Tag Archives: image

Let Your Image Speak for You

Pung Foundation logo created for mid-Michigan based concrete construction and renovation service company.

Phones have been ringing, emails are flowing in, social media posts are crammed with new business start ups ready to make a difference. New entrepreneurs are emerging with products and services that can change the world – or at least their communities and bank books. Ahhh, the passion of entrepreneurs!

I love when new start ups come to Connection Group for a graphic design or marketing consultation. I know when they start here they are serious about their approach and their image. I get to see their eyes light up, hear their story, and feel their drive. New business start ups come to us with a lot of questions, hope and dreams and often very limited budgets. It is our job to understand their goals, their philosophy, their market, their budget, service or product, and provide guidance to them that will assist their business launch without breaking the bank.

McNaughton and Gunn logo

McNaughton and Gunn is a 50+ year old book printer headquartered in Michigan

One of the first recommendations I make to business owners is to start with a professional logo. So many software programs and websites out there have stock art that people can place on a business card, throw a phone number and website next to and convince themselves they are the next Apple or HP. Online printers spout 250 free business cards, free icons, free templates. What cash crunched start up can resist’, FREE graphic design, FREE business cards?

We have all been to a networking event where we come back to the office and have two or more identical design business cards or two cards with the same logo or clip art. image. The designs and logos are the same the only difference is the names on them – one is a massage therapist, one is a florist, and another is a dog groomer. One was a contractor who specialized in tile installation, the other does windows. Now which one was the it that I wanted to refer to my mother? None of them. Why? Because they are not unique, they do not stand out from the crowd and chances are that is the way they will run their business. These owners did not take their business or craft seriously enough to invest in their image  – they decided their business was only worth a free set of business cards.

Women In Successful Enterprises logo

Logo created for WISE, a Michigan based organization comprised of second stage women owned businesses.

So when I have a start up company call or email and say they understand the importance of presenting themselves professionally but don’t know where to start, my question is not, ‘What is your budget?’, my question is, “When can we set up a time to meet?” I love an entrepreneur, I am one, I know small businesses make a difference in their communities and can change the world. I want to help the good ones to succeed.

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Taking a Corporate Brand from Good to Great (1 of 4)

Connection Group visual branding samples

A sampling of visual branding components used to promote Connection Group.

A corporate brand isn’t just about your logo, website and Facebook fan page. Your brand is the source of a promise to your customer. It’s really all about making sure that everything you do as a company has a coordinated look and feel about it. Graphically, that means creating a logo, choosing a corporate color (or colors), a typeface, and often a photo or illustration style.

Content-wise, it means honing in on the key points of your marketing messages to clearly, concisely, and compellingly reach your target audience. Taking the steps to establish a consistent message and image will pay off with customer loyalty, vendor confidence and employee pride.

The following questions will help you define or evaluate your current brand.

1. What products and/or services do you offer?

2. What are the core values of your products and services? (fun, creative, honest, etc.)

3. What are the core values of your company?

4. What is the mission of your company?

(keep this short, succinct, and inspiring )

5. What does your company specialize in?

6. Who is your target market? (age, education, etc.)

7. Who do your products and services attract?

8. Try to use your answers to create a tagline.

(be succinct, memorable, descriptive)

In order to perfect the image and message of your brand you must do the research to determine your target audience and how you want to be seen by that audience. Upon review of your answers you will begin to see the character of your company. What qualities stand out? Is your company innovative, energetic, or classic? Which of these characteristics and qualities get the attention of your prospects? Review the answers and create a profile of your brand.

More to come:

Part 2- Create Your Visual Brand…

Part 3- Protect Your Brand…

Part 4- Monitor Your Brand…

Please contact Connie Sweet at Connection Group 517-645-4387 or info@connectiongraphics.com with re-print permission and questions.