The Lowdown on Logos
By Matt Mickiewicz
Your clients know you’re a conscientious, trained professional who provides important healing and stress relief, among many other benefits.
By Matt Mickiewicz
Your clients know you’re a conscientious, trained professional who provides important healing and stress relief, among many other benefits. All too often, though, stories about unlicensed, untrained masseurs and masseuses hit the news, doing more harm than good to the profession.
Through my experience, I’ve seen that the best way for a wellness professional like you to build his or her businesses is to meet this challenge head on. First, you need to make sure every potential customer understands the difference between your services and those of fly-by-night operators.
And second, you need to stand out from a sea of other legitimate massage therapy competitors.
In my opinion, one of the best ways for wellness professionals like you to excite and engage new and potential patients is to develop a solid brand on your business cards, websites or brochures. Your investment in good branding will pay off in trust, loyalty and returning clients, 10-fold.
What exactly is a brand?
A brand is far more than a pretty picture. It’s an experience and a promise – the experience clients can expect when they walk into your place of work, and the promise you will keep with every massage.
Unfortunately, many licensed massage therapists don’t take the trouble to develop a brand. They provide the marketplace with logos, business cards or websites which offer neither enlightenment about the unique value of a licensed massage therapist nor an “aha!” moment with respect to the difference between professional services and fly-by-night operations. In an increasingly competitive marketplace, this means wasted effort and lost clients.
Begin at the beginning
The best way to start developing your brand is to commission a logo, for use on your business card, website or brochure, that “shows” your target audience, in one simple image, your unique professional abilities. This image should accurately reflect your special offerings as a massage therapist – whether it is compassionate care, a great team or an area of specialization.
A great logo is a compelling “image” that communicates your business’s unique offering and provides an enduring symbol of your enterprise. It has a clear, consistent and uniform feel that helps customers recognize you. It also reassures your clients that you’re a legitimate healing professional who doesn’t do anything “on the cheap.”
With that creative process under your belt, you can manage the rest of your branding process within a tight budget.
Seven secret elements of a great logo
In dealing with designers from around the globe, I’ve seen literally thousands of logos and designs for small businesses. If you’re looking for a competitive advantage and maximum value from your marketing efforts, follow these seven secrets, and your next logo will help you win new clients and referrals.
- Ensure it’s easy to read. A good logo uses simple fonts, and leaves no possibility that a reader will confuse one letter with another. Two different typefaces can be interesting, but more can be distracting.
- You should be able to blow it up or shrink it down. Ask your designer to show you how your logo will look blown up on a sign and reduced on business cards. Check to make sure the font is always legible. Alternatively, step back a few feet from the monitor and see what jumps out. If you can’t recognize your logo when you shrink it down, ask your designer to eliminate all but essential elements.
- It should look good in black and white, to. Ask your designer to come up with a logo in black and white, then decide on the colours. If it doesn’t look good in black and white, it’s got design flaws – and colour won’t change them.
- Ensure it’s got the right colours. Ask your designer to use colours that capture your goals for your practice and evoke desirable emotions. Violets and blues, for instance, can have a calming, healing effect. Red can be stimulating and energizing. White can stand for purity and strength. Here again, simplicity is key. Three colours are the maximum. More are confusing.
- It should reproduce well against different-colour backgrounds. A good logo is versatile enough to print on coloured t-shirts, white business cards and the sign on your office door.
- Gather your own private focus group. Soliciting feedback from fellow wellness professionals, family and friends can provide invaluable insight. To avoid influencing their thoughts and feedback, show them many designs at once in a non-partisan manner.
- Leverage multiple designers. This is probably the most important suggestion of all. To find the best possible logo for your massage therapy business, compare logos from different designers. Each designer will bring his or her specific style, preferences and unique history to the table. And don’t get discouraged by the cost. There are sourcing websites you can use to encourage literally hundreds of designers to compete for your business, and ensure that your logo won’t blow your budget.
Deploy your logo to establish your brand
Once you’ve got a standout company logo, it’s time to put it to work. Your logo is the face of your business, and should appear front and centre on every marketing and communications vehicle you develop.
According to Google, 97 per cent of consumers search for local businesses online. So it’s a good idea to develop your own website. A fresh, contemporary logo, and a website that embraces that same look and feel on every page, tells people you’re a professional and let’s them know what you can do for them. It aligns all your communications with your brand.
If you can’t afford a website, you can still place your small business – and your logo – on Google Maps. Add your business to Google Places for Business (at www.google.com/placesforbusiness), and you get a public listing that helps potential clients find you.
One last word of advice
Branding isn’t a one-shot deal. If your business changes direction, or you begin working with new partners, or your studies and experience equip you with important new areas of knowledge, it may be time to consider refreshing your brand to address your new customers.
Matt Mickiewicz is cofounder of 99designs.ca, the world’s largest crowdsourcing contest marketplace for design professionals. The 99designs website has helped thousands of small businesses on tight budgets create essential branding elements such as logos, website designs, business cards and signage.