What Makes a Good Logo

Business.com
What Makes a Good Logo
Sun, 03 Feb 2019 06:00:00 -0800

Business owners want to create memorable organizations. Consistently residing in the minds of consumers helps separate the best companies from their peers. There are numerous ways your business can create a memorable brand, and generating a stellar company logo is an important step in the branding process.

It's easy to understand the value of a logo. Think about taking a long car trip: You and your friends are searching for a spot to stop and eat. You're tired, hungry and craving a hamburger. After miles of open road and few dining options, you find the iconic McDonald's golden arches. For many, just seeing the McDonald's logo evokes feelings of happiness and excitement.

The same goes for sports fans and their relationship with Nike. When sports junkies walk into a mall and see the Nike swoosh, they don't just think about athletic wear, they see the logo and immediately conjure up images of the world's best athletes competing with the Nike logo on their chest, sleeve or shoes. The value of a logo, especially as your business gains a strong reputation in a community, can be massive.

Building a good logo isn't as easy, though. For a new business, designing a logo that captures your brand essence can be a daunting task. What is it that makes a good logo? According to the branding experts we spoke with, the following traits are essential to creating a good logo:

Simplicity Versatility Authenticity

There are several factors that make Nike's logo more memorable and iconic than other brands, but focusing on the three elements above gives your business a starting point in the logo development process. It's important to note that a logo doesn't make up for subpar products, services or customer support. You can't sell subpar shoes and make up for it with an exceptional logo. Nike's products please customers. It's the phenomenal branding combined with suitable products that separates Nike from competitors. 

Simplicity

It might sound counterintuitive, but a memorable logo is a simple logo. There are varying degrees to logo simplicity, but the logo must be readable and easy to understand. The McDonald's arches and Nike swoosh are easy on the eyes, while the more complicated logo for the 2012 London Olympics drew intense backlash for doing too much.

"A great logo doesn't make one think very hard when it's looked at," said Lisa McKenna, senior brand strategist at Arrow North. "It can't be art one sits in front of and ponders its meaning. If you have to, then it's not working."

"Initially, people aren't likely to give your logo much more than a passing glance, so they won't have the time to memorize the intricacies of complex designs," said Steve Pritchard, digital marketing consultant at Anglo Liners. "A simple logo that instantly stands out and catches their attention is more likely to sit in their memory than one with a lot of detail."

If you're paying a design firm or spending time designing a new logo yourself, it can be easy to want to go overboard. It's best to avoid that temptation and keep your logo simple. Nike's logo is simple, but conveys motion and represents the wing of Nike, the Greek goddess of victory. Your business's logo doesn't need to be complicated to share an important meaning. Less can be more.

Versatility

This trait ties in with simplicity. A simple logo is easier to use on different marketing materials than a complex and intricate design. Apple, McDonald's and Nike all feature simple logos that look just as good on giant signs as they do on pens. Putting a detailed and wordy design on a banner might work fine, but what happens when you move to smaller marketing materials like stickers?

It's also worth considering the different mediums of advertisement you might use. Will your logo translate well from your website to a magazine? What about from a postage stamp to a full-page ad in a newspaper? If your logo only looks good in a few specific use cases, you have a problem.

You want to have your logo in your local community and spread across a growing base of loyal customers. By getting your logo in front of people, you can create a buzz about your business.

"Once you get your logo, make sure you use it like crazy," said Chelsey Derks, owner of Stella del Nord Public Relations. "Have it across all your platforms and marketing materials, because that's how people start associating it with you and creating a sense of trust when they see it." 

If your logo isn't versatile, it becomes increasingly difficult to get the logo in front of people. Logos that lack versatility are significantly worse than those that can be used in different forms. Make sure your business doesn't lose out on brand exposure by creating a logo that's overly complicated and lacks versatility.

Authenticity

"A good logo is simple, memorable, versatile and easily recognizable, but most importantly, a good logo supports your brand identity and who you are as a company," Derks said. 

