The sad fact is that more than half of new business startups fail within the first few years of their launch. One of the major reasons for these grim figures is the lack of effective marketing strategies most specifically lack of strong branding for a competitive edge. When funding runs out, the business needs to be in good enough shape to be functional. One of the foundations of a strong business model is branding. It maintains any businesses ability to differentiate itself from the competition.
One of the first essential cornerstones of branding is a powerful and compelling logo which sets your company apart and ahead of your competitors.
I know that many startups work on limited resources, and may get tempted putting off creating a great logo or branding themselves until they "get established" or "get a few million in MRR." It's not uncommon to see new businesses using free online logo generators or stock logos to begin.
Unfortunately, most of the us entrepreneur DIYers do not have the skills or knowledge of creating appealing logos. Thus this cheap workaround method ends up creating more problems for fledgling businesses. Especially down the line when things do start to take off. Generally speaking standing out from the crowd from the start with consistent branding is better than trying to build the next 10x product without any visual or emotional differentiation of the brand. Take a little bit of time, and create some consistent visual pacing for the brand.
1. Conduct Some Research On Your Market
Before you even decide what type of logo you`re going to have, you first need to conduct some research. Good groundwork sets your branding project on better footing. Here you need to evaluate your target audience, your product, and even your competitors. You’re likely already doing this, but it’s important to see who is succeeding in the market and how good they look while they’re doing it. It can also be useful to read up on tips for timeless design and get some general logo inspiration from other sites out there.
2. Analyze How Your Competitors Brand
Here, we recommend that you first look for inspiration from your competitors, after all, you need to start somewhere and these companies are making money in your industry already. If your competitor`s logo is driving results, it means it`s effective and good.
See, marketing is not about reinventing the wheel; do not think you`ll come up with the “next big ad/logo,” you just need to see what your competitors are using, and then tweak it and make it better to suit your needs.
However, you should always be aware that they are your competitors and you should never copy or plagiarize their work. This is both illegal and counterproductive, because it does not set your product ahead of theirs and makes your company look weak.
An example of this type of research would be to see if all your competitors include icons, or certain colors, or design commonalities. Then to take that info, which current buyers identify with your marketplace and add your company point of difference to create a truly unique yet industry-right logo.
3. Evaluate Your Product & Audience
The next step is to evaluate your audience and product. Remember that your logo is not just an image but rather a brand.
Here, you need to make a list of words that can accurately describe your business. Ask yourself what is your brand’s personality traits? Is it dynamic, determined, funny, friendly, skillful or unusual?
These words will become your checklist to give to your graphic designers and for you to use when evaluating logo design submission to make sure the design communicates these values.
It is always recommended that you think like the target demographic while keeping in mind what would be most important to them. Why would they purchase this type of product/service? Is it price, convenience, ease of use, status? Why should they purchase from you? Will it be trendiness, improve quality or new functionality?
You can also create a mood board that reminds you of your brands ideology/mission. Look outside of your industry and country for inspiration. Post photos, designs, words and phrases that communicate your brand benefit to your buyers.
However, you should be wary of getting too attached to aesthetics at the cost of deeper meaning. You should always focus on striking a balance between what the target audience will think about your brand, and what your brand aspires to be.
4. Get The Whole Team Involved
Variety is the spice of life. While a one-man brainstorm can design a good logo, diversity will bring magic to the logo. Therefore, it is always recommended that you bring various people onboard to get your perfect logo.
Don’t limit yourself to the marketing team, bring in all levels of your organization and most importantly your target customers to review possible logos.
Recently for my new startup I used 99designs to create my new logo because they have this great feature tool called Poll. It allows me to create a survey poll by attaching up to 8 logo design submissions and sending them to a list of emails, or post on Facebook or tweet via Twitter. Thus you can turn your logo design process into a social media campaign also!
The recipients can vote for their favorites and send notes. Then I can see which designs got the most votes and read the comments. What a time saver and helpful feedback tool. Also the Poll feature allows me to let all the poll participants to be notified when I select the final logo! Great collaborative tool.
5. Designing Your Logo
Now that you have a rough sketch of what you want, it`s time to design the logo. There are plenty of design elements that come into play when selecting the ideal logo. Some of the elements include color, shapes, graphics, and typography.
There is no perfect combination, as each business model has its unique target audience and needs. However, color has a huge effect on buying behavior. Recent studies suggest that over 85% of a customer’s buying choice is based on color! Savvy marketers use the power of color boost their branding power.
However, for the perfect logo, it is recommendable that you tackle each design aspect independently, rather than taking the whole project.
As a rule of thumb, your final logo should be;
-Simple for strongest impact
-Focus on your message
-Functional and clean
-Illustrate your business
6. Hiring a Designer
From the above description, it is clear that designing your logo and branding can be a challenging task.
However, you do not have to do all that. Why expend your limited resources, when you can hire a professional designer and channel your resources to more productive tasks?
The model of crowdsourcing design via a logo design contest is very helpful for new businesses because you get lots of interpretations of your design brief instead of just one or two such as you do when hiring a single artist. This really helped me think through my branding concept and come to a strong final visual look.
Yes, a professional designer can create an attractive and effective logo that is sure to attract potential clients to your business.
And even if you still have an eye for color schemes or graphic, you still need a professional. See, as we`ve seen above, logos are more than just colors and shape. You`ll need someone to evaluate your overall brand and provide you with suggestions.
About the Author:
Marsha Kelly sold her first business for more than a million dollars. She has shared hard-won experiences as a successful serial entrepreneur on her Best4Businesses blog, where she also regularly posts business tips, ideas, and suggestions as well as product reviews for business readers. As a serial entrepreneur who has done “time” in corporate America, Marsha has learned what products and services work well in business today. You can learn from her experiences to build your own business.
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