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I have seen many business owners get stuck when deciding on their logo because they are not seeing the bigger picture. Now this is not their fault at all, in fact if you’ve had this same problem then you are in the majority, not the minority. The likelihood is that the designer, on the other hand, is a few years down the line in their head and can visualise everything from the business cards and brochures through to signage and exhibition stands and everything in between. With this extra information they have an advantage in being able to see the brand as a whole rather than the logo on its own, which is really a rather small part of the brand.

But Nike’s ‘swoosh’ is legendary and McDonalds golden arches and the CocaCola logo are both know across the globe.

Yes, indeed they are BUT it’s not the logo that has done this and I’ll give you a few examples below of what I mean.

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As the adverts above demonstrate, each brand is working at getting across a message and attracting their Perfect Client.

You see, when we think of different companies we are thinking of much more than the logo, we are connecting with their brand. The persona of the company, their mission, the image that they want you to see and feel and the emotions their branding illicits within us.

For example, here are some very simple logos from some very big brands. You’ll see that many of them are just text but we don’t really notice that, what we remember is the feel of the brand as a whole that we get from what we see from or about them.

 

Simple-Logos

 

I’m going to use Hollister to explain a little more. You see, it is aimed at young people who enjoy surfing, fun at the beach, good times with friends and it does this very well. Their branding is covered with images of young couples, teens and young adults laughing at the beach, people surfing and generally anything associated with that lifestyle. Their shops are full of beach styling and many have a large wall panel that shows the waves lapping at the beach.

The lighting is very ‘trendy’ (which translates as very cool for my daughter and her peers and infuriating for me and many other parents I know who find it impossible to see what colour the clothes are unless they’re under the spotlights – we’re not the target market though so it’s good that we feel that way as it makes it even cooler!).

The staff are all dressed in skimpy own brand clothing and very much acting as models for the shop goers to give them a style to emulate. They want to achieve that ‘beach babe’ look and obviously buying from Hollister helps them achieve that.

Hollister-example

Their store opening in our local city was quite incredible. They had very buff men and women dressed in swimwear welcoming you at the door and the queues to get in filled the shopping mall and were there all day. In fact, the store was rammed for the first few months it was open, every time we visited.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of things that I don’t like about Hollister, but that’s the whole point. It’s not aimed at me. It’s aimed at my daughter, who for around a year was completely obsessed with it. Birthday, Christmas was ‘something from Hollister please’ or a gift voucher to use there. All her friends at school were the same.

This is what I mean when I say about creating passion with your audience. I know myself and many other mums and dads find the shopping experience hellish and avoid it like the plague but for my daughter and her chums it’s like a dream come true and they encouraged each other to spend, spend, spend in there. Hollister was everywhere and that’s what targeting your Perfect Client does – it makes them love you and it creates passionate brand ambassadors for you.

So coming back to the point of this blog. Hollister’s logo is not complicated, it does not show everything the company does, in technicolor, it is simple and in most cases just one colour. It is the branding that they have created around their logo, from their adverts, products and bags to their store design, launch promotions and so much more, that has created the brand and how we feel about them when we see their logo.

I hope this helps you think about your logo and your brand and, if you’re getting your own logo done at the moment, encourages you to think bigger picture and how your logo will work with the overall brand and also stand the test of time. After all, the simpler the logo the better chance you have that it will work everywhere easily and still look good in many years to come.

Try not to get too hung up on creating a busy logo. Think simple, think longevity, think how you’ll use it elsewhere and most importantly start thinking about your whole brand rather than just our logo… really, though it is very important, it is also just a very small piece of the puzzle.

N.B. I have named the source of images where possible to do so.

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Interviewer:     Sophie, a big question a lot of people ask you know certainly in particular when you were looking at building brand, building an impression, we’re trying to you know get into a market and in particular if you’re starting from scratch, you know, if you’re starting from scratch and you are trying to create this brand perception and you want to raise your visibility and people’s awareness of you where do you begin with something like that if you are literally beginning, you know starting fresh?