This doesn't mean your logo needs to contain your products. Jaguar doesn't sell live jaguars. Using an image of a jaguar does match the brand's name and exudes a sense of elegance and speed that Jaguar wants people to feel when they drive its cars. FedEx doesn't sell colored letters, but the use of white space in its simplistic logo creates an arrow, which emphasizes the company's action of transporting goods for customers.

"People can gather what your company is about from a logo," said Shane Hebzynski, owner of 3 Cats Labs. "If it's an easy-to-recall logo and you've developed enough goodwill, your logo will be specifically looked for."

If your business sells upscale clothing, use a color scheme and design that exemplifies elegance. If you're a fast-food chain, use something that represents the core concept of your business. Burger King includes a hamburger in its logo to emphasize its specialty, while In-N-Out Burger uses a zig-zag symbol to create motion and accentuate the "fast" in fast food. These businesses have built their reputations over many years, and their logos help boost that reputation by staying true to who they are.

"It all comes back to your logo connecting to your brand," Derks said. "People have loyalties to certain products and companies, and that little logo is sometimes the only thing that separates them from the competition." 

The bottom line

There isn't a one-size-fits-all approach to designing a logo, but there are a few key elements that define the best logos. To create a good logo, focus on simplicity, versatility and authenticity. If you can check those three boxes, you're well on your way to creating a dynamic logo. The value of a logo is clear, and small businesses and startups need to make sure they prioritize the importance of creating a good logo.

"Think of your business 10, 20 years from now," McKenna said. "Will the logo still be something you're proud of and people easily recognize? If you're a new business, take the time now to put a great mark out there. Don't go out of the gates with a TBD logo; it's likely you'll get used to it."

5 Ways Email Automation Can Elevate Your Customer Support
Sun, 03 Feb 2019 06:00:00 -0800

Customer support can often be a forgotten part of the sales cycle. However, it is critical to the long-term success of a company. With the increasing reliance on electronic communications, email automation is a must for companies – large and small – that want to keep their customers happy.

Leveraging email automation strategically can improve customer support while also streamlining communication with customers and reducing customer support demands. It is a win/win for both the customer and the business.

Editor's note: Looking for the right email marketing service for your business? Fill out the below questionnaire to have our vendor partners contact you about your needs.

 
What Exactly Is Email Automation and How Does It Help?

Email automation is a broad term that refers to any program, application, add-on, or system that leverages technology to improve the sending, retrieving, and storage of emails.

Email automation also uses the power of analytics to help companies pinpoint and fine-tune their marketing efforts. By looking at how prospects and customers react to emails – do they read them and actually click on the links within them? – companies can improve their electronic communications.

Contrary to what the term “automated” implies, automation of email marketing and communications does not mean that emails become cold and robotic. In practice (and when done properly), email automation should result in a more personalized experience for the customer.

The customer should feel that the emails they receive are relevant and interesting, instead of impersonal, cookie-cutter communications that don’t speak to their needs or interests. Email automation can help with all of this.

5 Email Automation Tips to Enhance Customer Support

Fortunately, applying email automation to customer emails is easier than ever. Here are some tips on how to best use email automation technologies to make your customers happier:

1. Personalize Outgoing Emails Automatically

One of the most basic forms of email automation can be as simple as leveraging mail merge. Using data from Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software such as Salesforce, you can automatically embed name and company information into an email.

But the possibilities of personalization go beyond just including a name in an email. You can also use information from the CRM to record information about what product features a potential client might be interested in. You could then use that information to start an automatic email flow that incorporates specific information about that feature in a series of personalized email missives.

2. Provide Consistency with Email Templates

When responding to support requests, support staff could potentially waste a lot of time and energy writing unique emails for each issue. Instead, use pre-written email templates to ensure every customer gets the same support answers. These email templates can also be customized for individual recipients, to add that personalized touch.

3. Gather Feedback with Embedded Polls and Surveys

Find out what your customers really think by embedding a poll or a survey into an email. Rather than outbound net promoter links, in-email polls can be a great way for customers to provide feedback.  In email surveys are a convenient and easy for your customers to share their experience and enables your business to collect voluntarily provided data to improve your product and your customer service.

