3 Myths About Identity and Branding

My cousin can design my brand identity
There are some very significant areas of your business that should be
left to the professionals. First of all, while your cousin may have
been "great in art class," this does not mean that she has the
knowledge and expertise required to create great graphic designs.
Designing a logo, business card, or Web site is much different than
painting a picture or making a collage. You must make a brand logo
scalable, meaningful, and symbolic. Read more about the Top 10 Branding
Second, having a professional designer on your business marketing team
ensures that your projects will be a top priority. I have many
potential clients who start their designs with a friend or relative and
are then "put on the back burner," leaving their project to drag on for
months. After much frustration, they hire a professional and are amazed
at how quickly things are completed. Finally, would you trust a friend
to do something really important for your business? Would you ask her
to do something that requires unique skills, like making a client
presentation for you or giving a speech? Probably not, unless she is a
sales professional or a professional speaker. Would you trust a friend
who is "good with math" to do your corporate taxes? If you wouldn’t
trust an amateur with an important business function, then why would
you trust an amateur with your brand identity, the key to your
marketing success?

Designing a custom brand identity is too expensive
It’s true that having your marketing materials designed is an expensive
proposition. How Much Does a Brand Cost? But it may be even more
expensive if you do not have a high-quality, custom brand identity
professionally designed. There are many effects that will harm your
business, including the possibility that your clients will not respect
you or take you seriously, among others.
A strong brand identity quickly pays for itself. For most businesses,
if just two or three new clients call you over the course of your
lifespan because of the equity that your brand identity creates, your
logo and brand identity design package would be paid for. When you have
a top-notch brand identity, new customers will contact you because they
remember your logo, have held on to your business card, or are
impressed by your brochure. And it’s likely that many more clients than
the required few will contact you and your business will grow and
flourish from the (relatively) small initial investment in the brand
also that a brand identity is a sustainable expense. Once you have had
a timeless logo and set of marketing materials designed, you can use
them for years to come. And, once you have a strong logo, creating
consistent, targeted marketing pieces and programs is an easy addition
to your existing system.

I do not need a brand identity
If you are a professional in business, you need a brand identity. You
wouldn’t consider being in business without other important business
essentials — your own computer, perhaps, or a business name or bank
account. A brand identity is another of these basic business
essentials. It’s the central requirement for marketing and promoting
your business. There is nothing that looks less professional than not
having a professional brand identity. If you do not establish a clean,
high-quality, and consistent look and feel to your materials, you will
have a much more difficult time gaining the trust of potential clients
— and signing them on to use your services. All of the Fortune 500
companies have a logo, and for a good reason: it makes them look more
professional. If you want to be perceived as offering a high-caliber
service, you have to look polished and "put together."

Erin Ferree is a logo, print, and Web designer who has been making it
easy for small businesses to stand out and to be visible, credible, and
memorable for the past nine years.

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