Interviewee:     Well I guess it depends on budget, see you have got people who have money to spend, to invest in their business to get it going and you have got people who are literally starting with nothing so if I cover both of those a little bit briefly.  I think if you’re starting with, essentially they both have the same thing but one of them is going to have more money to chuck at doing direct mailing and marketing and advertising and that sort of stuff whereas if you are starting from scratch and you have got no budget, which actually I’ll cover that because that works with both then I would say your first thing to do is to identify your ideal client and the people that you are targeting at because once you know that, that is going to help you really drill down on how you are going to get your message out there because otherwise you are going to start flailing around doing all sorts of stuff that you don’t need to do.  So once you figure out who that is, then you are going to be able to know what sort of thing that they are going to want to see, what they are going to be looking for and what their problems are because once you know what their problems are you then you’re going to know how you can help them and that’s really, really important and although people don’t necessarily think of this when they think of branding, they straightaway think logos and business cards and that’s as relevant but it is a bit like a jigsaw puzzle there’s lots and lots of pieces and you’ve got to link them all together to be able to get this bigger picture.  So yep, so you start with your target client, you then figure out what they want, what their needs are then you know what you need to be saying to get in front of them and how you need to look because there is a very different look if you’ve got a very professional business you need to look professional.  If you’ve got a more kind of friendly business then you can afford to be a bit more jokey and friendly with it and they are two very different feels in terms of looks and brand.  Then of course you’ve got logo, you definitely need to get a logo done but you don’t need to spend a fortune on it.  If you’ve got zero budget choose a nice font that hasn’t got commercial issues with license that you’ve got the ability to use just use that keep it simple, if you have got loads of money then invest in a really good company that really connects with you and that can deliver you a logo that’s really going to represent your company and give you something that will take you forward in an ageless way and then you’ve got obviously all the design and everything that comes with that but start small because a lot of people, even if they’ve got investment money they waste it because they think I’ve got to get letterheads and compliment slips and business cards and this, that, the other but again they haven’t thought about who they’re aiming at and actually they might not need half of that because actually their money might be better spent in a different way if a lot of their clients are on social media then they need to be thinking about social media graphics, if a lot of their clients are taking the tube to work every day in London then they are going to need to be thinking about posters and banners that they’re going to put up in the tube so branding is much bigger if you’ve got an actual space where you’re going to be working do you want a uniform, do you need signage outside the building, you know what is it people are going to be looking for that’s going to help them resonate with your business and give them the feeling that they can trust you and that you have credibility and that they then want to use you.  So to build your brand from scratch it’s more than just getting a logo done and getting some business cards, it’s about thinking about the bigger picture because once you know that you can spend your money much more effectively and then you don’t have to waste it on stuff that you don’t need.

Interviewer:     And do you think as well, there’s also this, I’ve seen several times and experienced it myself and it’s sort of now a revolution in terms of branding, the brand that you start off when you, in particular a new business if you’re a start-up within six months to a year the business has almost transformed, it’s developed, it’s grown into its model at that point then obviously the branding sometimes needs to catch up with it.

Interviewee:     Yep, I would use my business as a case in point I started The Brand Kitchen in December 2013 and within the first three months all I have was a website and business cards I haven’t got anything else, I’ve got lots of social media graphics, I’ve got lots of stuff I’ve been putting out, I’ve been building my mailing list, I have done on-line courses and developed products and e-books and stuff now the branding goes across the board with all of those, but I haven’t actually spent any physical money on lots of things.

Interviewer:     So you’re testing?

Interviewee:     So I am testing what works, I am discovering and I am putting feelers out, feeling what do I actually need and then I can then spend more money on doing the right things.

Interviewer:     And presumably you can find out, well once you’ve found out what works then you’re able to extend that and grow that a little bit more and leave the stuff behind?

Interviewee:     Yeah because I think a lot of the time in business you think you know what your clients want and then you find out that actually they want something a little bit different.  It works a lot in retailers I think a lot of the time they buy things that they like and you see things and you think, oh that’s horrible I would never buy that but actually that’s the thing that sells and ultimately you are in business to make a profit, you’re in business to make a life but also you need a profit to be able make a life and so therefore you need to be doing the right things.

Interviewer:     And serve the customer.

Interviewee:     You need to be serving the customer but from a branding perspective you need to be giving them the things, that you know they’re going to connect with, you want them to be proud of your brand so that they can then tell other people how brilliant you are.

Interviewer:     Fantastic thanks.

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Interviewer:     So if you are in business and you are planning on going to a trade fair, or an event, or a conference, have you got any tips for making that a really effective use of your time?

