by Dylan M
A great presentation with strong branding will help show your small business’ professionalism. However, your work to win business doesn’t stop at the presentation.
For a startup, the path to success often seems like a light at the end of a very long tunnel. But you can take some comfort in the fact that getting your business noticed, cultivating preference, and retaining customers is just as difficult for big box businesses as it is for new upstarts.
As any successful entrepreneur will tell you, the first step to success begins with your identity – knowing your target demographic and then crafting a message that speaks uniquely to them.
And the first product of that endeavor is almost always a professional logo.
Similar to a well-fitted suit or a clean personal appearance, an amazing logo is an important tool that most businesses use to grab the ever-elusive attention of the modern consumer. When you don’t have the power of a large corporate brand, you have to get creative to cultivate name recognition and establish your business in the marketplace – an effort that’s often more important for startups than businesses with an established track record.
Here’s why (and where to start)…
A logo imparts trust and credibility. Sometimes your logo is the first impression when presenting your small business to a potential customer. And if that presentation is sub-par and amateur, it’s likely they won’t take a second glance.
When creating a logo for your startup business, go for something professional. If you’re unable to afford or decide not to work directly with a graphic designer or firm, there are web-based platforms that provide high-quality artwork designed by professional graphic designers and an endless library of fonts that range from decorative to conservative, enabling you to create a quality logo that will best represent your brand.
A logo should portray your business identity and positioning.
Similar to a tagline, which a logo will often incorporate into the design, the most effective logos are those that encapsulate your mission statement and clearly impart where you stand within your chosen niche… and how superior you are in comparison.
Your logo design should embody the values, objectives and motives of your product or service. In doing so, it provides a visual representation that tells the story of your small business, connecting your intended consumer with your brand.
Easily viewed as your primary brand ambassador, a well-designed logo can ignite your upstart business by serving as the symbol of your core offering.
The key to any successful launch is word-of-mouth. A logo can help boost sales through brand recognition. With the rapid spread of referrals via social networks and other online platforms, this process has become exponentially easier for the modern upstart. A strong logo can unify your marketing efforts by tying everything together. From Twitter to LinkedIn and Google+ to Facebook, your company’s logo can leave your footprint across the web, showing up in an endless selection of re-tweets, blog posts and other social shares.
This increased level of recognition leads to trust and reliance. Trust and reliance result in preference. And preference leads to profitability.
Getting started with a logo in 3 easy steps
Now that you know the necessity of having a powerful logo for your startup, next comes the process of sitting down and actually creating your own – a task that’s not as difficult as you might think. With the wealth of online resources, designing a logo for your startup can be completed by following these three simple steps:
STEP 1: Create a strong message
The first step for any startup is figuring out what your business represents in the marketplace and, more importantly, what makes you unique. Presumably, if you’re at the marketing stage, you already have that information at hand. So take the messaging and concepts that summarize your offering and use them to create the words or initials that will appear in your logo (also including a tagline if necessary to further clarify your positioning). Note: if you have a long business name, you may want to select the most meaningful word or pair of words to effectively represent your business. As a general rule: the shorter and more succinct, the better!
STEP 2: Seek out inspiration
Even the most creative people need a source of inspiration from time to time. So once you have your brand message locked, browse a variety of graphic design websites for ideas. Pay particular attention to the union of text and graphics, the use of color, and whether or not a tagline has been included.
STEP 3: Show it to people you trust
Though you are ultimately the best judge of the words and images that represent your business, it’s always a good idea to get a second, third or even fourth opinion before finalizing the design process. Show your finished logo to trusted friends as well as customers, partners and suppliers with experience in your niche. If they focus attention on one particular element more than another or have difficulty recalling your message or identity, you may want to rethink the balance of the elements you’ve incorporated to ensure you’re promoting the intended message and brand image.