4. Schedule Emails to Send Later

Having the ability to schedule emails to send later can be a huge benefit to salespeople, staff, and business owners. Let’s say you have a small business with a remote workforce that may work from home at various times of the day. However, you want to give the impression of a professional company with regular hours.

Scheduling emails to send later can help with this. Your employee, who may prefer to work at 10 pm at night, can follow up on emails and have them scheduled to send out first thing in the morning.

Scheduling can be used for a lot of different applications as well. For example, you might schedule a follow-up email with a customer set for two weeks after your last response to them.

5. Integrate with Other Systems

As already mentioned, integration with a CRM such as Salesforce can make your email communications that much more powerful.

Email can also be integrated with other platforms and SaaS offerings, from Google Calendar to Dropbox, from Twitter to Github. Connect emails with tweets or include attachments from your preferred cloud storage provider. All of this makes email faster and more convenient – making your responses to customers timelier.

Leverage Email Automation to Improve Your Customer Support

Make your customers happier by applying the best practices of email automation to your next online marketing campaign or customer follow-up time. By using technology improvements such as automated personalization, email templates, embedded polls and surveys, and more, you can engage and entice your existing customer base. They will appreciate your business more, and you will save time and money in the process.

 

 

Your 2019 Checklist: How to Start the Year Off On the Right Foot
Sun, 03 Feb 2019 10:00:00 -0800

Just like we set personal New Year’s resolutions, you should also set resolutions for your business at the beginning of the new year. You should be thinking about these resolutions strategically and thoughtfully, but real progress isn't just about the resolutions and goals. It’s about the follow-up -- the action plan that turns those resolutions into results.

If certain things didn't go your way last year, then now is the time to pivot. Stepping into the new year on the right foot is critical to determining how your business will perform this year. Here are four things you can do to kick off 2019 while keeping your resolutions in mind.

Evaluate Your Business Type

At the beginning of every year, it’s important to take a hard look at your business and decide if it’s time to adjust your entity type. Evaluating your current business entity type and whether it is in need of adjustment is essential for starting your year on the right note.

Let’s say that you originally formed your business as a Limited Liability Company (LLC), and now since you have scaled so much you're considering shifting it to an S Corporation. Is that the best move? What are the benefits and potential downfalls? Perhaps an unfortunate legal or tax issue arose last year, and your business wasn't as protected as you thought it should be (or needed it to be). Now is the time to ensure your business entity type is still serving the business well. 

Review Your Finances

With tax time quickly approaching and new calendar year budgets being formed, it’s the perfect time to dive deep into the numbers and review your business finances. Conduct your typical profit loss analysis to see where the business is netting out. Are you close to hitting your goal? What is driving you over? If you're not close, where are you being dragged down?

Work with your finance and accounting teams or financial consultant to get a true understanding of your budgets and overall spending. From there, you can better allocate funds for certain line items and budgets for this year.

Add or Reduce Your Headcount

After you pore over every penny of those finances, it makes sense to decide where you can cut, reallocate or spend some of your dollars. One area where you may want to allocate additional funds (or make cuts) is your employee overhead budget. Take a look at the results each employee is producing, the type of projects in your pipeline and what your employees are relaying about their workload.

Adding headcount will set you up for success if that is what your business and your employees are demanding. By the same token, reducing headcount can save you valuable dollars if you deem they are better spent elsewhere (or if you find the business is simply overstaffed).

Set Big Goals

What do you want for your business this year? What type of return on investment are you hoping to achieve? Do you want a larger office space or more remote workers? Do you need to reduce wasteful spending? How about hosting webinars or launching a new product? Really dig deep and decide what your business could benefit from.

However, don’t wait until the very end of this year to evaluate those goals. You should be tracking your progress often — quarterly or even monthly. Tracking the progress of those goals frequently will help ensure you meet them, since you'll still have plenty of time, opportunity, and insight to pivot your strategy and execution when needed.  

 

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