It can be tough owning a small business… Tight budgets, small staff that leads to employees wearing many hats, marketing your products and services, etc. There is a lot to be responsible for. Because of the fray of responsibility, often times small businesses can overlook one very important thing… their visual brand identity. Wait, didn’t momma tell you never to judge a book by its cover?! Yes, yes she did. Unfortunately, the public is not that polite. People DO judge by what they see. This is why having a visual identity that communicates YOUR message effectively is very important. Small businesses are notorious for having… well, let’s not sugar coat it… terrible brand identities. Often they could be based off of the owners niece’s favorite color or maybe the owner themselves felt ambitious and created the logo using clip art in Microsoft Word. There are many reasons for troubling visual representation of small businesses. Your visual identity is the first and sometimes the only thing people see. Shouldn’t it be done with thought and preparation?
3 Basic Things to Consider for your Small Business Visual Identity
1. Hire a Designer– It can be tempting to cut costs and just do it yourself or find a “logo-in-a-can” to download from the internet. Graphic Designers have studied to know the right questions to ask you to create a logo/identity system that is specific to your company’s values and message. There is no good way to achieve this without the personal attention of a designer.
2. View it as an investment– Yes, it will cost some money and maybe you will have to pay to replace some signage and marketing materials but the result is longevity. If done right, a brand identity can last the lifetime of the company and change perceptions while bringing about new business.
3. Stay consistent– Ok, maybe you just had a visual identity developed by a designer… They probably gave you a list of rules with the identity system (specific colors and fonts to use, types of imagery, ways the logo should and shouldn’t be handled, etc.) Follow these rules! You may say that “rules were meant to be broken”… well, not in this case. Nothing can destroy the integrity of a well developed brand identity faster than inconsistency. Every time the public sees Company X it should always look and feel like Company X.
Evaluate your company. Do you have a visual identity? Is it strong? Does it effectively communicate who you are and what you believe and offer as a company? If not, seriously consider the impact of handling your brand identity the right way.
Ask yourself….if you saw both of these logos (two small businesses from the same industry) and didn’t know anything about either company beyond what their logo looked like, which one would you give your business to?
Let us know your comments, we would love to hear from you!