How to design a new logo

How to design the perfect logo

When it comes to logos, some companies are undisputed crown bearers.  This visual aspect of these logo heavyweights’ brand identity is universally recognised.  For example, think about Apple’s bitten apple or Wikipedia’s jigsaw-puzzle globe.

However, champions of the logo world don’t always use images in their logos.  Sometimes, it’s the typeface and colours alone that make logos so distinguishable.  For instance, consider Coca Cola’s easily identifiable red handwriting-font.

Of course, what these brand greats have in common is big marketing budgets.  With such ample funds, it’s possible to create iconic logos such as these.  But, we’re here to prove that, even with modest finances, you can still design a knock-out logo.

Here’s how…

Be unique
Forget the old saying “imitation is the best form of flattery”.  With logos, plagiarism is a definite no-no.  Be original and, once you have some logo artwork in mind, check it out online to be sure a similar form doesn’t already exist elsewhere.  You don’t want to land yourself in hot water after all your hard designing work.  You can check to see if your logo is already being used here.

The way to achieve true originality is to brainstorm what your brand means to you and other clerks or barristers in your set.  Your logo is, after all, your visual keystone and should reflect your chambers’ personality.  Researching your clients and prospects is another great way to see how you are currently positioned in the marketplace and what values you are perceived as having.  Often there is a huge difference of opinion between what the set believes and what the market believes.

Choose a fitting colour scheme
According to psychologists, every colour has a different, significant implication.  Orange suggests creativity, friendliness and youthfulness; black oozes credibility and powerfulness; white’s all about simplicity and purity; etc.

While it may be tempting to opt for bold colours which stand out from the crowd, this may actually be sending the wrong message about your brand.  Your colour scheme should support your messaging, not damage it.

Decide upon wordmark and / or symbol
As stated earlier, your logo may comprise a wordmark and / or symbol.  When deciding upon typefaces, avoid gimmicky fonts as these often quickly turn out of fashion and can be tricky to read.  Helvetica is a simple, well-used logo font.  Or, you could maybe use an off-the-shelf font as a starting point and tweak it to your tastes.  You must also consider the written version of your company name.  Too many designers produce complex fonts that aren't freely available.  The result is that chambers' employees will simply use the font that looks closest to the logo, causing a cacophony of typefaces, inconsistency and a huge waste of marketing money.

Your logo should work equally well on paper as well as on multiple digital devices for both off and online purposes.

Additionally, you should be able to use the logo in part or whole form (with the words and symbol or the symbol alone).  This gives you much greater flexibility for placement of the logo.  Sadly, too many companies have not thought of this and have been left with a cumbersome logo they are unable to use credibly.

Generate diverse logo formats and usage guidelines
Once you’ve arrived at your new logo design, produce it in multiple formats and file types including full colour, reverse (for use on dark or photographic backgrounds) and monochrome (grey and black, all-black and all-white) as gif, jpg and pdf images.

And, some usage guidelines wouldn’t go amiss either.  This will clearly define things such as colour palettes, minimum sizing, exclusion areas, shaping and backgrounds with examples throughout of both good and bad practice in collateral such as letterheads, compliments slips, business cards, tender documents, PowerPoint presentations and adverts.  These will ensure your logo’s applied correctly and consistently.

Register your logo and trademarks
You can register your trademark to protect your brand eg. the name of your product or service.  When you register your trademark, you’ll be able to: take legal action against anyone who uses your brand without your permission, including counterfeiters; put the ® symbol next to your brand - to show that it’s yours and warn others against using it; and sell and license your brand.

Learn more about registering logos and trademarks here.

Be patient
Your logo won’t become iconic overnight.  It’ll gain popularity slowly and build brand awareness gradually.  Launching your new-look logo should be supported by marketing activity.  Don’t be shy.  You’ve spent time and effort on your artwork so tell everyone about it.

