What’s your brand worth? Consultancy Millward Brown estimates that your brand represents about 30% of the value of your business. Yet a lot of MSPs started small, chose their name without too much thought, and left it at that. If you haven’t invested much in branding, and don’t have a graphic designer on staff, you’re not alone. But as leading MSPs start to scale their businesses, aspects of professionalization like branding become increasingly important. Don’t worry if you’re not a seasoned marketing pro – branding doesn’t have to be some sort of strange voodoo. But if you want to grow beyond the ‘word of mouth’ stage, you’ll want to know a thing or two about branding. So let’s talk about how to develop a brand that builds your business.
1. Start with your message and build from there
Before you hire a designer for your logo, let’s make sure you know what you need to say about yourself first. The best tip I have heard is to imagine the brand as a person. The classic “I’m a Mac” commercials were a literal personification of the brand. Mac came off as the cool, young, easy going option. Clear, concise and perfect for their target market.
Think about what your strengths are, and make them your message. These are the personality elements your brand will represent.
2. Think of your target market
Who is your market and how do you need them to see you? You need to connect your company to the idea of success, and there are multiple ways to go about this. Branding and logos resonate differently depending on culture, age, and pay-scale.
Depending on your target market, you need to show them the attributes that they care about most. You can display this visually through color psychology, thought association, and style.
3. Keep it simple
There are times when a complex design enhances your brand. However, it is often taken too far. It’s best to start simpler, with imagery that’s easy to understand within 3 seconds. Your clients want to see that you care about your business, and are seen as professional. You can still be eye-catching without pulling out all the stops. Until you’re ready to consult with an agency or a freelancer, I recommend sticking to a simple wordmark and logo.
That being said, do your best to make sure your design is unique. It is all too easy to accidentally copy something. Do a quick image search in Google to make sure you’re in the clear.
4. Hire a designer
This may be a given, but the best results come from professionals paid fairly. There’s no real substitute for an experienced professional. But there are other options if you’re on a budget or want to test a bunch of options out.
Many people use contest sites for choosing the right logo for them. Usually you provide direction and examples, and several designers compete to win your business. I can recommend 99designs.com as a great substitute to finding a freelancer. You may need to adjust the design in the future to get the exact logo you need, but it’s a good starting point.
If on a tighter budget, some turn to fiverr for a quick and simple logo. While this is a more wallet friendly approach, results vary, so do look into a more finished logo as soon as you can afford. Your clients will appreciate the effort.
5. Keep growing your design!
If you don’t have the full branding done for your company (which can include your fonts used, imagery used for marketing, and then all your print material) you can keep growing your brand! Many designers are up for the task, and it’s a much easier task with your colors and logo already chosen.
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