Over the thirty years plus of my work in the marketing business, I have managed hundreds of new brands and start-ups. Recently we have created work for a first time non-fiction author and personal chef releasing her first DVD.
With both clients we were creating identity from little or no materials at all. One of our clients had been in business a long time but had never collected a full palate of professional photos. Much of what I am about to talk about will seem like the most base remarks but since I continue to run into these challenges every day, I am going to try to be ultra simple.
1. Logo. It is imperative to have a fundamental working logo. It is amazing to me how some of the companies we work with do not have a functional logo. In this day and time there is simply no excuse. The smart direction is to hire a marketing firm or design firm to make this happen. If money is a problem then there are numerous alternatives. One of the most popular is the new online design competitions and auctions. see example:
CrowdSpring is only one of hundreds of sites like this but they have recently created an excellent design for one of my close associates so I know their system works.
2. General Design. Many start-ups are forced to use quick print and in-house services to get their early printed messages out. This is fine. Budget dictates what we can and cannot do sometimes. Having said that, find a designer that will template some of your main letters, forms, proposals and Power Point presentations. Once you have some fundamental design in place, you will find it easier to create professional looking documents consistently. If you have to make a choice over design and printing…choose design. A little design goes a long way towards a professional document. Bad design can obscure even the best printing.
3. Pictures and images. With stock photography as prevalent as it is there is really no reason to have bad images attached to your designs. The problem comes when you need a photo of yourself or team mates or product. Every Tom Dick and Harry with a digital camera these days thinks they are a photographer. Spend some money on photos of key management, founders and important staff. A well planned professional photo session can save you thousands of hours of headaches when you go to produce your first web site, public relations or printed materials. There are many great photographers in the $1500-2500 per day range and most of them will negotiate based on time, trouble and current activity.
4. Video. We have a Canon HD Pro-sumer camera for video. With proper lighting, microphones and a green screen you can produce just about anything. But you can buy an HD Flip Camera for about $150. We recently conducted a workshop for a new professional development seminar and invited about 20 people. We shot video of the entire event. We came away with presentation examples, recorded comments on how to improve the content and some incredible testimonials. Don’t worry about owning the technology. You can hire this out as well. Guess what that video will be worth when we produce the web site?
5. Web site. Now take all of the components above and have some talented web folks (we are happy to apply) add some words and put all of it together.
This is not expensive and it is critical. Don’t think you can afford it? Call or email me and let’s see what we can do to help. If we are not a good fit for your start-up we know many people to recommend.