So you got your best friend’s brother's granddaughter - who is in college studying to be a designer - to create your logo because it’s free.
You think, “Wow, this is a win-win! I need a logo for my business AND I’m helping this young lady out. Plus my best friend is so happy that I’m giving her brother’s granddaughter 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 isn’t a good deal 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, if you started with the logo...you never really put a lot of thought into what it actually means to your business in the first place.
The second reason this is not ideal 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 am not against getting something for free. Who is? But I want to highlight the difference between getting a logo designed (whether paying for it or not) and hiring an expert to assist you in branding your entire business.
A brand is more than just a logo
The sad reality is that many woo-woo entrepreneurs (and other 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 it to their website and abracadabra, they’re in business. Magic!
This misconception is reinforced by some 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.
But I hate to burst your bubble…your brand is more than just a logo.
A brand is your strategy, messaging, and visual identity. It’s also encompasses how you communicate and develop a relationship with your ideal clients and ultimately your tribe. It’s how you demonstrate that you can be trusted, that you are offering a valuable service, and that you follow through on your promise to deliver valuable services 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 business 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. (I share more reasons why you really need a brand here)
If you are just throwing a free or cheap logo up on a free or low-cost website platform 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 transformational businesses out there.
A designer is not necessarily a brand expert
Okay, so hopefully by now you get it. Don’t take your best friend Sue up on the offer to get a free logo designed by her great-niece Charlotte. 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 spectacular 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 glamorous 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 woo-woo business unique.
The brand process:
1. It starts with core values. What do you hold dear? Why are you offering these 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 the most to do? What’s your best seller? What creates the most transformation?
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?
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Amanda Johnson Young is an intuitive designer and brand guru sharing what she's learned about branding, business, mindset, manifesting, raising your energy frequency, goal setting and more!
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