Our team consists of brand and brand management professionals, experts in marketing, social media and public relations. We have published 268 articles, 74 podcasts and 6 TV shows on a variety of business topics.
Here are some examples of the type of information we create to educate you about what you can do on your own and how we can help you. Our company President wrote all of these articles on logos, taglines, company names and public relations.
Your logo helps establish and build brand identity. It’s how customers recognize your business. Logos can be all typography or images, or a combination of both. According to Wikipedia, Benjamin Franklin was the first person to use logos, which were early symbols that announced such services as opticians, by displaying golden spectacles.
I doubt that you can create a decent logo on your own. You can spend tens of thousands of dollars on a high-end, professionally designed logo. Costs of logo design accelerate based on the designer’s qualifications.
What makes a good logo?
A good logo is simple in form yet distinctive in design. It is memorable, timeless, versatile, practical for its intended use and easily recognized. You better like your logo because it will be plastered on your business cards, stationery, products, packaging and vehicles and used in your advertising and promotional campaigns. It becomes synonymous with your brand.
Like the Nike swoosh, it may have nothing to do with your product or service. More than 90 percent of logos do not describe what a company does.
It shouldn’t be confined to a product or service that may become obsolete, such as a typewriter. It should be capable of being scaled, both horizontally and vertically. Logos should be capable of maintaining the same identity even as it morphs and changes. Think of the early Apple computer logo with it’s horizontal rainbow bars throughout the apple compared to the stylized one-color logo today. The apple shape and the stem are essentially the same.
In general, it’s counter-productive and expensive to frequently redesign your logo. After all, you have been establishing your branding in the minds of your customers for some time.
Will you select a single color or many? This decision can have a large impact on printing costs. One trick would be to use a single color and screen it into two or three lighter shades. You’ll get the effect of more than one color but you will only pay for one. It is widely suggested that your initial design be done in black and white before adding color. If you add color, you will want to know what the Pantone matching system color number is for future reference in printing. You can spiff up your business cards, for example, using full color, foil stamping or blind embossing.
The font you use is also important. Is it readable, from a distance, when small? What feeling does it convey?
A logo is for identification. Does it have a hidden or subliminal message such as the arrow in the FedEx logo? You know, the one pointing right that is formed by the space between the E and x?
Relevant design questions
What is your company known for? Do you have a company slogan? Who is your target audience or audiences? What industry are you in? What colors might relate to what your business does?
Which styles do you lean toward?
On a continuum, which attributes do you favor: classic or modern style; mature or youthful appearance; a feminine or masculine bent; playful or sophisticated; economical or luxurious; abstract or literal?
How memorable are these logos? Picture in your mind the logos for the following products and companies: McDonalds, Coca-Cola, Google, Disney, Facebook, CBS, CNN, IBM, Adidas, Under Armour, Master Card, Target, BMW, Amazon and Intel. I bet you got all 15.
Your company name
Your company name supercedes a logo for prominence in the recognition hierarchy, followed closely by a tagline. If you haven’t decided on a company name yet and you are about to launch a company, a new product or service, the following might be helpful to you.
Identify emotions you want to convey with your company name. Try not to be creative when spelling your company or product name and be sure it’s easy to pronounce from the spelling. Made-up names are great if they convey the essence of what your company or product does. Sometimes, they take on their own identity, such as with Kleenex tissues.
Does it translate to another language and does it have positive or negative connotations in that language? Look out for alternative meanings that may reflect badly on your company, product or service. Are you able to obtain it as a domain name for your website?
Google the name and see what comes up. Run a trademark search for the name you want to use. Look at Instagram and other social media for the name. All this care is necessary. Remember, people will judge you by your name alone.
Taglines are slogans that are part of a corporate identity package. They may be inspirational. You certainly want them to be memorable. They offer an opportunity to communicate a brand’s purpose and difference. An effective tagline will help to position your product or company in the mind of your customer.
The idea is to create a memorable dramatic phrase that will sum up the tone and premise of a product or to reinforce and strengthen the audience’s memory of one. Some taglines are successful enough to worm their way into popular culture. Some consulting companies specialize in creating taglines for brands or products. We do!
Taglines can have an enticing effect and are, therefore, an important aspect in the marketing of films and television programs. These benefits can easily be applied to other products and businesses. When conceived and created properly, an effective tagline reinforces your brand’s message and helps connect an idea with your audience.
Not having a tagline won’t sink your company. But why pass up the opportunity to communicate with the market?
Some taglines push customers to do more, be better, go further, while others may simply be a play on words. Taglines may be used in your marketing materials and advertising campaigns and are often a variant of your branding slogan. You want your tagline to create a memorable impression that reinforces and strengthens your audience’s memory of your product and your company.
