Small Business Marketing:
Branding & Logos

Sometimes when markets start to slow or soften, it is a good time to focus your efforts on branding and building awareness. When used correctly your company's brand can be an extremely effective tool for sales, marketing, and even human resources. You increase the value of your brand when it is incorporated into all of your marketing and advertising design. Custom yard signs, brochures, flyers, letterhead, and print ads are just a few items that your logo should be incorporated into.

Define your image.
Before selecting the symbol or logo that will represent your brand you should spend some time thinking about what you want your brand to say. Ask yourself; what is your company's mission or core vision, what are your top selling points, why do people need your product or service, who is the end user of your product or service, and who influences the purchase decision. Start by making a list of your company's strengths and weaknesses. This will help determine the major attributes of your company and give you some direction in defining its image.

Create a logo.
One must take great care when selecting a symbol or other branding object to represent your company because this should be the first thing that comes to mind when people think of your company, product, or service. It is a good idea to hire a professional graphic artist for logo creation; it can cost as little as $100 and the professional touch will make a big difference. Make sure that you get your logo design in different file formats including PDF, JPEG, and EPS so that you will have the correct format when placing a news paper or magazine ad, ordering printed materials, or advertising on-line. You will also want high resolution or vector images of your logo to use when creating custom yard signs. A high resolution or vector image will make clearer, more effective yard signs.

Tell the world.
Once you have defined your brand and created your logo it is time to start building awareness; you must inform everyone that has contact with your company of your image change. Keep your employees up to date and involved during this process as they can become "champions" for your company who help spread the word to current clients, potential clients and potential employees. This is a great opportunity to build a lot of excitement surrounding your company and create some "buzz" for yourself. Below are some ways to let the world know about your new look.

  • Create custom yard signs– According to the US Small Business Administration, business yard signs are the least expensive form of advertising and are responsible for attracting up to 50% of a business' new customers. BuildASign.com allows you to design business yard signs and custom signs online. You may also want to invest in and design custom signs for your store front that have special shapes or light up.
  • Use Custom sign letters – Made out of durable vinyl, they are great to use on store windows or company vehicles. You can design the letters to match your business yard signs to reinforce your brand image and send a consistent message with all of your marketing activities.
  • Contact your local Chamber of Commerce – These organizations offer several ways to announce a new business or an image change, most are free to members. They also instantly connect you with local business leaders and add credibility to your brand image.
  • Have a launch party – Invite your employees, customers, potential clients, suppliers, local business, and more to a party that celebrates your new image. It is a great way to personally introduce your new image and prepare the people most important to your business for the change.

Keep your message consistent:
With a new image comes a wide range of new marketing collateral for your business. Lawn signs, brochures, flyers, letterhead, and print ads are rarely available from one vendor. Unless you have a marketing agency responsible for the design of your marketing collateral, you need to remain vigilante during the design process to ensure you are portraying a consistent brand image. Some ways to monitor the consistency of your image are to:

  • Limit the number of vendors you use – Colors, sizes, and quality can vary greatly from vendor to vendor meaning business yard signs ordered from different sources will not always match. Using the same vendor for multiple products will increase the consistency of your company's marketing materials.
  • Personally design business cards, flyers, and custom signs online – This allows you to retain complete control over the creative process. Websites like BuildASign.com have tools to design custom yard signs or printed marketing materials without the services of a graphic artist. If your logo is in the proper format, then you can easily create professional looking printed materials or design custom signs online with a few clicks of the mouse.
  • Pick fonts and colors, then stick with them – Repetition and consistency are key to building brand awareness in the minds of your consumers. Frequently changing colors and fonts will confuse consumers and dilute the value of your brand.
  • Use the same key phrases in all marketing efforts – Do not try to use a new catch phrase for every campaign. It is much more effective to pick one phrase or message and use it for all of your marketing efforts.
See Sign Designs Start from Scratch

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