Published in The Tennessean June 1, 2015
By Ed Rappuhn – SCORE Nashville
“Tennessee just spent $46,000 to create a logo. I need a new logo and brand name but can’t afford to spend that much and I don’t even like what the state got.”
Marketing and PR firms can produce great results. Expect to pay a minimum of around $1,500 for a logo and the same amount for a name; larger firms will charge more. The benefit of hiring a firm or experienced individual is that you will work with someone who gets to know you, your business, and your customers. They can then design names and logos that are unique and speak to what you are doing. Usually they will give you a handful of options to consider.
A less costly alternative is crowdsourcing websites. You submit a request and offer prize money to the winner. This is a web-based contest where individuals propose names or logos. Your total cost can be as low as a couple hundred dollars, but a higher value prize might elicit more and better ideas.
Think of crowdsourcing as a brainstorming exercise where anything goes. The suggestions are made by people who don’t understand your business the way a marketing firm would. So you will likely get a lot of ideas that don’t really fit your needs while hoping for a couple good concepts. If one of the submissions works, you have saved significant money. Depending on the site, you might need to pay something even if you do not use one of the suggestions.
After you have narrowed your options, test your customers’ perception of new brand names and logos. Be sure to check across cultural lines. What might be quite appealing to some could convey negative connotations to others. You are looking for something memorable, recognizable, professional, and contemporary. Think twice about trendy names that might be a big hit today but become dated in a year or two.
Make sure your logo will translate to your website, marketing materials and stationary. If you are producing a physical product, will the name or logo be easily incorporated onto the item?
Do careful trademark searches. Don’t spend time and money on a brand name and logo only to discover that someone else owns the rights. Once you complete your search, register the trademarks.
In the short term, your name and logo can help customers connect to your product or service. In the long run, your success will be based on the value you provide your customers. There is more to branding than a name and logo. The Apple name and logo don’t describe a computer or phone, but the brand has become synonymous with innovative technology. Start with a good name and logo, and then work on your brand.
Ed Rappuhn is a mentor, workshop facilitator, and the past-chair of SCORE Nashville. SCORE mentors guide entrepreneurs in starting and growing their businesses. Sign up for a free SCORE mentor, find out about our reasonably priced workshops and other services, or volunteer to become a SCORE member at www.scorenashville.org .