Do you remember in grade school how your parents and teachers would try to keep you from being judgmental and cliquish? The most memorable phrase was, “Never judge a book by its cover.” And I’m revealing that I am a child of the 1980’s, but who could forget the second phrase of the Transformers theme song: “More than meets the eye…” We were raised around attempts to help us look past appearances and make a more discerning appraisal of the people and situations around us.
Fast forward to present day. You are running a business. You don’t have any big corporate office that tells you what to do. You are completely independent. Right around the time you got started in business, your first few customers or clients sort of found you. The thrill you got from meeting their needs helped propel you to launch your own business. Then you realized that in order for your business to survive, you will have to begin reaching out and communicating to others about what you do. You need to network. You need to market yourself. How do you do that without a business card? So you head down to OfficeMax and put together a business card. You select an image from their nice clip art library and put it there beside your business name, along with your phone number and email address. Now you’re ready to network. You’re ready to step out there and…be judged.
Logo design is important because it is the main element through which you make a first impression. Your logo (whether it is on a business card, your website, your vehicle, or your estimate form) sets the tone for what your customers can expect from you. Your logo tells who you are, and it also reveals a little bit about your future aspirations.
Let’s take a moment to make a critical distinction. In the mind of many business owners, logo design and branding are synonyms. They are related, but they are far from interchangeable. A logo is a unique representation of a business, service, or idea. Logos often incorporate stylized text or graphical elements, and they may include one or many colors. A brand is what a person thinks concerning your business or organization. It is the sum of the first impression and every subsequent impression that a person experiences about your business or organization.
In short, your brand is the mark you leave:
Your logo is one of the tools at your disposal to create a brand:
There are many ways to reinforce a brand over time. Every interaction your have with your customers or clients is an opportunity for you to strengthen (or weaken) your brand:
- Pre-Sales Conversations
- Website Experience
- Pre-Sale Product Samples
- Delivery of Product/Service
- Service After the Sale
Your logo is only the initial step in creating or strengthening that brand. But unless your logo is effective, you may not have a chance to get to the other steps.