Google, McDonalds, BMW, Nike, Starbucks……when you see these company brands, you know instantly who they are.  It took many years and millions of dollars for these companies to be household names.  Luckily for local small businesses, you don’t need the 7 billion people from nearly 200 countries in the world to know your brand in order to be successful.  Most local businesses simply need local (town, city, or even state-wide) people to be aware of their brand. 

A brand is many things, but what I am going to concentrate on is Logo Branding.  Having a company logo is the most important step to being recognized easily.  Whether your logo is a symbol (like Apple uses an apple with a bite out of it) or your company name (like IBM is simply the letters made with blue stripes), it needs to show strength and creativity and represent who you are as a company.

Logos can be simple or complex.  Compare Nike’s simple swoosh or Starbucks’ detailed mermaid inside a green circle with wording. 

According to Survey Monkey, there are 3 tests that your logo must pass in order to be an effective logo:

Brand fit:  What does your brand stand for?  If your brand’s attributes are reliable, trustworthy and friendly you’ll want to make sure your logo communicates these attributes, too.  A logo is one of many elements that express your brand.  By testing different logos, you’ll find out which design reinforces – rather than contradicts! – what your marketing and sales team is trying to communicate.

Legibility:  Your logo design may be beautiful, but do people understand it? If it features text, can they actually read it?  Explore different fonts, colors and designs to optimize comprehension.

Appeal:  People may be able to read your logo, but do they like it too?  What people like is subjective and they often can’t articulate why they like something…they just feel good about it.  Go back to your brand attributes and decide whether an emotional connection to your logo is important for success.

Once you’ve got your branding logo, the next step is to introduce it to as many locals as you can.  ALWAYS use your logo on ALL of your advertising.  This includes: on your building, business cards, bottom of your emails, all social marketing, etc.  

Put your logo on your store door mat, front of the store window, on the bags for customer purchases, on a window sticker on your car.  (Common sense:  If you advertise on your car, don’t drive like an idiot.)  If you blog, always include your logo. 

Social Marketing is a fantastic way to easily teach people to recognize your branding logo.  Use it as your profile photo on all social media.  This works easiest if it’s fairly square.  People need to see your logo every time you post on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.  If it’s not your profile photo, insert it on every post you send out.  They also need to see it in the yellow pages, when they drive by your store, when you advertise in the newspaper.  It should be on banners and flyers when you sponsor an event.  (People are lazy….they don’t want to read.  If there is a list of sponsoring companies, they won’t read it.  But if there is a row of logos, people naturally look at them.)