By Cheryl Frost
To ensure that your small business is memorable, that it stands out from the rest, the professional image you dress it in is one of the most important elements of marketing. Your business image encompasses everything it is remembered for—a descriptive name, creative logo, and catchy tagline. These characteristics are what make or break the longevity of your company. Give your small business a set of fingerprints, a unique identification that customers will never forget.
Names and Brands
Choose a clever name for your company but one that also describes what you do. If you are too cutesy with the naming process, people might remember the name without any recollection of who you are. The same holds true for your product names. The products your company produces become your specialty, your brand. Name your products strategically and then wear the brand well.
How you present your company’s name is just as important as the name itself. A logo represents the name by way of art, logotype, and color palette. You’ll need to design a logo that is visually appealing yet easy enough to read.
The graphic art of your logo starts with a symbol or icon. The logotype gives the name a unique, memorable flair. Choosing a color scheme to combine the art, type, and background can be important too in the identity of the logo. Colors are often chosen by the relevance of the product (i.e. brown for chocolate, green for nature) or to support an appropriate emotional response. The right design can help etch your company name into the minds of the viewers.
To see just how influential logos are, think about some of the most famous logos. Pepsi, as a good example, has used a variety of the same logo for decades. But no matter how many ways they tried it, you could count on the red, white and blue sphere. If you took the name, Pepsi, off of the can, wouldn’t you still know what brand it was? The same holds for Coke brand cola. You might think that if you removed the Coke label, it would be just a red can. But it is the specific shade of red, the carbonated impressions, and the ribbon-like white line that tells you the drink is a Coke. The cursive lettering with the last C weaving in through the last L is also unique in telling the drinker that it’s Coke. So it is the design as a whole and not the individual components that identify your business logo.
Making your logo known
Once you’ve created the perfect logo, integrate it into everything you do. The logo should appear on letterhead, advertisements, invoices, and even shipping materials. If you have a website, your logo should be on each page so the customers always know they are in the right place. Several variations of the same logo (i.e. different sizes) make it easier to imprint the logo in different places. Your logo might not be as impressive on a huge billboard as it is on a promotional pencil. So create a design that will accommodate both.
Out-market your competitors
If most of the community already knows a business like yours, why do they need you? That is exactly what you need to integrate into your marketing strategy. Create a company tagline that shows prospects your uniqueness. Make them need you.
In your advertising campaign, invent a catch phrase that plays on your customers’ emotions. Do you remember the catch phrase, “Just Do It”? Those three words had a major impact on Nike’s sales. People went around saying, “Just do it” because they liked the power it gave them to take charge. They weren’t as in-charge as they thought they were, of course, because they were acting on Nike’s command. Inadvertently, these Nike parrots provided free advertising for the sporting goods’ company simply because they had the catch phrase implanted in their brains.
When you create a catch phrase that your customers never forget, something more memorable than anything your competitors have ever invented, you will have out-marketed your competitors, causing customers to veer away from them and toward you instead.
Your business image is much more significant than any single product you offer. After all, you do want your customers to remember your product, but more importantly, you want them to remember where they got it. Make that first impression a lasting one. Be creative with your name; be creative with your logo; be creative with your tagline. And when you out-market your competitors, be creative when spending the extra money you will undoubtedly bring in.