s a business person you have to balance budgets and account for every penny, there will always be the bottom line. You have the responsibility to your suppliers and employees, not to mention clients. Having said this, we are still going to come right out of the gate and cut to the chase here. When discussing branding and graphic design, it needs to be in the context of investment rather than just cost. Because how your company is viewed, is first and foremost through your visual communication efforts, and when done right, their value vastly outweighs your cost. Believe us when we say, your target audience are savvy at nothing if not noticing that you are putting forward authentic and consistent visual communication or not, and respond accordingly.
Basically put, If you don’t want your brand to come across as cheap, don’t cheap out.
And when using the word cheap, it’s not just referring to monetary investment, we are talking about the managerial resource, best practices, and time investment when it comes to respecting your own company brand and implementing visual communication that reflects that.
It comes down to the fact that your prospective customer will only respond well, to a brand that is appreciated, respected and nurtured by its owner. How do you expect a client to commit to your company or product enough to lay down cold hard cash, when it seems that you as the owner can’t be bothered to put the effort in. Suddenly there is a credibility gap, that will create an uneasiness in the mind’s eye of your prospective customer, and if a competitor has their visual communication shit together, boom they’re outa’ there. You just lost an opportunity.
When it comes to total investment cost, this will differ over a wide range depending on the project, the size of your company, and the scope of the brand initiative. For example, a boutique law firm will likely have more modest requirements and risks associated with implementation than say a large multinational fashion brand that requires application across many platforms, business sectors and markets. While the quality of the brand should not be any different for the law firm, the lack of complexity will make the financial investment less, while with the multinational brand it will be proportional to the extensive value involved with a wide-reaching program. In effect this means that the outgoings for investment in visual communication become proportional to the size of the company, making professional design, visual communication and branding, accessible to you as a small business owner when viewed in the context of investment in your companies future.
And this is where many startups, small business owners, and entrepreneurs come to a cropper. They don’t assess and include the initial investment of visual communication and branding, into their start-up costs or expenditures over the coming two, five and ten year, business plans.
Of course there are a number of reasons for this. You are either pre-occupied with the nuts and bolts of setting up or running your organization, visual communication and branding might not seem to be a priority, or you may feel that there are enough tools out there, how hard can it be, you’ll take a stab at it yourself.
Don’t be fooled, branding and visual communication play an important role in the success of your endeavours, whether you realize it or not.
Ask yourself this question and answer honestly. Would you feel confident just winging it and skipping the architect, when getting your house built? We suspect the answer is, ‘of course not’!
And why is that? Well, it’s probably because you would feel you don’t have the expertise, and want your house to protect it’s contents, and stand the test of time. So when looking to engage in branding and visual communication for something as important as your company, something which is often a culmination of your life’s work, don’t you want a professional to competently steer and protect your companies image?
“For us, it’s frustrating to see people with perfectly good business ideas, connections, and for the most part work ethic, hamstring their endeavours, with a lack of professional vision.”
This reminds me of a conversation I recently had with a friend (no names). This person came to me frustrated because the company they worked for, had them trying to muddle through setting up a website and identity graphic for the company, even though it was not in their line of expertise. Not even close. This person diligently went online and bought a stock ‘logo’ and tried their hand at a web template through an online supplier. Through no fault of their own, the results, predictably, were not up to snuff. The ‘logo’ had no connection to the company, and because it was not uniquely designed for the company, did not allude to their ethos, culture or even what the business was. The website looked generic, was technically bad, and the photos used had no attention to detail, presenting the principles in a highly unprofessional manner. Ironically, this company provided professional services at customary steep rates, and I’m sure the owners viewed themselves as being so. And yet their aversion to recognizing the professional value of other professional service providers for the likes of their branding, website, and visual communications, led them to cheap out, resulting, sadly, in them not presenting themselves, their company or their services in a professional light at all. So all in all a rather sad story.
For us, it’s always frustrating to see these types of scenarios needlessly play out, and watch people with perfectly good business ideas, connections, and for the most part work ethic, hamstring their endeavours, with a lack of professional vision.
What it comes down to, is that first impressions do matter. And they matter more than ever when it comes to how prospective clients are influenced when they first meet your company.
So do you want them to meet a company that displays the personality of a neglected teenager and huckster? Our guess is ‘no’. Regardless of your style, messaging, or market, we suspect you’re gonna’ want to have your company come across consistently as a leader in its field, run by knowledgeable engaged principles.
And the best part about getting serious about your visual communication and branding is that it frees you up to be doing the thing that you enjoy, the thing you should be doing, which is spending your time, expertise and resource running your business. And as well you know, time is money. As a business owner you already feel that there never seems to be enough hours in the day, so what are you doing trying to struggle through something that is only going to come off as half-assed, when you have access to professional guidance, that leaves you able to efficiently directing your time at what you do excel at. If you are not already, it is time for you to give your full attention to running your company and let a professional take care of making it look good.
The design professional will bring an understanding and experience, of targeting your demographic with communication that talks to your client base in their visual language.
So what do you get for your investment?
Well, of course, that will be as varied as there are different companies. Your company has it’s specific needs and objectives, and a professional designer will be able to provide a bespoke service that will help your organization fulfill its full potential. Broadly though. Some of what you should expect are:
1. Custom analysis, strategy, and guidance.
2. Reinforcement of your company’s integrity and credibility.
3. Experienced and steady hand on your brand and visual communication.
Custom analysis, strategy, and guidance.
While you may have certain ideas as to what you think you might like for your companies visual communication, a good graphic design professional will help you get to what it is that your company actually needs. They will direct you to see your challenges objectively, clearly identify your companies needs and work out a strategy that has the best chance of positive impact.
Reinforcement of your company’s integrity and credibility.
And through bespoke design services you should expect to gain ingenuity of personalized creative thinking, that is implemented across visual communication and branding efforts, with quality and consistency, re-enforcing your organization’s professional standing, and emphasizing it’s integrity and credibility.
Experienced and steady hand on your brand and visual communication.
The design professional will bring an understanding and experience of targeting your demographic with communication that talks to your client base in their visual language. They should have a neat and efficient process, that makes often what can seem a daunting prospect of setting up something as important as your companies brand, calm, stress-free, fun and exciting even. Your designer should be on hand, taking care of your companies visual communication challenges, so that you can reserve your precious time and energy to the business of running your company.
While much of what we have gone through here, may leave you feeling like it’s a bit of a creative minefield out there, we hope that we have provided some clear thinking about the benefits of taking your company seriously and investing in how it gets viewed. Put plainly if you want to be viewed in a professional light, you’ll need professional visual communication, and you’re not going to get that from ‘your mate’s cousin down the street’. As your Mum probably said, at least once. If in your gut, it seems too good to be true, in the long run, it probably is. Take the time to research professionals, meet them in person to get a sense of what’s on offer, what their approach is, and how your working relationship will likely play out over the course of the project, and you’ll do just fine.
This has been The Long and Short on ‘You Get What You Invest Creatively’. We hope you have found it to be at least a little informative. For more chat on graphic design topics in the future, be sure to check back in with us here, follow us on Facebook or Twitter and sign up for our newsletter.