3rd May 2014

Getting a Big Business Brand on a Small Business Budget

Getting a Big Business Brand on a Small Business Budget

Branding. If you’re in business you need to know what it means and how to work it. Think of Coca Cola. Did a glass of brown colored bubble liquid spring to mind, or did you think of an image of simple red and white lettering with that Oh! So distinctive font. As coca cola executive once said;

“If Coca-Cola were to lose all of its production-related assets in a disaster, the company would survive. By contrast, if all consumers were to have a sudden lapse of memory and forget everything related to the Coca-Cola logo, the company would go out of business.”

That is the power of a brand. Do you have that power?

It’s easy for huge multi-million dollar corporations to produce a credible and readily digestible brand as they have the money to do months of research, employ a department of thousands with enough to spare to play the market. What about small business that need the power of a brand, but don’t have the hefty budget that a corporate branding agency demands? There are lots of clever ways to achieve big business branding on a budget.

Start with a Creative Logo

Branding does not have to be complicated. A brand is a basic pictogram that represents your company. Pick something simple enough to be remembered, but creative enough to stand out. Think the McDonalds ‘M’ logo, or Apple’s bitten apple. You need a logo that will stand out on its own but in all realism, most business owners do not have the creative repertoire or the inclination to come up with an influential brand. That’s why you own your particular business and not a corporate branding agency. A good graphic design agency can create a distinctive logo for your business that will have instant recognition, and for the amount of use you’ll get out of it – it’s a smart investment.

According to the online Entreprenueur magazine, “While brainstorming logo ideas by yourself is a crucial step in creating your business image, trying to create a logo completely on your own is a mistake.”

They’re right. So what do you need to do to brainstorm before you find a graphic design studio?

  • Cookies. You need them to bribe your entrepreneurial, design affected and small business owner friends to come round and work with you on this. It’ll be a night to remember – and that’s a promise! Don’t work on your own here, it’ll end in disaster. Think London 2012 Olympic games …
  • Function. Work out what you will use for marketing, then how a design will translate to that media. Think letterhead, business card, brochure, USB sticks, Hats, banners etc. Will it look good on everything you use?
  • Over the top. Trust me, no one likes Ugly, obscure, neon, complex, confusing or suggestive designs. Nothing too extreme is the watch word here.
  • Make it new. No canned art off the internet or a CD you bought at Staples. Your customers will sniff it out from a mile away. Make sure you design something original.
  • Classic. Is your logo for this season, or for the next couple of decades? Chose something that will last as long as your company does. Make your logo do for your company what Audrey Hepburn did for pedal pushers and up do’s.

Cry – effectively

Think about a phrase that sums up your company, something that will be linked to your company as a verbal logo – a slogan or tag line. The word “slogan” derives from the Scottish Gaelic Sluagh-ghairm, which means army cry or battle cry. The right tag line will give you plenty of mileage around the water cooler, at the gym or out shopping. Everyone loves to shout a great slogan when they find a place for it. For instance, when did you last shout, ‘Got milk?’ or ‘What the Dell?’

Make your tagline describe your company in one breath. Think about how you can distill the essence of your company into 4 words. Decide whether you want it to have your company name in, or not, then chose words that mean something then let your creativity fly. This is when the cookies really come in handy. The best inspiration usually comes from a great night with like-minded friends. You may need to throw in free coffee too, but it’s worth it.

Add it all up

Branding is a complete package. It’s visual, it’s verbal and it’s malleable. Make sure you think about all the aspects of your company – then add on to the brand. Whatever is in your company, especially what leaves your company, needs to conform to the brand ideal. Do you have a reception? What about a banner for that eye popping reinforcement as people arrive? What about Packaging? Envelopes? Web page? Leaflets? Social media? Get something branded for each of the areas of your company and give them a company image make-over. You can add on these make overs as you wish to, but make sure you have a complete company brand.

Take the time (and cookies) to create an idea and framework of your company brand then take the time to find the right design company to work with – and that doesn’t mean some corporate branding company with numberless goatee clad executives. There’s a great Calgary graphic design company that has started a new revolution in mixed media marketing for small businesses that includes you in the whole process. Let them provide the cookies! Their new ways of marketing your brand are effective and original, starting with understanding your brand and what you want to achieve. The process revolves around you and produces what you need at a budget you’ll like. Make sure you find the same. The success of your company depends on it.