Turf Magazine - December, 2013

FEATURES

6 Tips for Building a Great Logo

By Lori DeRoche

Have you noticed that large corporations in many different industries are reinventing their logos and tag lines? I recently saw a post online that showed the change in some of the top businesses across the globe from the beginning to now (http://bit.ly/19lnqSA). One common similarity is how the logos went from much detail to very little detail.

Some of the lettering is even much different than it was with the original logo. You may have heard that changing your logo can affect how customers and potential customers recognize your brand, negatively affecting your company. This is not always true though.

Our fast-paced, competitive landscape industry forces us to think about ways that the buying public can recognize us easily, quickly and in a positive light. Every day we need to be thinking about and implementing new ways to stand out from the competition. Here are some tips to simplify your logos and taglines to stand out and be remembered in your market.

1. Have a distinctive logo.

Is your logo so easy to read and so recognizable that when people see it they immediately connect it with your brand and the services that you provide? I understand not all small businesses can start off with a professional logo, but pick a font that is a bit different or that stands out to your customers. Ask family and friends for advice and seek out college students studying to become graphic artists. You may get a quality logo at a fraction of the cost. There are also some great "do-it-yourself" programs, like Logo Design Studio Pro from Summitsoft.

2. Make your logo easy to recognize.

Whether you want your logo to just be a specific font or an actual icon, make it easy to recognize. People will get lost if they cannot read the writing of the logo. It may look cool to you, but if your customers cannot make out the name, you may lose some future business. Your font may stand out, but you don't want it to stand out so much that the name of your company gets lost. Recently, companies like Google and eBay have changed their logos to make them easier to recognize.

3. Choose a distinctive color.

Choosing a color for your logo or company name will also help you be distinctive. The whole theme of your website, truck wraps and stationary can help incorporate this to build your brand. Home Depot has a specific orange and McDonalds has a specific yellow. Their logos have changed over the years but the colors they use to identify their brands have not.

4. Think about how your logo will look once printed or embroidered.

Many times printing companies require artwork to be at least 300 dpi and in vector format for best printing capabilities. Detailed logos will not look good if embroidered and many companies will not do the embroidery with detailed logos. The number of colors in your logo will also make a difference. Having more than four colors can increase the price for embroidery and some screen print projects. These small details are sometimes overlooked, but could make a big difference in what types of promotional products you are able to print: T-shirts, polos, pens, safety vests, etc.

5. Don't be cheap.

Yes, you can probably go on the Internet and find a logo. But, do you really want something that other people can use or adapt as easily? Remember, your logo symbolizes your company and is the identifier for your unique brand. Your logo has to go with your brand and, like your brand, must promise a positive, easily recognizable benefit in the eyes of your customers. Get professional help in developing your logo.

6. Keep it simple.

Yes, a complicated and intricate design might grab more attention, but it may by unnecessarily confusing. Its message won't always be immediately clear to customers and especially to prospects. In terms of logo design, less is often more when it comes to attracting positive attention to your brand. Consider the use of white space to make your logo really stand out and for it to deliver its message at a glance.

Building a logo can help build your brand and make consumers aware of your company and what you stand for. Do not miss out on building your brand awareness and do not forget to change the logo over time with the changing economy. Take a look at some of the most popular logos to get inspiration, invest in a designer or program that will help you design your logo, and place your logo everywhere and make it consistent to help build your brand.

Your company looks a lot more professional and distinctive if you have an appealing, eye-catching and easily recognizable logo attached to your brand. The best logos are recognizable at a glance.

Pumpkin Pies Deliver the Message

A pumpkin pie is an unlikely place to find a company logo. That is unless you're in Springfield, Ill., the Monday before Thanksgiving. That's when people stream into the offices of Jack Robertson Lawn Care to pick up free pumpkin pies. It's not likely you will forget where you got them.

Every year company founder and owner Jack Robertson and his team make sure that the Monday before Thanksgiving is a special day. They host a popular radio personality who does a live broadcast from their offices, and they have enough pumpkin pies to give away to anyone who visits their company.

This year Robertson and his team handed out 245 pies. It doesn't matter whether or not you are a customer; you get a pie anyway. This year visitors got an extra treat, seasonal cookies in the shape of turkeys. One of Robertson's customers baked the cookies specifically for the Thanksgiving promotion.

"It's great seeing so many people in our office that morning," says Robertson, who has been providing professional lawn care services to the Springfield market since 1977. "Previously, we might only get a person or two to visit our office that particular day."

He says the promotion grows from year to year. Next year he says he will be ordering 500 pumpkin pies. So, if you're in Springfield that particular morning make a note of it now.

But logos, like brands, require periodic freshening and should be updated when either your company or market conditions change. Take a cue from some of the most recognizable brands in the world and keep up with the times when it comes to keeping your logo top of mind with prospects and customers in your market or markets.

Lori DeRoche is co-founder with her father, James, of Tandem Landscape Services, Phoenix, Ariz. Contact her at lorid@tandemls.com.