If you’re offering a specialist service, for example, accounting or creative design, it’s not solely the quality of your work that is under question. Brand recognition and differentiation are what set the successful apart from the rest.
Is your logo as important as everyone says?
A logo can be as synonymous as the business itself. We can almost think of them as the ‘face’ of a company. The only trouble is that being noticeable, recognizable, and memorable when you’re competing against thousands of other brands and logos, as well as larger conglomerates, is intimidating enough.
Being able to associate your business with certain imagery or values can have massive benefits to a small business, attracting a wider range of customers who can locate trust signals online and via word-of-mouth about your business. It’s the reason a cup of coffee with a Starbucks logo can cost more than twice that of an unbranded cup. Those margins grow ever larger when you build a powerful, recognizable, and reliable brand - and that starts with the basics.
At the heart of the brand
These days, a website may as well be considered a product in its own right. The home of your business, it offers customers access to your brand anytime, anywhere. The standard of websites is also on the rise. Stanford University found that three in four consumers claimed they’d make a judgment on a business purely based on the quality of its site. What’s more, human behavior means that judgment can be made a lot quicker than you’d think. Around seven seconds is roughly all you’ve got to make a good impression with a visitor. Fail to do so and 8 in 10 users will do what’s known as ‘bounce’ - leave the site without interacting in any way.
One of the most effective and memorable ways to raise interest in a site or brand is to create your own logo. That logo needs to reflect some ideas that your brand is trying to communicate. Are you centering your service on speed and efficiency? If so, something simple and snappy might be best. Or maybe your business simplifies highly complex processes like coding for corporate clients. Something sleek and bold lends itself better here. Simply put, your logo is the centerpiece of your branding. You can grow and build further branding around it.
It might be daunting to design a logo and subsequent entire site on your own, so finding a platform that offers plenty of support and templates, as well as doing a little competitor research to gauge ideas on effective concepts are places to start. Alternatively - if you’re willing - investing a little capital in hiring an outsourced designer to produce some logo and branding ideas for you is well worth doing.
Your logo and your site are important because they’re effectively the foundations upon which the visual elements of your business can lead. Your next priority, once you’ve built those pieces of collateral out, is to know where to place your brand.
Being available on as many forums and via as many routes as possible should be at the top of your to-do list. 92% of internet searches are now carried out on mobile devices and social media platforms house huge swathes of different users. In the same way, you might want to do some SEO research into keywords you could include in your online advertising, doing some audience research can reveal where prospective customers might be found.
Creating freelancing profiles on platforms like Fiverr or Upwork can be great if you’re looking for corporate-startup clients, for example. Alternatively, if you’re a developer, having a presence on a platform like GitHub is a great way to be visible and reachable by those who understand the value of your services.
If you’re more of an artisan, producing unique, physical goods, sites like Etsy and Fy! are targeted at maximizing these sorts of items. It might seem like the online world is saturated beyond belief, but rather than going fishing looking to catch every fish, your goal has to be to catch the ones you really want. By narrowing down your target audience and being seen in the right places by them, you maximize your chances of bridging the cash flow gap that small businesses struggle with in those early years.
Beyond The Branding
So you’ve created a beautiful site, you’ve settled on a logo and you know who you’re selling to. A third thing to consider is taking your brand further than your services or products. The reason many brands (and their logos) become so recognizable is due to the values or actions associated with them.
All that’s left for you to do once you’ve built the visual brand you want, is to live up to the values that the brand conveys as you begin working with your first customers. Logos and websites, when rushed or undervalued, can certainly hold you back, and damage people’s confidence in your brand.
Patience and commitment to getting them right can have a two-fold benefit. For customers who find you, it’s a great way to build trust. For those you impress with your services or products, it’s a reminder of those positive experiences. So, as you build your business, make sure you’ve got that strong foundation in place, first. It can make all the difference in the years to come.
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