Over the years, I’ve worked at a number of high-profile businesses who felt that in order to obtain the perfect logo they needed to spend a fortune.  I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve sat in logo design meetings with some of the UK’s biggest agencies only to be presented with re-hashed AT&T logos or logos dragged up from the early 1970s (the designers tend to be younger and therefore don’t realise that some of us dinosaurs were around when these logos were used first time round and, furthermore, we remember the disasters they were associated with!).  In fact, it became so difficult to find an agency that listened to what we, on the client side, needed that we bought an up-and-coming agency and put our faith in them.  Twenty years after that first meeting, that agency is now the graphic design element of Bar Marketing!

Hence, we’re able to offer a cost-effective logo design service that understands how the brand identity will be used in everyday life and how to represent your brand value.  To benefit from our extensive experience, complete our contact form for further details.

 

 

 

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The Ultimate LinkedIn Guide

Content: recycle and reuse

To set the scene, LinkedIn is used by both individuals and businesses to market ourselves and our companies. It’s always in professional mode because people hang out on LinkedIn to meet and learn from other professionals. Therefore, while it’s important to be friendly, act accordingly. Keep the more informal, chatty posts for other platforms.

You can create personal LinkedIn profiles and company pages. We’ll tackle each area in turn…

Personal LinkedIn profiles

It’s highly likely that plenty of your firm's partners and staff already have a LinkedIn presence. All of these play an important role in defining your firm’s online reputation. If they’re strong, consistent profiles, you’re on to a winner as you’re presenting yourselves as an expert, unified team. If this isn’t the case – whether it’s that very few of your staff are on LinkedIn or that the profiles which do exist are of varying quality – some gentle encouragement and guidelines distributed around your organisation wouldn’t go amiss.

Here’s what personal profiles should include:-

1. Photograph
Even on a professional level, people like dealing with people. Getting a good photo of yourself isn’t difficult with the plethora of Smartphones and other devices we use, all of which have high-tech camera technology embedded within them. Believe us, a photo makes all the difference.

2. Summary
The second most important part of your profile is your summary. Be authentic (false claims stand out a mile) and, as well as describing your sector experience and personality, also outline the benefits you offer clients and prospective clients of your firm.

3. Other profile areas
Populate the ‘Experience’, ‘Volunteer & causes’, ‘Skills’, ‘Education’, ‘Additional info’, ‘Organisations’ (membership bodies etc) and ‘Contact info’ sections. But be selective about the information you upload about yourself. If you’ve had lots of jobs, don’t list them all, especially not the more junior roles, and think about bundling some together under one heading. Make it easy for people to scan your profile and instantly understand your career history, qualifications and how to get in touch.

4. Connections
The more people you connect with, the better it is for business. Personalise your connection invitation message to encourage positive response. Don’t connect with anyone and everyone though. Select connections in your industry only. Once connected, treat your connections with respect. Don’t spam your database with marketing messages. They won’t thank you for it.

5. Recommendations
It’s readily acknowledged that recommendations are the best form of marketing there is, so this area’s pretty important too. The way to gather recommendations is to recommend others and hope that they’ll reciprocate. You’ll find that the majority will do so. It’s bad practice to request recommendations from all and sundry. Give something first and they’re likely to give something back in return.

6. Groups
This category falls under ‘Interests’. Find out which groups your peers are part of and ask to join. Thereafter, take part in the conversations. Again, don’t blast group members with marketing. You’ll annoy everyone and risk getting banned from the group for such poor etiquette. Instead, offer advice, comment on others’ posts and generally show your subject area knowledge. And, when confident enough, why not devise your own groups?

Company pages

Next, create a company page. You need a personal LinkedIn profile to do this. Go to ‘Interests’ and ‘Companies’ from the top toolbar then click ‘Create’ under the ‘Create a Company Page’ heading on the right hand side. Your company page should be a mini version of your website so that those interested in discovering more about your firm can from within LinkedIn. Here’s what to do:-

1. Tell the story of your firm
Choose the ‘Home’ tab from the top toolbar and ‘Edit’ to the right of the screen. Only designated administrators can perform this function. You want your followers to be able to read a high-level overview of your firm, its mission and areas of expertise.

