Like all advisors, marketers can be notorious with the jargon of their specialisation. Two common terms often talked about and used interchangeably are ‘brand’ and ‘logo’. Both of these terms are important to professional advice and services businesses, and very valuable competitive advantages when understood and implemented correctly.
A logo defined simply, is the visual identity of the business. We see these everyday on both products and services – everything from transportation, food packets, retail stores and even on our businesses. Your logo is important for two reasons. Firstly, logos help new and existing clients find and recognise your service. Secondly, when implemented correctly, they can provide a perception of value to new and existing clients. How many of the men reading like the logo on their polo shirts? And how many ladies reading enjoy the logo on their handbags? The logos or symbols people associate with themselves with, say a lot about them – who they are, what they aspire to be and in sum what they value.
So how much should a logo cost to design?
A logo design could cost tens of thousands of dollars if you use a large advertising agency. Today though there are much cheaper options, www.99designs.com.au for example might set you back only $250.
So why is it then, can’t we pay our $250 to put our newly created logo on a piece of clothing, or indeed on our professional service business and be a roaring success?
This is where the brand comes in.
The brand though is a much bigger concept than a mere logo. It encompasses everything about what your clients think about you: who you are, what you do, what you stand for and even more importantly, why you do what you do. The important point to note here is that it’s what your clients think about you. The brand is held in the clients mind. So the challenge here is to create experiences and perceptions that are valued by your clients.
How do you create a strong brand?
- Commit to high quality – make sure your advice and service is robust and stands up over time. I would argue it doesn’t matter if you’re at the boutique end or the transaction end of the market place, clients paying for your advice and service want to be able to rely on it. Strong brands leave you feeling satisfied with the value delivered regardless of the price charged.
- Have a clear position in the marketplace – communicate what you stand for, without being ambiguous. This means your business needs a personality.
- Become known – the more awareness you have about your business, the stronger your brand is. Buyer behaviour shows the people by brands they know rather than one’s they’ve never heard of.
- Build loyalty – your referrals need to be earned not just expected. The more satisfied your clients are, the more likely they will be to refer their family and friends to you.
The thing that both brand and logo have in common is they require resources and time to develop. Like most things in life, what you put in to something will be a reflection of what you get out it. If you’re looking for some sound principles to get started building your professional advice and services brand, be sure to check out Service 7.