Interviewee:     I have done lots and lots of trade exhibitions before, franchise exhibitions, start your own business exhibitions, I’ve been there for marketing and for a number of different products and reasons.  I think tentatively what tends to happen is people have a great, a lot of work and effort goes into the planning and what their stand is going to look like, the product they’re going to take, their brochure, their literature and their expectations, they’re going to go there, set up stall and hope that people are going to come over to them and talk to them and ask them questions.  That is a very passive, kind of reactive way of dealing with the audience.  An experience I had about ten years ago at the Excel Business Centre in London at a start-up exhibition, the guy I was working with at the time, we created a product, it was a specific product, it was a marketing book that we were going to be giving away for free and the whole emphasis over the two days was purely designed around building the list, we wanted to walk away from that exhibition with a list of people we could then engage with and so from the exhibition stand itself, to the signage that was laid out, the whole emphasis was that we were giving away something of value for free, the only thing people needed to do was in exchange was to give their email address.  And that worked incredibly well, we found that over the three days, two days we were there we had three or four people on the stand at some points we literally had three or four guys with clipboards with two or three people waiting to give their details and of course that in itself creates a bit of momentum because when someone sees a crowd around a stand they want to know what is going on and it worked brilliantly and because we were very specific about what we were doing, there was no mixed message when people walked up and they scanned the exhibition, rather than trying to work out what do these guys do, who are they, what or why might I be interested in talking to them and all those things that you’re going to, conditional requirements you are going to put in place before you start a conversation, people knew exactly why they wanted to talk to us because we had an offer.  Two days, two very, very busy hard working days, we walked away with over 600 leads and that in itself can raise an issue because you’ve also got to remember that you have to plan in time post your exhibition for your, to follow through, to get in contact with people, to distribute material you want and so on and I would say probably the biggest thing we’ve learnt from that was nowadays get people to type their email addresses into an iPad or similar, don’t get them to scribble them on a piece of paper because the problem is you will have a lot of wasted email addresses that are inaccurate.

Interviewer:     I also heard you were talking about **2:25** earlier.  You are also getting a really good **2:29** effect in there when you do follow up people are already inclined to want to at least give you the time of day because they have had a freebie.

Interviewee:     Well I think as well, especially if you are attending, if you’re a guest and you’re attending a large exhibition with lots and lots of different people displaying lots of trade stands or speakers and so on you go there, you get immersed into it, you come away and it has been an event, there isn’t necessarily a lot that follows up.  But if you’re going away and you’re meeting 10 or 15 different suppliers or trade suppliers or businesses or organisations the question is what is going to make you stand out, how can you stand out in the minds of those people after the event and if that means that you know two or three days’ time you can then follow up with an email and you can especially if you can personalise that email, or if you can reach out to the right people, if you can then obviously go through your list and start to qualify who the ones are that you want to contact, you can then reach out to them after the event and you’re just basically emphasising the value that you can give ongoing rather than simply saying we are here are you interested in talking to us?

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Interviewer:             Okay, it’s a tough one to answer, but really, really quickly, three things, the three main things building a brand from scratch.  What are the three things you focus on?

Sophie:      Okay, lots of people think that a brand is your logo and your business cards and how it all looks but actually it’s a lot more than that, it’s more about the story of the business and the promise that it’s giving to its clients so in order to build a really strong brand you need to get the layers going right.  The first thing you need to start with is identifying who your ideal client is, your target market that you’re aiming at because you need to know who they are to be able to develop the brand that they’re going to find attractive because there are very different brands that are out there. Once you’ve decided who they are you can then effectively design your logo and your business branding and leaflets and literature and all that sort of stuff to go with that.  So, it all kind of ties around that really because when you know who they are you can then deliver in terms of style, your logos, your colours and everything about your brand and the persona and the promises that you’re going to give are they going be things that they want to have.  So, figure out who you’re working, who you’re aiming at, what they’re going to be looking for, give them that in your branding and your design and then follow that through with all the other marketing things that you do following on from there but definitely start with the end in mind of who you’re aiming at that’s going to be one of my top tips for designing a brand from scratch in a nutshell.

Interviewer:     Thanks.

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Interviewer:     So David, I’ve known you for about probably 12 years now and I wasn’t, I didn’t know you in this part of the world in Norfolk but I found whenever we’re having a chat you’re constantly being acknowledged by people that know you.  Can you give tips for people that are sort of maybe working in their local area, they want to work locally for how they can start to develop that sort of level of connection and reputation in their community?

