Let’s be honest with each other, unless you possess the talent and skills of a professional designer, you’re short changing your brand. Just because you’ve made an impressive attempt at creating a flyer in MSWord, does not make it a sound design, in fact, it’s quite the opposite. And then there’s those who believe buying a copy of photoshop instantly make them a designer because it saved you money on the short term. Many believe this to be true and thereby have been creating their own business cards and attempting to manipulate photos to suit their advertising needs. However, the reality is you are costing your business a lot of money by refusing to ask for proper help.
Also, most (not all) small business in-house staff utilized for creative work are usually multi-tasked employees that don’t necessarily have the know-how to achieve your brand goals. Or your in-house person/staff may simply need assistance to boost them in the right direction and maintain consistency. In either case, hiring an outside source is helpful to your brand.
Ignoring the need for professional design may result in brand-damaging “creative” and it sets a precedent to your product or service you are trying to sell. How your marketing materials look are as important as the quality you put into your business as well. For example, those of you who remember what the yellow pages are, when you would skim the pages looking for a plumber, did you truly look at the jumbled ads or did the one with the funny cartoon that was cleanly laid out? Chances are the jumbled ad got your attention first, but it was too much text everywhere to make sense of it just to even find their phone number. Eye flow is a key factor when designing an ad, and how that info is relayed with brand consistency across all channels matters, otherwise you’re losing potential customers.
What is brand consistency? In simple terms it’s where logos, colors, styles and the message itself is the same or similar across all your advertising channels, through brochures, social media, emails, website, etc. People subconsciously pick up on these consistencies of your brand and it builds loyalty. When those parameters are broken, it confuses customers and ultimately cost you business.
Hiring a professional is not cheap, I get that, but the long term affects of setting your brand on the right track is crucial. Of course there are those who pretend to be “professional” online services which rope you in with low priced creative and sometimes you can get lucky with that, but more times than not you will get swindled. Always use local and regional professional creatives wherever possible. If you are truly stuck in a strict budget, most design services will find a solution that may work for you. There’s also the option of hiring amazing student work from your nearest art college. There are always young adults eager for experience and wanting to build-up their career portfolio, but you should pay them! Nothing is free, they earned it and remember that when they are happy too, they often became advocates for your brand as result and #socialmedia voices.