Brand Control for the Smaller Business
How Much Value is in a Brand?
There has been a considerable amount of comment and debate on brand control for the smaller business.
Putting a financial value to a brand is often only done at the time of a merger or an acquisition because the treatment of “goodwill” has implications for all parties.
Building up the value of a brand is often a strategic priority for larger companies. But what about SME’s?
It can take many years of careful investment and management and it can be destroyed in one flippant remark or situation for a larger company.
The smaller company depends almost entirely on visual identity – and this needs tight control and amanagement.
How to protect your Brand?
Large companies usually invest fortunes in developing, maintaining or enhancing their brand image.
They will usually do whatever is necessary to protect their investment.
Communications specialists and agencies are hired to manage the process.
In some cases, the brand is regarded as the most valuable aspect of a business.
Even though accountants prefer a more conservative approach to valuation and recommend that any value does not appear on a balance sheet.
Smaller companies require the same control – which is better in the hands of a single co-ordinator.
Is Brand Control for the Smaller Business necessary?
Without the resources available to larger companies how should they approach creating, managing and protecting their brand?
Building up a brand can be an expensive process for any small business or sole trader.
The benefits are often only intangible and can rarely be quantified.
However, research amongst consumers’ shows that purchasing decisions are frequently influenced by a strong and effective corporate identity.
There are many examples of how small businesses have used their brand as a key part of their marketing strategy.
Even London plumbers can turn up in uniform driving smart new vehicles with personalised number plates!
First impressions are always crucial in any business.
The value of first impressions should not be underestimated where there is often little else to differentiate between competitors.
If a sole trader or small company is clever they can easily project the image of a larger company with far greater resources.
Printing as part of Brand Control for the Smaller Business
High quality printed stationery is an essential ingredient for brand control.
Having fantastic quality business cards can make a big difference to marketing success.
Documents used in all areas of the business should look professional and communicate effectively.
Quotations handwritten on a plain piece of paper can raise doubts in the minds of the customer.
Good graphic design can also be applied to other parts of the business viewed by customers and potential customers.
The most obvious are the staff appearance, vehicles, signage and the web site.
Do not confuse branding with a logo!
A logo often gets confused as the brand.
A logo is a chance for instant recognition and differentiation.
But a logo is just part of the overall visual identity.
It is difficult and expensive to change logos and so it is important to get it right, first time.
Even minor modifications to a logo can carry very substantial financial consequences.
Creativity and style in design are important but the really difficult part is the co-ordination and control during the implementation.
Printing and visual identity can often involve a large number of suppliers – all with their own specialisms and artwork requirements.
It is rare to engage a single supplier for the production of signage, stationery, promotional pens, exhibition stands and training manuals.
All involve different print processes and equipment from screen printing, offset printing, large format printing and digital printing.
Many a client has been disappointed after receiving printed material that looked great on the computer screen but looked different when printed.
Brand Control for the Smaller Business involves all your Visual Identity
So if corporate identity is a vital part of business communication, how easy is it for the smaller business to control?
How does the logo look when printed in RGB or CMYK or are most people even aware of the difference?
There are many factors that can cause problems with visual identity.
This is usually the function of a good graphic design agency but the costs can be comparatively high.
This type of service is tailored more towards medium or larger sized companies.
Very few small companies or sole traders have the budget to employ any form of agency.
And yet, whatever the size of business, it is essential to control this valuable business asset.
Brand Control for the Smaller Business
Direct2Print offers a unique form of brand control for the smaller business.
Graphic design at Direct2Print is an in-house service and is seen as a route to obtaining more print volume.
This is designed to help smaller businesses manage their corporate image and visual identity.
Typography, colours, quality, marketing collateral, signage, work-wear, promotional goods – the list is endless.
How Much does Brand Control for the Smaller Business Cost?
The basic starting cost of the Direct2Print Brand Control service would be £260.
The client completes a fairly comprehensive brief and provides any preferences for colours or styles.
The total cost depends upon the amount of work required.
It is always a fixed price based on an estimate of the amount of time required for the completed project and supply of the Brand Manual.
A typical assignment is to create a CD/Manual for all the artwork a small business within the £260 budget target.
The Steps for Brand Control for the Smaller Business
Creating a simple digital logo is the first step.
For as little as £60 the client can get a new logo or a modification or an update of an existing design.
Experienced graphic designers prepare a choice of 3 visuals for consideration and possible adaptation and amendment.
These proofs are provided in hard copy format and digital format.
There is world of difference in how certain colours work together in a digital or in a printed format.
The client then has the option to have this applied to any number of important files or documents for safe storage and easy application.
The next step is to apply the logo consistently to all the applications required for the visual identity of the business.
A CD and manual are prepared with artwork for all types of digital marketing files – indexed for easy reference to allow for fast and easy editing as and when required.
The files contain all important marketing materials and documents.
It can be used to store and archive professional looking tenders, contracts, presentations, stationery, uniforms, web design images and much, much more.
The optional third step is to set up the benchmark pricelists for a wide range of visual identity products.
The Benefits of Brand Control for the Smaller Business
Clients find improvements in administration and efficiency and control over one of the most valuable asset’s any business might have.
It also saves very valuable time having all the artwork in an easily accessible form.
So, there are fewer problems searching for files.
Useful if you wish to switch suppliers, or if your files become corrupted or you upgrade computers.
This is the type of investment that can be really worthwhile.
This gives control over the quality process whether supplying artwork for a business card, web site, leaflet, uniform, vehicle livery, letter or email.
The investment may be difficult to find on a balance sheet but should help to create more sales and strengthen the service offering.
It will make the business and save you the one commodity that is invaluable – your own time.
For more information on Brand Control for the Smaller Business check out the following articles –