Which is worth more? Every durable asset owned by the Coca-Cola Company or the brand, an intangible asset symbolized by a red stripe and the name "Coke"? If you guessed the brand, you guessed correctly.
Whether you're the CEO of a Fortune 500 company or an entrepreneur leading a growing business, your brand is your promise to your customers. It tells them what they can expect from your products and services, and it differentiates your offering from the competition. Your brand is derived from who you are, who you want to be, and who people perceive you to be.
Because a high-quality brand embodies so much about your company and its products and services, it streamlines the selling process, saving you time and money. It's what motivates customers not only to buy your products and services but pay a premium for them.
The Brand Begins with the Logo
The foundation of your brand is your logo. Your Web site, packaging, and promotional materials—all of which should integrate your logo—communicate your brand.
In the 1990s, I owned one of the top five design-branding firms in the Southwest and charged clients like Caterpillar, Mitsubishi, and Hewlett-Packard $7,500 and up for identity packages including logos and stationery. We would come up with twenty or so good logos and, after much consultation, the client would select one.
At the same time, we had friends (and friends of friends) who came to us for help in designing logos for their startups and entrepreneurial businesses. They often couldn't afford our prices, so we adapted symbols not chosen by larger clients, gave them away at no charge, and made a lot of people happy.
It soon became evident to me that with the right technology and the right database of symbols, I could replicate the entire logo creation process online—and makes it affordable for startup businesses. They wouldn't have to deal with a freelance designer, wait weeks for their final design, or pay high-priced fees. In fact, they wouldn't have to pay a cent unless they loved what they created. In other words, the entire process would be risk-free.
Good Logo Design
The LogoYes.com "do-it-yourself" concept I created is grounded in the fundamentals of good logo design, distilled into an easy-to-use process and quality artwork.
Quality judgments are always subjective but, unfortunately, not all logos are created equal. A good way to tell if yours has the essentials necessary to help build your brand is if you can answer yes to these three questions:
- Will it re-size well? A great logo is not overdrawn or complex, so it can be made smaller without losing detail.
- Does it work in black and white? A great logo must look good on business forms, faxes, checks, and other one-color materials. Logos with lots of color are also expensive to print.
- Is it easy to remember? An overdrawn logo is hard for people to recognize and connect with your company.
The Virtual Process
You can now create online a quality logo to meet these criteria more quickly and inexpensively than ever. LogoYes.com is the original do-it-yourself logo Web site with a patent-pending process. It takes five easy steps:
- Choose an image (high-tech/fast-paced, trustworthy/established, or creative/responsive).
- Find your industry.
- Select a symbol from the database of 20,000.
- Add your company name.
- Create a layout (no special design software necessary).
Some may wonder what's given up by not meeting face-to-face with a designer. LogoYes.com addresses that in its "Image Calculator" questionnaire, which extracts information about you and your business to systematically arrive at suggested images that help build your company's brand value.
Building a solid brand identity is pivotal to success in business today. As shown in a recent study reported in Harvard Business Review, brand differentiation can even influence stock prices. Of the firms studied, average next-year risk-adjusted stock returns for firms whose brands became more distinct was 4.8 percent, compared to -4.3 percent for those with decreased differentiation.
You can lay the right foundation for your solid brand identity with a professional, brandable logo, and you can do it quickly, inexpensively, and effectively in the virtual world.
© 2007 Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. All rights reserved.
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John Williams President LogoYes.com