You have managed to get your foot in the door with your dream client and the meeting is set. You’ve prepared your presentation, done your research, have answers ready and are energized to promote your company with confidence that you are the best solution for this potential client’s needs.
Do you show up to this meeting wearing your bathrobe, fuzzy slippers and your hair not done?
Of course not. Your credibility as a business person would instantly be destroyed. Like it or not, we are judged by our appearance. Knowing this, you’re going to walk in to that meeting putting your best foot forward. You may have even invested in a new suit and a haircut … ladies, a great new pair of shoes can give us a little extra confidence, right?
Unfortunately, many business owners show up for their most important meeting – displaying their company to the world – wearing a bathrobe and fuzzy slippers. Marketing materials ARE a business’ appearance. Just like that new suit and haircut, an owner needs to invest in making their company look professional, experienced and educated to stand out from their competition.
The Face of Your Business
In my last blog about the importance of branding, I introduced the minimum four items every business needs to have professionally created to build their brand: a logo, business cards, brochure and website. Today, we’re going to discuss logos.
Your logo is the face of your business. You’ve heard people say, “I may forget a name, but I never forget a face” – same applies to your business. Your logo is the first thing clients see, therefore it needs to be instantly recognizable, memorable and professional. Here’s an exercise I like to do when giving presentations – look at the following logos.
Note the company name is not actually written anywhere on those logos. But you know who each one is anyway, right? (Just in case, they are Starbucks, Target, McDonald’s and Nike.) Instantly recognizable. Memorable. Professional.
Your logo is the starting point for your brand. This begins to build your company’s visual identity, setting the stage for further branding with its use of colors, fonts, the icon element and overall feel. It is the opening paragraph of your company’s book, beginning to communicate what you do, even WHY you do it.
All Things Considered
The use of fonts is essential in a logo. Not only does the lettering need to be clearly legible, but fonts evoke emotion. A scripty or handwritten font is going to give a different feel than a classic serif font (ie, Times New Roman), which is different from a contemporary san serif font (ie Verdana). Look at the following logo concepts for these two companies. Similar use of color and graphical elements the client requested, but the use of fonts gives a completely different feel.
Therefore, the manipulation of the lettering and the style of the font itself need to be taken into consideration during the logo design process. A good creative designer knows it’s not an arbitrary pick of a font, but rather a thoughtful process finding the right one to portray the client’s business and evoke the proper emotions. Furthermore, a logo becomes more than straight text typed on a page. The letters are manipulated – pulled into, through, or out of one another, are extended and lowered, curves and hooks are added or subtracted – that all makes it a unique piece of art representing a business.
A logo may or may not include an icon. This is the symbol associated with the company that becomes recognizable as the company’s logo even when the company’s name is removed (such as in our original exercise above). An icon can be an abstract or literal representation of a company’s products or services. It can be as simple as the Nike swoosh or asdetailed as a caricature of the owner or mascot. There can be creative integration of the icon and typography in the company name to symbolize services, company goals, even the background of how the business came to be or a fact regarding the industry.
Branding is all about evoking an emotional response by displaying the company’s background, goals, mission and experience to its target market in a professional and memorable way. The logo is the first, and most important step, to invest in this process. Don’t undervalue your business with a low quality, unprofessional logo that doesn’t portray who you are and what you do. And don’t become the faceless name they forget when you walk away. Instead, effectively reach your audience – get branded and set yourself apart!
Did you miss part one of my series, Branded: Setting Yourself Apart? No problem! Read about the importance of branding your company.