Taglines are born in several creative ways: out of research, from things people say, or from attributes of your product or service. The more memorable and unique a tagline is, the more it will help your brand become known.
A trip down tagline lane --
Look at some of the following taglines that have become well-known parts of our American vocabulary over the decades.
When It Rains, It Pours – Morton Salt, 1912
Mmm Mmm Good – Campbell’s Soup, 1930s
Breakfast Of Champions – Wheaties, 1930s
A Diamond Is Forever – Debeers, 1948
You’re In Good Hands – Allstate, 1950s
It Takes A Licking And Keeps On Ticking – Timex, 1950s
Finger Lickin Good – Kfc, 1952
Good To The Last Drop – Maxwell House, 1955
We Try Harder – Avis, 1962
Please Don’t Squeeze The Charmin – Charmin, 1964
I Can’t Believe I Ate The Whole Thing – Alka Seltzer, 1966
It’s The Real Thing – Coca Cola, 1970
Have It Your Way – Burger King, 1973
The Uncola – 7up, 1973
Don’t Leave Home Without It – American Express, 1975
The Ultimate Driving Machine – Bmw, 1975
Be All You Can Be – The Us Army, 1981
Betcha Can’t Eat Just One – Lays, 1981
Where’s The Beef – Wendy’s, 1984
Just Do It – Nike, 1988
Think Different – Apple, 1990s
Got Milk? – California Milk Processor Board, 1993
Fair And Balanced – Fox News Channel, 1995
Tagline creation tips --
Keep it short and sweet. Think of your tagline as words on a billboard — the shorter the better. Three to five words work best, but never exceed nine words. “Just do it”
Appeal to the customer’s self-interests. “You’re in good hands with Allstate”
Make it exciting, not boring. “The best a man can get.”
Focus on the benefits to the customer. “Be all you can be.”
Be creative and authentic. “Think small.”
Don’t get too cute. Not every slogan needs a rhyme or a pun.
Don’t try to do too much. “The Uncola.”
Use a play on words or a double take if possible. “See what we mean.” (Canon)
Can you guess what companies are behind the following 10 taglines?
What happens here, stays here.
When it absolutely, positively, has to be there overnight.
The few, the proud, the _________.
The quicker picker-upper.
Every kiss begins with _________.
Snap, Crackle, Pop ___________.
Melts in your mouth, not in your hands.
There are some things that money can’t buy. For everything else there’s _________.
Can you hear me now?
That was easy.
A few final points. taglines are not only for large companies. The more undifferentiated a brand is, and the newer it is, the more it needs one. Think of a tagline as an auditory complement to your visual logo that exudes your professional brand. These two components add credence to your branding strategy and — hopefully — make it unforgettable.
But they don’t have to live forever. As your company evolves, a tagline is much easier to change than your entire corporate name and identity.
By now you may be thinkin, “I’m lovin it.”
What's the importance of your name? Practically everything.
While logos and taglines are major components, by far the most important factor in your business’ branding strategy is your company name. It is the heartbeat of your business. Naming your company is the first order of your business. It may help determine your success or failure. Until you select your company name, you are stalled in your tracks. A bad name choice can doom your business from the start.
How do you create a powerful, memorable company name or a brand name that will have a big impact on your business?
After you establish your name, you need consistent, recognizable brand messaging so that what you say and how you say it resonates in a memorable way with your target market.
First things first--
Regardless of what your business is or will be, you must understand your brand as part of the naming process. You must know who your competition is (or will be) and what its messaging says and how they are positioned in the marketplace.
Have a pizza party with your friends, family, business associates or anyone else you can invite. Sit around a table, and come up with as many names as you can. Have one person write them down clearly for all to see. Withhold judgment at this stage and generate name after name. Combine names, extract names. Create meaningless names, descriptive names, ridiculous names. Use synonyms, antonyms and alliteration.
You can’t have too many name choices during this stage.
After you have run the gamut on generating name choices, have everyone pick a few of their favorites. Have the group vote on the final choices by secret ballot, so one person is not influenced by the others. Discuss these selected choices and solicit comments on why these names are good, bad, ugly, appropriate or inappropriate as your business name.
Screen for trademarks, domain names and cultural acceptability.
Check options online
As a second step, search the remaining name choices you like with Google to see what’s out there that is similar. Review what companies may already be using those names. Depending on whether you plan to do business locally, statewide, regionally, nationally or internationally, this will make a big difference in your name threshold level of acceptance.
Use Godaddy.com to help you determine what website domain names are taken.