Interviewee:     Yeah, I mean building reputation takes time and it’s you know, there are a lot of things that you can do to accelerate it, it’s about being consistent and authentic.  Strange enough I mean I actually got you to thank for this in the fact that building my reputation locally really came about through developing networking events, the antidote was something I set up it was about 10 years ago I started it, it ran for 8 years and became one of the largest networking groups in Norfolk and I realised that that was a great opportunity to simply get in front of and meet lots of people.  Certainly being a sort of a host to a networking event is a great way of being seen and heard by people and then I was even going on the speaker platform and starting to talk.  It’s, for me as I said probably the two biggest issues really are about authenticity and consistency.  If you’re authentic about who you are and what you’re aiming to do and you’ve got a sincere desire to deliver something of value to other people you’re not just in it for the money.  If you’ve got you know, a real sincere authenticity about that I think people pick that up and the other thing is about being reliable, being known that if you’re going to do something you know, say that you’re going to do it and carry it through you know, if you built a reputation of being reliable people will come back to you time and time again whereas typically if you offer to do things and then don’t follow through you may get a second chance but you probably won’t get a third so it’s something that takes time and having meaningful conversations, if the guy that trained and mentored me you know, one of his big comments was he always said look to have one meaningful conversation with someone new every day and that’s a really, really good idea, it’s a really good task, it doesn’t matter whether it was in a bar, a restaurant, hotel, standing at the bus stop, whatever it is just have a conversation with people it’s amazing what you get to learn.

Interviewer:     Thank you.

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Interviewer:     So, there seems to be loads and loads of people offering social media management services now so they’ll take on your social media for you.  How would you spot a scammer from a saint?

Interviewee:     That’s a good one, yes you are right there are lots and lots of people out there that because they’ve learnt their way around Facebook and Twitter and they’re familiar with it and they enjoy it, I mean let’s face it the fact that you know people they obviously have great fun, I could probably be making a business out of it, I could make money from it, I think really a couple things is having some structure to what they do on social media is very important, understanding what you’re supposed to be posting and distributing where and when and to who.  Social media is not just something to be a blah blah blah channel it really is about trying to find the right places to put the right messages to and I think most cases it’s very, very simple for someone to pick up some basic skills around Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn.  The question is, is there a plan, is there a structure to it?  And if you don’t see any kind of plan or structure to it, I mean if somebody is being approached by an individual offering those services I think the first question I would say to them is “okay, come back to me and give me some sort of at least even just an outline frame plan of how would you use different platforms and how we’re going to approach those in terms of different marketplaces?”  That should be a very good indication if they can answer that question you know, thoroughly with some clarity then I think you’ve got a, you’re on to a winner probably at that point.

Interviewer:     Thank you.

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Interviewer:     So then, can you tell me, do you think special offers are a good way of generating business?

Interviewee:     Yeah, I think we are all conditioned to the fact that when we see the signs, the magic signs that says sale or free or special offer there is a reason for us to focus in on it I mean obviously a lot more people have become, we are all quite immune to it and unless there’s something relevant to us and we see it as a genuine special offer you know there’s always a slight degree of curiosity matched with probably a little bit of scepticism as well. I think the main thing with the special offer is that you are looking to create something that is timely, looking to create something that’s obviously specifically relevant to their interests but what you need to do, the key thing really is to stack up the value.  The biggest mistake that most people tend to make with special offers is that they discount, they, for special offer they re-discount, they take their existing products or service, they can’t sell it, they want to try and generate more sales and they think the quickest way to generate more sales is to simply slash the price.  That’s the absolutely the very worst thing you can possibly do, you know that special offer, the key is in the phrase and that is the word special, there has to be something special about it, there has to be something different to what you’re currently doing.  So whether you’re adding more value to it in some way, whether you’re up-selling it, whether you’re giving a different option of the way they purchase it, I mean it could be their payment plan, it could be the way that they buy the product through, it can be maybe buying through instalments but you’re creating an event and really what you’re doing is you’re looking into creating an event that indicates that there is something here that’s going to be special and it’s also going to be limited you know remember scarcity is a great tool obviously you know we talked a lot about it the value of using scarcity in terms of influencing people and that also helps to improve your sales cycle, it helps to you know to accelerate the whole cycle and help you make those decisions a lot more quickly.

Interviewer:     Thank you.

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Interviewer:     So, I’ve got a book all written ready to go what do I do now?

Interviewee:     Okay, there are really three options for getting published.  The first option is you try and find a traditional publisher.  Some of the downsides with that are that you can end up losing creative control, if you’re building a brand name and want to cover to look completely different to your own brand so it’s not consistent and you could end up spending a long time actually just finding the publisher while your book is not out there.  The second option is you find there are lots and lots of publishing service companies now that will charge you a small fee but they help you to work out exactly how to get the book marketed and designed around your business if they’re good, you get the benefit of professional editing types editing cover design and the hassle taken off you but the big downside is you need to put some money up front great.  It’s great if you’re in business and you know what you’re going to use your book for.  The third option is you can do it all yourself and you can self-publish.  There are no barriers now to get a book published.  You could go straight to kindle tomorrow if you’ve got the manuscript.  I wouldn’t suggest doing that I still think you need creative skills, you need somebody to look at the cover you want help with the editing, you want help making sure you’ve got the professional product out there but you could if you theoretically if you’re entrepreneurial enough and you’ve got the time actually put all those pieces together and have complete control and all the royalties you’re your own book.

