Do you want to fit in… or stand out?
Surprise, surprise, the DIY Marketing truth is hidden behind a shiny on-boarding wall. Site companies like Squarespace, although fairly easy to use, are only good if you know how to leverage your brand. Most start-ups and entrepreneurs don’t know the role of branding strategies, how to build their brand, or that their brand is as important as their product. And this is not entirely their fault. There’s a big, dirty, marketing lie being spread on the interweb like a suburban myth at a pre-teen’s summer sleep-over; that you can piecemeal your branding through smart purchasing decisions by slapping a $50 logo onto all of your marketing. Well let me just respond as such: Yes, it’s not true, sort of… um, no.
Do You Know What You Need?
Most of my accounts start with a common statement from a potential client which goes something like this: “I need a web page.” After a short conversation, I find out that they need a lot more than just a web page site. They need a logo, some basic stationery, an effective social media strategy, and an attention-grabbing keynote. And probably more. “It’s just that I thought I would just buy a logo and give it to you and you would use that as your base for the website, right?” Um, sorry, no, it does not work that way.
What Is Branding?
Branding is the whole picture. The messaging, the voice, the tagline accessory to the iconic logo. The Happy Meal with the movie tie-in toy. It’s the whole look and feel of your product, your company image, and your ticket into your audience’s hearts, and ultimately, their wallet. This is the importance of branding beyond cheap logos. How you present your business and service influences how it’s perceived. Branding ties it all together.
Branding Strategies, DIY Marketing Truth
Buying just a logo, or even paying someone for designing your logo, is not a complete outcome. Do you know how you will use it? By itself, will it emote everything you need it to? When you put together that nifty presentation for your financial backers or your bank, will it look polished, finished, and thought out? Does your entire presentation of your business represent your values?
Branding Strategies and Tips
- Icons are used for many various things on the web; social media icon, web browser fav icon, etc. Pick an icon for your logo which can translate into a square shape. If your logo is text-based, use the most distinctive letter (usually the first letter of your brand) as your icon. Be sure it’s recognizable as well as stands on its own.
- With brochures, keynote presentations, and web pages be sure to accentuate with complimentary graphic imagery. If your logo uses circles, then use a library of graphic images which use similar circles of the same color, opacity, stroke width, etc. Or, if your logo is text-based, then use graphic lines, or shapes depicting a supportive tone. Even a band of color fading from one to another can be your brand.
- Be sure not to crowd your logo. Allow some breathing space around it, and when you give it to that awesome charity for the local walk, be sure to give them the logo with some padding around it so it stands out on t-shirts and mugs.
- Choose your colors carefully. Primary colors are the commonly expected starting point. Research which colors your audience responds to and will most associate with your product. Blue is popular in most countries, yet can look melancholy for others. Red is a strong color and is used by many corporations, yet some associate it with anger or blood. Yellow is bright but does not print well over white.
- Make it your own. Be sure that this logo is yours. Unique and unseen ever. If you are paying $50 for it online, I can guarantee you that you are not the only one with this design. You get what you pay for. If your logo is not worth that much, why do you think others will choose you over your competitors? Stand out in a crowd. Make it more of “I spy with my little eye” rather than “where’s Waldo”
Eric Round has designed and created branding for dozens of businesses and industries; from consumer level to corporate internal projects and everything in between.