If you’re like many small business owners, you might be wondering just what a corporate identity package is. And if you already know what it is, you might be wondering why your small business would need one. After all, you’re just a small business, not one of those big corporations. What’s in it for you?
Just as the name implies, a corporate identity package identifies your company to potential clients, suppliers, and the public. It includes your business name, small business logo, your logotype (just a fancy way of saying how things are placed, which font you use, spacing, and other things like that) your motto or company slogan, and associated printed material– your business card, and letterhead, envelope, and forms.
When you started your small business, you might have dreamed of becoming more than just another small business. Maybe you even dreamed about becoming a big business sometime in the future. And even if you’re a completely practical entrepreneur and didn’t have those dreams, you need to attract customers in order to keep your small business open. A corporate identity package can help you do that.
Write a couple of big corporations, ask a question, and request a business card. They’ll send your answer on their letterhead, in their company envelopes, and include a company business card. If you take a moment or two to look at big corporation’s identity packages, you’ll soon notice a few important things in common.
Their corporate identity package looks professional. What makes a big corporation look professional? I think one key is simplicity. Generally, a large corporation has a simple symbol or even just graphically represents their name as their logo. Take the Coca-cola logo for example. Or Toyota. Or Cameco Corporation. They’re all very simple.
When you look at their corporate identity package, you see quality. They use only high-quality printing services and paper. Sure, that’s going to cost a little more, but it’ll be worth it in the end because it’s an integral representation of your small business image. You could print your corporate identity package yourself using your home printer, lightweight paper, and business card templates, but how is that going to look? Will that produce the professional image you’re after?
Their logotype is consistent. Big businesses use exactly the same color for their logo and their background every time. They use consistent fonts. Their slogan, for example, would consistently be in Times New Roman, never a different font, or even a similar font, but exactly the same font, and always in the same proportion to the logo. Spacing is consistent. Spacing between letters and between lines is also always exactly the same proportion. Their secret is designing in vector form so their logo can be enlarged or reduced without changing proportion.
Their corporate identity package matches exactly. Their letterhead, envelopes, business cards all match. And if you ordered something from them, the invoice and the statement you’d get at the end of the month would match too. Perfectly.
Here’s another reason to take a little time to look at big corporations’ identity packages: you can use what they do to create an identity for your own small business. What they do works, and they do big business, so if you want to do big business too, why reinvent the wheel? Copy what they’ve done. No, I don’t mean you should copy another company’s logo. Just copy the way they’ve done things. Take their ideas and use them.
You probably don’t have the luxury of spending the amount of dollars a big corporation does on their identity. In fact, they sometimes spend millions on their corporate identity. So how do you get a professional look at a small business price?
You can do it yourself or you can hire a design professional to do it for you, sometimes at minimal cost, or even free. Here’s one idea. You can sometimes find good student graphic designers who’ll design your logo for you in exchange for allowing them to put it in their portfolio. In any case, if they do charge you a fee, it will be a lot less than what a professional graphic designer would charge. Besides, it’ll feel good to be helping a poor student.
So, why should you have a small business identity package? What’s in it for you? If you do it right; if you have a corporate identity package that looks professional, is of high quality, has a consistent logotype, and matches perfectly, you’re going to look just like the big guys even if you’re the smallest business in town.
And if you look like the big guys, you just might have a chance to play with the big guys. And what if, just what if, your corporate identity package helped you, even just a little, to realize the dream you had of someday owning a big business when you started your small business?