Your letterhead, your trucks, your crew apparel, and your jobsite signs. Your website, your invoices, your find-a-contractor listing, and (of course) your business cards.
The roll call of items on which your company logo appears could go on for pages, so it seems almost impossible that a business of any size may have no logo at all. But according to Endurance International Group, a cloud platform solutions firm, 15% of very small businesses are in just that situation.
Endurance recently surveyed 491 very small businesses (defined as having five employees or fewer), and says the results showed companies of this size may be "struggling to design impactful logos given their limited budgets." Of those companies that did have logos, about two-thirds designed the logo themselves. A quarter of respondents (26%) said that they are very likely or somewhat likely to change their logo during the next six months.
So what does it take for a small business to develop the right logo? Michael Kesselman, executive vice president of innovation and strategy at Endurance says that a simple logo is best. "Small-business owners should choose a design that has staying power, but it's important to be open to small iterations over time. Brands may need to refresh their logo as the company evolves, expands, and takes on new audiences—just don't lose sight of what makes your brand recognizable, whether it's a signature color or a graphical element."
Remodelers Robert Criner, of Criner Remodeling, and Mason Hearn, of HomeMasons, have both shared their stories of re-branding with REMODELING. Criner's experience came in 2011 after 33 years in business, at which point he said, "we should have done this a long time ago."
Hearn's rebranding effort came in 2005, two years after he bought out his partner. While the old company name was just a listing of the partners' last names, Hearn told REMODELING he "wanted the new name to have more of a graphic identity.”
Both business owners took measured steps to ensure their new logos and brand identities made sense in their markets and. Echoing the advice from Kesselman, Criner said he wanted to choose a logo that would "stand the test of time."
Branding on a Budget
If the idea of re-branding your business makes you see dollar signs, you're not alone. In 2011, Criner says he set aside $10,000 for his company's efforts. In 2012 Mike DiFabion Jr. told REMODELING that he doubled DiFabion Remodeling's marketing budget a few years ago when the company was investing in a new brand identity and better visibility.
But don't let the price tag cause you to back down from a new logo or improved Web presence. "We believe every business should be able to affordably and easily create a branded presence," Kesselman says. "In the past, companies might have though they had to spend a lot on branding and logo design, which meant that they would have been hesitant to rebrand or even refresh their brand. Our tools help deliver professional logos and graphics at any budget."
Endurance offers a tool called Mojo Marketplace, which offers themes, plug-ins, professional services, and a variety of logos and graphics aimed at getting brand-building features in small-business owners' hands. The service can manage everything from logos to business cards.
Other services like LogoMyWay.com also make it easy and inexpensive to solicit the services of a graphic designer to create the right logo for your company. Matt McGowan, owner of McGowan Building Co., told REMODELING about his experience with LogoMyWay.com, where he received hundreds of logo options to choose from, after posting a "prize" amount of just $300.
Communicate Your New Image
McGowan says he crowd-sourced feedback on his favorite logo designs from friends, family, and co-workers. Similarly, lumber and materials dealer Builders, in Kearney, Neb., took customer feedback into account before re-branding its business in 2006.
"The logo is absolutely vital," Scott Casper told REMODELING's sister publication PROSALES. Builders was formerly Builders Warehouse, but PROSALES learned that company surveys inspired the name change. "[We] found that a vast majority of customers referred to us simply as 'Builders,'" Casper said, adding that the "warehouse" terminology had "a bad connotation." The logo change, shown at left, retained the typeface and graphic design style of the original, so the revision was subtle and easily accepted by customers.
Endurance agrees that getting your audience involved in the re-branding process is helpful, and advises taking steps to make a smooth transition. "Engage them in the process by asking their input and even judging potential designs," the firm suggests. Then, "communicate the change to avoid confusion. Ensure a seamless user experience by communicating the change with employees and updating marketing materials. The refresh should be consistent at every touch-point for customers."