Use your website’s ‘Home’ or ‘About us’ pages as a starting point. Bear in mind your keywords to boost search engine optimisation (SEO) performance. Don’t set up your page then let it lie stagnant. Keep it up to date.

Once you’re done editing your page, click on the ‘Publish’ button in the right hand corner (or ‘Cancel’ if you make a mistake).

2. Use images
With your overall firm’s branding your foremost consideration, select images to bring your company page to life. Your firm's logo will appear next to your name at the top of the page. Dimension requirements are 300 x 300 pixels. Your main image reflects your business. This should be 646 x 220 pixels and make it eye catching!

3. Add specialties
You’re allowed up to 20 of these but it doesn’t mean you must fill all 20 available spaces with generic terms. Again, for SEO reasons, list a handful of keyword-specific specialties. You’ll rank higher on Google and people will find your set more easily.

4. Create showcase pages
Every one of your LinkedIn followers isn’t interested in every one of your legal area specialisms. Taking the place of the old ‘Products / Services’ tab, showcase pages allow you to develop customised pages for various target audiences and ultimately develop niche communities around them. LinkedIn members can actually follow these without following your entire chambers. You can then tailor content to your heart’s content.

Click on the arrow next to the ‘Edit’ button located in the top right hand corner of your company page and select ‘Create a Showcase Page’ from the drop-down list presented. Thereafter, choose a page name, assign administrators, write a description, attach a representative image, select an industry, include a URL to a relevant landing page on your website and upload your logo. Click ‘Publish’ at the end to make your page live.

5. Post compelling content
Get into the habit of posting content regularly, be it blog posts, press releases, industry announcements, service developments or other updates. It’s about having conversations with your followers by providing valuable resources and nuggets of information which your audience needs and wants.

This doesn’t have to be freshly written content each time. Sharing articles posted by industry spokespeople is equally acceptable.

Post content through the ‘Share an update’ area on your company page. These posts will then appear on your home screen and your followers’ news feeds. Consider optimum time of day (mornings are generally preferred), length of post (keep it snappy with a link for more information) and imagery. Use photos always and videos where possible (more on this later).

6. Attract followers
Your content (step 5 above) will do much of the work for you but you also need to request that firm employees feature your organisation as their present employer, follow your company page and drum up more quality followers. This could be via LinkedIn’s InMail messaging system, their email signature, PowerPoint presentations and during face-to-face conversations.

Similarly, your Partners and fee earners can invite followers through your website, newsletters, white papers and other marketing collateral.

Not forgetting reciprocal exchanges. Follow others and they’ll follow you in return. Locate esteemed industry figures to follow. You might want to check out who they’re following too.

Maximising your firm's presence on LinkedIn won’t happen overnight. Persistence and patience are vital. After all, the best things in life come to those who wait!

 

 

 

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Content: recycle and reuse

Content: recycle and reuse

It’s readily acknowledged that the more content you produce, the more engagement you’ll drive. Maintaining a steady stream of content establishes your chambers as an authority in your specialist areas, solves problems for your audience and raises brand awareness.

But, none of us have a limitless list of ideas and endless time in which to write new content. So, recycle and reuse instead.

It isn’t cheating. In fact, it’s a good opportunity to put a fresh coat of paint on an old – but highly reliable – machine, and make sure new audiences see past content at more convenient times or places.

Here are some ideas of how to get started with recycling content:-

E-books and white papers
Larger content pieces such as these are robust enough to get you through a quarter before having to push out another one. If you’ve got a lengthy resource in this format, release it at the beginning of the quarter then use it to fuel the rest of your content strategy for those months.

Pull segments, paragraphs or sections and repurpose them into shorter blog posts or emails. All you’ll need is a new headline, introduction and conclusion plus perhaps a few minor text alterations. Link these shorter content pieces to your e-book or white paper as a call to action.

Blog posts and emails
As an opposite tactic to that suggested above, instead of distributing your e-book or white paper at the beginning of the quarter and using it to write shorter content, do the reverse. Use your shorter content to write your longer content, and release the lengthier piece at the end of the quarter.

