Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
Your neglect for, or care of, the branding and design of your business may well be the difference between the life and death of your company.
To some, these are difficult things to quantify. The return on an investment in graphic design or branding consultation isn’t crystal clear… so let me break it down for you.
The reason some CEOs don’t view design with the same importance as say, sales or legal staff is because design is viewed simply as decoration. A way to “pretty up” a presentation. It’s thought of as ornamentation, a luxury, or nonessential. Thinking about design as purely aesthetic ignores it’s basic value, which is to bring organization and logic to information.
Design is visual communication and problem solving. It delivers clarity, impact and appropriateness to a product, service, or message. It communicates as it’s primary function and secondarily concerns itself with beauty.
Perception is Reality, So Make a Good Impression
The visuals that represent your company can either explicitly or subconsciously affect how customers and prospects view your business. You may have solid business practices, good people and great support. But if your website doesn’t inspire confidence, those things might not matter.
An ugly or amateurish logo tells your customers you aren’t detail oriented. If your tag line or descriptor is unclear, you may lose business to your competition who more accurately explains their value proposition.
Conversely, a strong visual branding system or marketing campaign can make a smaller company appear to be larger or more powerful.
Companies that brand well and invest in great design see tangible results.
In 2013, Interbrand, a global branding firm, rated the best brands. The list is filled with well-designed companies who used great design, branding and marketing campaigns to help solidify their standing in customers minds:
- Apple (#1)
I won’t spend time where plenty of time has been spent. Apple brings supremely well-thought-out graphic/industrial design and branding which has, for several years, helped them to outsell their competition and capture mindshare of customers.
- Google (#2)
We live in an age where everyone has an opinion about design. It’s both a great and maddening time to be employed as a graphic designer. Google may not have the most beautiful logo, but they have an appropriately playful logo. More importantly, Google does a superb job of branding their products.When a company gets large enough to have several divisions, products, or related entities branding becomes a more difficult task. How do you give an entity a unique look while remaining part of the larger brand family? Examples of Google’s largely successful entity branding include: Google Glass, Google+, and Google Fiber.HP (#15)
In recent years, the brand has undergone significant changes in both visual identity and tagline—from “Invent” to “Let’s Do Amazing,” to the current “Make It Matter.” Their newest tagline punctuates recent power moves such as a partnerships with Google and a rumored re-entry into the smartphone market.
Now you’re probably thinking to yourself that your company doesn’t exist in the same universe as these giants. You’re saying you simply don’t have the luxury of spending on high-quality design.
My response to you is that design is essential. You must consider the cost associated with design and marketing as crucial to the health and longevity of your company.
A 2009 study from Ad-ology, “Advertising’s Impact in a Soft Economy” says that:
Nearly half (48%) of U.S. adults believe that a lack of advertising during a recessions means that business is probably experiencing difficulties and struggling.
In the specialized IT industry, the last thing consumers want to do is invest in a company that may not be around to support the lifespan of their product.
Here is a list of areas where SMBs can focus and see a large return in different areas of their business:
- Business card
In all likelihood, your most public piece of physical collateral. The design, choice of stock and general feel of your business cards reveals a lot about your business. Did you do something clever and high-end or did you skimp and go the boring route?
Without a doubt, your most public digital marketing piece. A well-designed and usable website may be the difference between making or losing a sale, depending on your business model. But let’s be honest–in 2014, if online isn’t part of your business model, you’re likely not doing so hot.
- Office space
Strange one, right? Not so much. A well-designed office space has a duality of benefits. First off, it gives your current team an environment for success. Create a place your employees enjoy spending time. Make sure they have the tools, resources and spaces they need to be successful. Secondly, a great office space is a wonderful recruitment tool.
- Marketing collateral
This one goes hand-in-hand with your business card and extends to both printed and digital materials. Sharply designed and clear business communications give the impression of a laser-focused company. Pro tip: you want to give that impression.
Today, our channel is benefiting from an injection of innovative start up companies who are bootstrapping big ideas with small teams.
If your company could use a hand creating high-quality marketing materials, developing a lead-generation campaign or optimizing your website for sales VARCOM can help.
VARCOM is BlueStar’s VAR Marketing Program. Give us a chance to walk you through some of our successes with past and current partners. We understand the importance of standing out for the right reasons and can help you articulate your value.