If you are selling products online, differentiated name selection becomes more critical. If you are selling internationally, then linguistics and translations become important factors to consider. You don’t want to sell your products in a country where the name has negative connotations in that language.
A couple of examples: Antonio’s Pizza in a small city doesn’t have to be concerned with the thousands of other Antonio’s Pizza’s out of his market area. These pizza locations in other cities where you do not plan to do business won’t affect your business, nor will you affect theirs.
The Dollar Shave Club, however, sells exclusively online and doesn’t want confusion with competitors having a similar business model and name. The Dollar Shave Club, by the way, implies in its name exactly what it does and even how much it charges. It’s a very good name.
Legal versus assumed names--
Your legal business name is the name you use for all official government documents, including filing taxes. This is the name you used to register your business. These names are filed through the secretary of state in your state or the clerk of the court in your county. Your assumed name is also known as a fictitious name, a doing-business-as name (dba) or trade name. This is the name that you will be using for operating and promoting your business. If not already taken, you could use Antonio’s Pizza LLC as your legal name and Antonio’s Pizza as your dba.
In summary, come up with many name choices, check for use and conflicts, select a great name and enjoy the pizza.
■ We announce the election of our new officers, our client of the year, workshops, our Success Strategies for Business Owners monthly MeetUp events, five years as Platinum and recently awarded Diamond status and being selected as a National Chapter of the Year.
■ We share information on new initiatives we’ve helped to create, such as an export program that connects companies with local college student interns who are interested in international trade. We also developed a program called Building Bridges for Entrepreneurs.
■ We promoted the creation of our podcast series, Been There, Done That! with Dennis Zink, which is now the official small business podcast series for National SCORE, which has over 300 offices and 11,000 mentors in the United States. The national website receives over 250,000 unique visitors per month.
We also spread the word about SCORE as we work closely with local chambers of commerce, municipalities and other nonprofits, lending expertise throughout the community by piggy-backing on synergistic relationships. We make speeches to chambers, banks and MeetUp groups throughout the year. We help entrepreneurs develop and hone their skills, such as creating an effective elevator pitch, and we’ve served as coaches in several quick-pitch contests each year with Spark Growth Innovation Center.
We helped develop and facilitate Manatee and Venice Chamber CEO Roundtables. We provide mentor panels to judge USF-Manatee MBA student projects, and we help hundreds of students at Manatee Technical College learn what it takes to start a business.
We write a small business column on all business topics to promote what we do. This column generates high-caliber leads, and it shares the expertise of our mentors and podcast guests.
What can a small business can do to improve their Public Relations efforts?
In a small business, you want to put out information about where your company has improved, changed or grown. You can also promote information on relevant training and certification or awards that the owner or employees have completed or earned, as well as any business milestones or significant accomplishments.
Often, small-business owners are so busy running and growing their businesses that they don’t stop to think about PR. The problem is that, when you have nobody paying attention to it, great PR opportunities can fall by the wayside.
A business that is too small to have a PR person on staff can hire an outside agency or a freelancer to work with them. A freelancer can be hired to provide on-going PR consultation and services, or they can be engaged to do a one-off news release when something happens that is newsworthy, to help get the business name out in the public eye.
There are many companies in our community that are doing wonderful things and their stories aren’t being told. News releases are usually the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about public relations.
A press release that is well written is more likely to be well received by the media and help the business achieve its publication or broadcast goals. There’s a basic format that should be followed to help ensure that all the information the media needs is included, including contact information for someone in the company that the media can contact for further information.
The first thing is to make sure that what you’re thinking about putting out there is truly newsworthy. The last thing you want to do is to send the media a bunch of things that they won’t be able to use. Moves or expansions of your business are good things for a news release, and so are milestones. Announcement of a price-reduction sales event would fall under advertising, not public relations.
Has your business just passed a 5th or 15th anniversary? Are your sales incrementally larger to an extent that would be seen as newsworthy? Who are your people and what are they doing? Do you have additions to staff? Have they received awards or certifications? Has someone been promoted recently? Those kinds of things can be sent out through a news release.
Partnerships, product-line additions; you’re a company that’s installing windows and all of a sudden you’ve been chosen to install a whole new line of windows — those kinds of things can be put in a news release. And information about events can be sent to the media to share with their readers or viewers, both pre-event and post-event.
A PR professional offers an outside perspective that can help you see things inside your business differently and help you become more aware of opportunities to share news of your changes and accomplishments. The pro brings into your business their knowledge of which media would be interested in sharing your news. And through “environmental scanning,” your PR person can keep an eye out for networking, marketing or promotional opportunities that could help you grow your business.
Keep in mind that it helps to share your business news, and don’t let PR opportunities slip away.
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