For many entrepreneurs, spending money on a professional brand may seem like a leap when they are starting out. There are many online companies that make it seem easy to go it on your own.
Don’t get me wrong, a lot of the online free and low-cost design and website services have some major value and even pack some punch. But if you don’t know what you’re doing, you’re wasting a lot of time you could be spending on more important items that will get your business on the road.
I’ve had several clients reach out to me saying that they were about to pull their hair out because they just spent 2 hours trying to figure out how to add a page to their website or they went down the Canva rabbit hole trying to create a social media image to go along with their Facebook post. All to save them a few bucks.
I’m all about saving some money but if it is at the expense of my time, pull over and let me out!
Here’s why you should shift your thinking about where you place your time:
Most people look at their money with great attention and decide how they want to spend it, invest it and even give it away. It’s no different for business owners. But most people don’t look at their time in the same way and end up wasting a valuable resource.
You can’t make more time. You can always find a way to make more money - even using your time to make it - but there is no way for you to create more time. Money can buy you a lot of things in this world, but it cannot buy you more time. You can only spend time. Therefore, you need to spend it wisely.
If you are spending hours, days or even weeks trying to figure out how to do all your own design work instead of focusing on why someone should work with you and how you can help them solve their problem, you are wasting your precious time.
4 Reasons Why You Should Let the Pro Take the Wheel
1. Saves you time & headaches
By hiring a brand designer, they can have a project completed in a fraction of the time it would take for you to do it yourself. They know the ins and outs of most software and applications and work with them every day. So not only do they save you time, you have peace of mind knowing it’s done right the first time.
2. Saves you money in the long-run
Good design and a solid brand foundation have longevity. By paying for an expert to handle your branding, you are saving yourself from paying for subpar design, maybe even more than once. Not to mention that when a business doesn’t take its branding seriously in the beginning, it will more than likely need to go through a brand overhaul at some point.
Not only that, a professional brand designer is going to have a process in place with all the steps you need to take in order to lay your foundation, messaging and strategy. They will also know the most cost effective ways to get your business up and running.
3. You will get noticed
Having a distinct brand is what is going to help you rise above the noise and create your best first impression. You are guaranteed a unique brand so you won’t have to worry about looking like everyone else. On top of that, your brand will be consistent across every aspect of your business so you will appear more professional, trustworthy and memorable.
4. They are creative
Brand designers are trained to take your vision and bring it to life. Sometimes it can be difficult to voice your ideas in words and images. They will be able to incorporate your thoughts and collaborate with you in order to develop a stronger brand ensuring you are clearly communicating to your target audience.
It can be tempting to cut corners when you’re starting out. However, skimping on your brand design can quickly become a costly detour.
VAROOM! Brand Design offers full brand design. Find the right REV UP package to fit your needs here.
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So you got your best friend’s grandson - who is in college studying to be a designer - to create your business logo because it was free.
You think, “Wow, this is a win-win! I need a new or revamped logo for my business AND I’m helping this young man out. Plus my best friend is so happy that I’m giving her grandson practice for the real world.”
Or you went to Fiverr and hired someone to do a quick and cheap logo for $5. That’s a great deal, right?
Wrong! In actuality, you’re cutting your nose off to spite your face.
The first reason this is a big no-no is because most people have a tendency to not value what they don’t pay for.
By the end of this process, you’ve got a mediocre logo at best and you don’t value it because you had to compromise. You’re already getting it for free, so in most situations like this, you could feel guilty about asking for what you really want because you aren’t paying for it. And let’s face it, you never really put a lot of thought into the logo and what it actually means to your business.
The second reason this is a bad idea is because getting a logo design is not going to change your business. You have to actually invest. Not by just investing in the logo design by a professional (and paying for it), but by investing in your full business brand.
Now I have nothing against getting something for free. Who does? But I want to highlight the difference between getting a logo designed and paying for an expert to brand your entire business.
A brand is more than the logo
The sad reality is that many small business owners think that their brand begins and ends with a logo. That once they have it, they can put it in their emails, add to their website and abracadabra, they’re in business!
This misconception is reinforced by freelance or fly-by-night designers who advertise branding when all they actually do is design a logo and maybe throw in a matching business card. That might have worked before websites and online marketing, but nowadays that won’t get you very far.
I love designing logos and provide that service to my clients, so I’m not dismissing hiring a pro and getting one done. Nor am I denying the role a logo can play in the identity of a business.
I hate to burst your bubble, but your brand is more than just a logo.
A brand is your strategy, messaging, and visual identity. It’s also how you communicate and develop a relationship with your customers. It’s how you demonstrate that you can be trusted, that you are offering a valuable service or product, and that you follow through on your promise to deliver expert services, quality products, and exceptional customer care.
Why you should invest in your brand
Your brand is a combination of visual, verbal and emotional elements that define your company and help you stand out from your competition. In this crazy, free-for-all online market, you will not rise above the noise without a clear and consistent brand.
If you are just throwing a free or cheap logo up on a website or business card and not taking a good hard look at your messaging, your stance, your competition, your target market, your niche, and your services, you’ll just blend in with the rest of the fly-by-night businesses out there on the world wide web.
A designer is not necessarily a brand expert
Okay, so hopefully by now you get it. Don’t take your best friend Betty up on the offer to get a free logo designed by her grandson Sammy. But if you can’t go to Fiverr, what do you do?
There are a couple options:
1. Hire a brand expert. This will be someone that not only designs stellar logos, but assists you with your brand foundation first and then creates your full visual brand to include your logo, print and digital materials, and website.
2. Hire a professional designer with a fabulous portfolio to design your visual brand after you go through your own branding process.
Don’t have the budget for option #1?
Alright, not a problem. Building a strong brand is a process but you can do it yourself. And to be honest, you are the only one that can answer a lot of the questions that go into figuring out your brand message and what makes your business unique.
The brand process:
1. It starts with core values. What do you hold dear? Why are you offering these products or services? What do you stand for? What do you stand against?
2. Take a look at your competition. What do you dislike in your field? What makes you different and why? What makes you the same? Why would someone choose you over them?
3. Identify your target audience. Who do you like working for? Who are you trying to help?
4. Want to stand out even further? Find your niche. How can you narrow your focus to do the one thing you love and are good at doing better than anyone else? How can you offer value in that specialized service?
5. Come up with your services, pricing and figure out how to turn that into a process you can package. What do you do best? What do you like doing? What do you get paid most to do? What’s your best seller?
6. Create credible, consistent, concise, and compelling messaging that supports your core values and what helps you stand out instead of blending in with the competition.
After you have completed steps 1-6, you now have the foundation to create the look and feel of your brand and you can go with Option #2 and find that awesome designer that will bring your vision to life!
Plain and simple…your logo is not your brand. There’s so much that goes into a brand and it takes time to develop it. Don’t be cheap. Invest in your business! If you don’t, why would someone else?
VAROOM! Brand Design offers something for both options. Find the right REV UP package to fit your needs here.
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Amanda Johnson Young is a brand designer with over 20 years experience. READ MORE
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