Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Branding is not an 'off the shelf' purchase

OOooh ... doesn't it make you - er - smile!

I have the opportunity to work with some lovely business people. Business people who really seem to understand the value of looking professional and building a consistent business brand - yet recently, I have come across some clients who have adopted 'off the shelf' logos or stock design business cards.

Great Ideas - right?!!?

Let me put it this way - I have a lovely client that I would class as a friend. When I met her she very excitedly showed me her new business cards. Bought online (nothing wrong with that). Contact details all her own (excellent). Colours and layout as 'suggested' by the printing company from their stock designs (arghh!).

So why did I cringe so violently?

In her business, her clients and her target markets are high-end corporate clients, national organisations and global institutions. The business cards design she had chosen, although good colours and a simple layout, were not her own. She used a stock design from an online printing company ... which of course means that any other business could use that design - window cleaner, child minder, mobile nail extension technician.... car valeting, taxi services, piano teacher ....

Now I'm not saying this client is any better or worse than small businesses - what I am saying is there is a time and occassion for business resources to be used - and when you run, even the slightest risk, of one day a client or potential customer saying - 'Oh my dog walker has a business card like yours and you want to charge me £1,600 a day for your services' - it affects your brand.

Logo Libraries - The same should be said for those occassions that business people might use online logo making software and services for their business.

This service is also great and OK for some - but when you are dealing with bigger businesses and corporates; and/or you intend selling your business for the odd million or two; having an identical logo that, firstly others might have and secondly cannot sensibly be regarded as your business's unique and valued corporate brand, then you have to think - it may affect your brand.

I'm not about sour grapes - I think both services are excellent - however, keep your eyes wide open and your brain in gear.

If either of the above will affect your business brand in the slightest negative or hesitant way - don't do it. It is so much more expensive to restart than get experienced branding help from the get go.

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