What is a Logo?
A logo is a visual, iconic representation. It can be an image, symbol, emblem, character or word. It is the single most powerful marketing tool available to an organization – really!
A good logo is easy to recognize and remember. It symbolizes the essential nature, purpose, product or service of an organization. It broadcasts these qualities instantly and effortlessly to anyone who views it. A logo is not just a signature or a pretty picture, nor is it intended to describe absolutely everything about a company (that’s the job of ‘branding’, up next on the list of FAQ’s).
Let’s look at an example of a company that manufactures laundry soap. The company might want their logo to depict the act of washing clothes or alternatively, the concept of cleanliness or purity. But they’re not going to try to depict the process of manufacturing the soap.
Over time, changes in technology, culture or perception may cause a logo to be less relevant, even confusing. This is often the reason a company will revamp their corporate identity. Let’s look at another example, this time an Internet provider. A few short years ago everybody accessed the Internet through telephone lines, which is why an Internet company’s logo might have included a phone or telephone lines. Today the majority of people access the Internet through cable, satellite or wireless network. Some folks don’t know or even care how their connection works. How well does the old telephone-themed logo work now?
Before you decide to invest in a logo (hopefully with Renaissance Monkey Design), ask yourself these questions:
- What does my business do?
- What does it offer?
- What does it strive for?
- Is there a mission statement and what does it say?
- What sets my business apart from the competition?
- How do our products and/or services improve the lives of customers or clients?
- Why should people do business with my company?
These are important questions that need to be considered when developing a logo.
What is Branding?
Branding is a term that gets dropped into a lot of conversations these days. Many people think they know what branding is and some of them do, but many don’t. The simplest and most encompassing definition is this – branding is perception. Period.
If you substitute the word “perception” for “branding” in anything you read or hear about branding, it will make a lot more sense. Branding is what people think and feel about a product, a service, a business or a proprietor. And sometimes that can be a problem. What if they don’t feel anything at all? Or worse, they think something negative? This is where managing a brand becomes important.
A brand identity should reflect the beliefs and goals of the business owner. That’s you. The brand should also appeal to customers, staff and suppliers. Whoa! Staff and suppliers? Absolutely! What these people think, feel and say about your company influences how the world thinks and feels about your company (okay, perhaps not the world, but certainly your community). After all, word-of-mouth marketing is an integral part of any brand.
So how do you manage your brand? First, determine what branding, if any, already exists. Ask customers for feedback. Circulate a questionnaire. Talk to the staff, the delivery guy, the mail carrier, your family, friends and neighbors. Even total strangers. Remember, branding means perception. Review the results. How does your current brand compare to the brand you want to project?
Now you can start the process of managing your brand. Focus on your mission statement, a brief sentence or two that encapsulates the goals and philosophy of the business and owner. Use it as your guide throughout the branding process. Work to eliminate any negative perceptions that might lead to lost sales, dissatisfied customers, disgruntled employees or anything else that is contrary to your mission statement. Explore methods to enhance the views that create and support the perception you want to project. Focus on the steps you can take with your marketing material, your advertising, the physical space around and within your business, the street presence and signage, how your staff interacts with the public, the staff’s training, your stance on environmental issues… the list goes on. Start with the things that are most important to you and your customers.
Branding only begins with your logo. Managing your brand involves work and perseverance but the results are worth it – improved customer loyalty, expanded sales, increased revenue, productive employees and greater success.
Do I need a web site?
The answer is nearly always “yes”. But first let’s be clear on what we mean by a web site.
A web site is an online entity designed to communicate with your current and potential customer base. An effective web site should inform, entertain, educate, facilitate, accumulate (data) and/or innovate (and in the case of Renaissance Monkey, hopefully, put a smile on your face).
Today a web site or web presence can be almost anything you want it to be. It can be a place where people learn about your products and services; where those products and services are sold; where people can interact with other clients or other people with similar interests; where people come for information and answers about your business or contact your company directly.
Your web presence is an essential part of your branding identity, allowing clients access to whatever information you want to make available, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Like all of your marketing initiatives it needs to be planned, focused and effective. A visit to your web site should be an easy, pleasant, informative experience. A negative experience will leave a negative impression. Have you ever visited a site where you couldn’t find what you were looking for? Where links didn’t work properly? Or you got the dreaded “404 page not found” message? What was your reaction? That is why your web presence should not be thrown together or pumped out through a cookie-cutter template.
Your site doesn’t need to WOW your visitors (although at Renaissance Monkey we think WOW is a good thing) but it does need to be easy to navigate, function well, download quickly, work smoothly on various sized devices and it should be perceived as a benefit to the user. Make the experience a positive one and you’re one step closer to acquiring a new customer or creating a more satisfied one.
Why hire a Graphic Designer?
You might wonder why you need a graphic designer – a good one, with proper training and experience. The answer is simple. An experienced graphic designer has the knowledge and skills to organize and deliver information in a manner that will engage your target audience and effectively communicate your message. And that is what it’s all about.
Ask yourself, why do you pick up an unfamiliar package in the supermarket? Or pull a new book off the shelf? Or glance at a billboard on your way to work? The odds are it’s because of good design. That package or book or billboard caught your eye. It stood out from the crowd. Good graphic design can do the same thing for your marketing material.
Have you ever thought you’d like customers to better understand what your business offers and how it could benefit them? Would you like to distinguish your business, products and services from those of a competitor? Would you like more customers? Obviously! Good graphic design can help build solutions to these challenges. It is a vital part of the marketing strategy of every successful business enterprise.