Pick out the posts or emails related to the larger topic umbrella, connect together like a puzzle and revise accordingly so the content flows smoothly.

Another way to repurpose these shorter content pieces is to simply share them again. To re-share, include an “ICYMI” (“In Case You Missed It”) tag and create a new caption. This tells your current audience that they’re seeing something they have already read, and informs your new audience that this is an important piece of content that’s worth sharing again.

Social media
Social media platforms don’t let your entire audience see each one of your posts, not without paying for coverage anyway, so it’s in your best interests to recycle the content that you post. Again, re-post on a different day with an “ICYMI” in the title or caption.

A few words of parting advice:-

  1. Don’t post the same content twice on the same day.
  2. Don’t re-post to the same channel or page with the same caption.
  3. Don’t post on a business page and then re-share on Facebook from your personal page on the same day.
  4. Don’t forget to tweak the language for different platforms. 140 characters for Twitter, no hashtags on Facebook and LinkedIn etc.

Keep recycling to really see the fruits of your labours. 

 

 

 

 

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How to amplify your email click-through rates

How to amplify your email click-through rates

Click-through rates vary industry to industry, customer to prospect, opt-in to purchased database. An oft-quoted baseline is 15%. We receive more and more emails each day and have ever-diminishing time in which to read them.

A decision is made in only 2 seconds as to whether or not to open and read items in our inbox. That’s reliant on three attributes of your email – from address, subject line an preview header.

Here’s how you can make the most of them and get your emails noticed:-

1. From address
This is all about your chambers’ brand on an individual relationship level. Even if recipients know your chambers, however, they’re likely to ignore info@ email addresses. Emails from personal email addresses are far more likely to be opened.

2. Subject line
In short (6 words or less), you need to show recipients what’s in it for them if they read your email. The more relevant your title, the more opened your email will be. Including the words “you”, “your”, “how to” and numbers will all encourage the reader that the email is about and of use to them.

3. Preview header
Your preview gives a sneak peek into your email. From there, recipients can decide if they think what you’re offering is personal and meaningful. It’s essential that your first sentence is enticing, to the point and matches your subject line.

Play around with these key attributes and see your nurture stream increase to up to 15% click through. 

 

 

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Don’t just email, nurture!

How to schedule posts and monitor conversations

Not everything in life can be rushed. Some things take time. Your sales pipeline’s one of them. A long-term commitment to communication is what’s required. You need to nurture your database; not just send a constant barrage of emails in the blind hope that, if you submit enough of them, some messages will be the right one, reaching the right audience at the right time.

The term ‘lead nurturing’ is a relatively new phrase in marketing circles. Done properly, it can increase conversion rates and speed up the sales cycle. Music to your ears?

Because us marketers love our acronyms, here we demonstrate how to implement a nurture programme using the iMAPS structure:-

  • i is for iteration and testing. Get started with your next piece of content by producing different variations on the same theme and apply varying test methodologies such as day of the week, time of day, subject line, pre-header text, header height, images, colour scheme, links, testimonials… the list goes on! Track what works, what doesn’t and keep going onwards.
  • M is for marketing and sales alignment. As anyone with a marketing or sales role will know, the two departments go hand in hand. Invite your clerks into a meeting to agree the purposes and definitions of the stages of your sales process. With proper collaboration, you can establish a jointly defined lead nurturing plan.
  • A is for accelerators. These are, effectively, factors which strongly influence success. Listen, monitor and learn accordingly.
  • P is for personalised content. Despite all the major advances to marketing technology and overhauls in marketing theory, content is still king. Where possible, personalise for your audience as this is more likely to touch a chord. You may wish to consider a content calendar for this purpose.
  • S is for segmentation and scoring. Apply all the usual segmentation criteria such as geography, area specialism, role, vertical markets, sales cycle stage etc to set up your target group. Measure which are most receptive to your messages with some nifty analytics.

Our closing comment is this: nurture beyond just email because you can’t communicate with someone who’s unsubscribed. Multi-channel nurturing is the best approach.

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