Interviewer:     Brilliant.

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Interviewer:     So a lot of people are self-publishing to kindle and not getting a physical copy of their book done.  Would you say that there is a benefit to having a hard copy version of it obviously if you’re a speaker it’s going to come in more handy but for general business is there a certain type of business that the hardback book would be better for?

Interviewee:     Definitely I think in every case even if you publish to kindle it’s actually not that much harder now to get the printed edition done as well.  We’re working with the founder of the “key person of influence” program Daniel Priestley and he calls it the third factor.  So if you’ve got a real book, if you’re dealing with other businesses and people that you might want to work with you can say right here’s my book thud.  Now have a look, see what how so it’s the best brochure, you try doing that with a Kindle and it becomes really awkward I’m going to send you an email and then you have to look at a file.  So I think a book as an artifact, as a piece of material that represents you and can be out there is a great thing and also having the, always link online now but it’s much easier to share a physical book than it is to share an e-book although if you say that in certain areas people with pirate books it’s much easier to share it if it’s an e-book.  No I would always say have a physical book.

Interviewer:     It’s a nice thing to get lumpy mail as well isn’t it?

Interviewee:     Yeah, it’s a proper event people see it as a physical thing.  I mean strangely when, before we started publishing we self-published a book that we used to sell for £67.00, it was an e-book only, because it was exclusive people would accept that price because that was the only way they could get it.  As soon as we went to print there is a known price for how many things, so people start looking at the pages then rather than how good the content is so you always want something that feels meaty and looks impressive to sort of hand over to potential clients.

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Interviewer:    If you are doing coaching or you have an expertise in something that gives you the knowledge to be able to write a book, obviously you want to be able to give good value to people that are reading the book but there is a worry there that you’re going to put all of your knowledge into this book and then where are you going to go from there?  Because obviously a book is a great way to up-sell.  How do you know how much to put in the book, how much to not, is there really a risk that you do that and then all you’re going to get is £9.00 for your book, you’re not going to get then paying people to come and do your things that you’re doing?

Interviewee:     Yeah that’s an interesting point and so we’re actually working on a program called books bring business cause I really do believe a book will bring business and one great thing it does for you obviously it’s a low price point product, it allows you to start that relationship with potentially new customers, people that read the book can say I can do all this myself were never going to be customers anyway.  People who then say wow I really like this stuff, I’ve read this stuff and you’ve got their attention for the length of the book I mean that’s a good few hours you can’t buy that kind of attention.

Interviewer:     One-to-one.

Interviewee:     Yeah, one-to-one in their own mind with your thoughts and your ideas so it give you a way to own your space so if you are, if you got a particular niche or an area you specialise in actually having a book sets you up in business as saying “I own this intellectual property, this is me” but actually the book is never you, it’s just a representative.  People that want to work with coaches or therapists or any kind of person where there is an interaction of people involved that realise these are just your ideas and it’s never going to be the same as having the full experience with your help and your one-to-one work so I would never worry about not publishing everything.  In fact, the book that I actually bought from sales called ‘The Wealthy Author’ and I shared absolutely everything and people then they could do everything themselves and that was the whole point but they actually then thought well if he’s giving all this away what does he know that he’s selling?  So you can raise fees, a book can help you raise fees so I would see that…

Interviewer:     Almost has the reverse effect?

Sophie:     Yeah and it’s an unpaid, it’s actually, it’s better than an unpaid salesperson for your business cause you actually get paid when you sell a book as well so does start a proper relationship based on people that have read your content, see themselves as your customer…

Interviewee:     And trust you. They build trust don’t they within that time?

Interviewer:     Absolutely, you’ve got bags of time to build trust and credibility and it’s not going to be for everyone so you’re always going to find people that say right now I’ve got their blueprint to success I’m just going to do it myself.  They were never going to be customers, the people that read that and go right now I know this is the right person you’ll find you have much better relationship with them, you won’t be spending all your time trying to justify your credentials, that would be pretty insolvent on your business.

Interviewee:     Yeah absolutely, the best sort of customer.

Interviewer:     Absolutely.