerships through network, it helps you establish credibility as you build a human touch to your business and it can lead to tremendous lead acquisition as your own character and charisma draws individuals to your business.
However, there’s two sides to the coin.
When you start bundling your personal brand with your business brand and choose not to keep them separate, growth and change can be difficult. For example, if you’re personal brand is deeply engrained in a business, and that personal brand is one of the reasons many customers or clients work with you, it could be difficult to retire and sell a business or move on to something new.
Whoever takes your place has big shoes to fill, and customers & clients may not be so comfortable with the loss of the personal touch you wove into the business.
Sometimes it’s in your best interest to just keep them separate. If you have a product or service that is branded on its own, capable of being managed by other individuals if you walk away, then continue to build that brand.
If you are the product or service (such as a professional copywriter, craftsman or skilled tradesman) then that’s you. That’s ALL you. That’s when you want to brand yourself.
Doing both is possible, you just need to find the separate parts of the business that are just you, and the parts of the business that are virtual – unattached to any specific individual. Preplanning and strategic brand building will ensure the future value of your business, no matter what you choose to do with it.
Every bit of content your produce for your website is part of your brand, especially you’re About page. This is your opportunity to tell the story behind your business to current and potential customers. It’s tempting to get distracted by all the visual components of putting a new site together, but having awesome content is crucial to branding and making inbound marketing work for your business.
That includes getting the right information on your about page.
Far too many companies make the mistake of placing dull, boiler plate information on the About page. This is a really opportunity to shine and tell people why they should do business with you. It’s a place to put something memorable. Don’t waste this real estate.
You don’t have to be witty or charming, you just need to answer some simple questions: Who, what, when, where, how and why.
Tell them who you are – The people you want to do business with are expected to give you money in exchange for your products or services. They want to know who you are. The trick here is to get that message across and tell the story in a way that appeals to your target audience. Doesn’t use corporate speak? Be real, be authentic, and remember the critical touch points for your target audience to help build trust.
Tell them what you do – You can shut down every single customer by trying to sell them something or by talking at great length about you, your products and your services. They don’t care about any of that. They care about their problems. They want to know what you’re going to do for them and what solution you’ll provide. Start with that.
Tell them why you do it – We all know businesses are around to make money, but don’t tell them you’re providing a solution in order to retire young and sail a yacht to the Caymans. Think about why you started this business, and the passion you have for the industry. Bring the personal aspect out so they can connect to the people behind the brand.
Tell them when you started – Age is to experience as bread is to butter. Longevity in business shows that you can be trusted, because you would have folded by now if you were terrible. Showcasing that you’re new isn’t necessarily bad, especially if you have a great portfolio, testimonials and/or glowing customer reviews.
Tell them where you are – People like to do business locally, and they also like to know they’re doing business with a company in their own country. Be proud of where you’re from and talk about it. After all, part of what makes your business is where you came from and why you chose where you’re at to grow your business.
Tell them how you approach your business – This provides a glimpse behind the scenes and shows off the pride you have in operating your business. Danner.com is a perfect example. This world-famous boot manufacturer doesn’t have a traditional About page. They have a “standards” page that details how they produce and handcraft their product, how they run their business, all while hitting on the other critical points listed here.
Don’t think of the About page as humdrum real estate that is a boiler plate of corporate info. Think of it as the foundation and launching point for marketing material across a variety of channels. It’s a landing page for potential customers, a brochure for your business, a handshake, a glimpse into your corporate personality and above all else it could be the final conversion point for countless customers to come.
A modern business operating without a social media presence can often be seen as “outdated” by consumers. That’s not to say that every business needs to have a presence on every major social platform, but some kind of social presence – even if it’s just on a personal/brand ambassador level – is a smart strategic play in the overall branding game.
Follow these simple tips to make the most of social media while building your brand.
- Social engagement goes both ways
Business owners often make the mistake of blasting promotions and talking sales in social media. That’s a bit like walking into a cocktail party, interrupting a group of people, and pushing your product in their face as you scream about deals.
Social media is a two-way channel for conversation, not a one-way avenue for pushing products and services. Good branding starts with being human, treating people like humans, and having a meaningful dialogue across a variety of topics. Customers eat that stuff up.
- Be Transparent
Sugar coating your brand and personality, then providing a completely different experience on the business side, is a classic bait and switch that can destroy your brand. When you’re engaging your audience in social media, be authentic and be transparent. Don’t be something you’re not, and don’t misrepresent your business as something it’s not. If you make a mistake, admit it openly.
- Make it about the customer
Your goal is to make sales, but you’ll make more sales through human connection and helping than running promotions. Focus on what the customer needs, listen to their conversations, read what they write, ask questions, share relevant news and info and make the socialization about them. That keeps them coming back to your social channels, engaging you, and sharing what you do with others as they become cheerleaders for your brand.
- Have a crisis response plan
You will inevitably experience a customer meltdown. There will be someone that will turn to every social channel they know – especially the big ones – and launch a witch hunt against your business. Establish a plan on how you and your employees respond to negative incidents in social media, and make sure those responses are public so everyone viewing it can see your level of professionalism.
And never, under any circumstance, should you delete content that is posted by your, your staff or your customers. The only exception is content that is highly inappropriate (sexist, racist, or a personal attack including exposure of personal information, etc.)
- Share and share often
Use your social channels to share everything that your company does and is involved in, right down to the silly details. Did you get a new label printer? Take a video of your first run of labels shooting at. Got a new awning or store front signage? Take pictures of the installation and the finished sign with your new logo. Product launches, company news, fun facts and personal stories all give your biggest fans something to talk about and share to help you grow your brand and keep the engagement level high as you continue branding in social media.