TL; DR: A strong brand is essential for startups and small businesses, and Looka offers a guided online tool for developing logos and related assets. The platform is more cost-effective than retaining a graphic designer and allows site builders to quickly get up and running. Entrepreneurs can also access the assets for modification or redownload at any time. And Looka’s new Brand Kit offers a full suite of self-service branding tools for social media, stationery, and other marketing purposes.
High-end branding often comes with a high-end price tag. So four years ago, Dawson Whitfield and his team launched an online branding service to simplify the process. The company eventually became Looka.
“A company logo could take a designer one or two months and cost $3,000 to $5,000,” said Dawson, who also serves as Looka CEO. “I felt that clients would benefit from a tool that gets the best of a designer, but they also get some control over the final product.”
Looka specializes in logos, with a recent expansion into related brand assets, including social media banners and business card designs. Its typical customers are startup businesses and site builders eager to craft a strong brand message.
“A lot of our customers understand the need for strong marketing, and they like having consistent branding,” Dawson said. “You want your company to look good. I’ve found that with a lot of our customers, that pride of having a good-looking brand is key.”
Although Looka saw a small dip in business at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, things rebounded as more businesses searched for options to grow their revenue during worldwide quarantines. Several long- and short-term business types have flourished during the pandemic, providing an opening for entrepreneurs to enter new markets.
Even established companies find value in either updating their branding or pivoting to support a line of business that responds directly to the pandemic.
Those priority shifts require a communication plan that depends on robust marketing assets. Looka helps entrepreneurs navigate the branding process and emerge with a marketable identity.
Effective Brand Identity Differentiates Businesses and Builds Loyalty
Branding is a crucial component of a company’s marketing plan. Solid branding — including a logo, a tagline, consistent color schemes, and consistent typography — offers a uniform look-and-feel for consumers while distinguishing a company from its competitors. For most entrepreneurs, the branding journey begins with a company logo.
“Once you make your logo, we grab industry photos,” Dawson said. “So if you’re a bakery, we get bakery photos. We get your colors, your logo, we choose a font combination for you based on your industry and what styles you like.”
Most brands hail from either design bureaus or freelance designers. Those packages rely on the artistry of the designer. The process is often costly, requiring significant back-and-forth and additional fees for revision rounds. Agency work can run as high as $10,000 for a complete brand guide; even a standard logo from a professional freelancer can run into the thousands of dollars. With that option, entrepreneurs select from a limited set of designs.
Despite the importance of a having a consistent brand identity, many small businesses haven’t thought hard enough about how their brand appears to potential customers. Small, established brick-and-mortar businesses may feature a marquee sign with a different visual design from the logo frosted into the glass on the front door or the side of the delivery van.
Looka’s services bypass the cost and complexity of working with a designer or an agency. Using Looka, entrepreneurs develop a brand package on a self-service model, with Looka hosting all of the assets to provide site builders with easy access.
“We create something for entrepreneurs where they don’t have to do any thinking, they don’t have to design anything, they can just plug in the inputs,” Dawson said. “They can view hundreds or thousands of options without having to send emails back-and-forth with a designer.”
Transforming Brand Development into an Online Service
The Looka Brand Kit uses questions about entrepreneur preferences to narrow down a potential logo design. When users access the site, they enter a company name. The interactive design tool then requests the industry and displays a handful of sample logos. An entrepreneur can select five or more, pick a primary color, add a tagline, select logo symbols, and review the AI-generated designs.
Once users find one they like, they can access the customization tools to fine-tune its layout, palette, background, and related attributes.
Looka offers two service tiers — one with a logo and another with a full package of auto-generated marketing materials, including social media banners, business card designs, email signatures, letterheads, invoices, and flyers, among other options for site builders. The larger Brand Kit package offers significantly more marketing assets than a logo alone.
“We found a lot of our customers, after they got a logo, that was just step one of their branding journey,” Dawson said. “We thought it would be cool if we could stay with them for that branding journey and help them get things like social media posts, business cards, email signatures, and the whole array of branding or marketing assets.”
All materials remain available on the Looka platform for quick access during the site-building process. If clients tweak an element of their brand later, they can still download the originals again. And if business owners stop subscribing to Looka services, they retain ownership of their files and designs.
Looka prioritizes customer feedback, including analytics around the generated assets users prefer in its Brand Kit package.
“We get on the phone with our customers a lot, but we also look at what our customers are doing, which assets they’re downloading the most,” Dawson said. “For example, business cards or social media posts. We look at how they use the product and make adjustments.”
Looka: Helping Entrepreneurs Take Pride in Their Presentation
Most experts think that the business world will not revert to the old normal when the COVID-19 pandemic ends, but rather reflect new ways of doing business. Entrepreneurs always seek new opportunities, and for many, a cloud-first approach makes the most sense in an increasingly virtual market.
Looka’s AI service offers high-quality brand-design solutions for site builders at a lower cost and with less friction than those offered by agency and freelancer options.
The Brand Kit service is more than just an online logo generator; it offers a full suite of professional marketing tools aligned to a company’s brand identity. When a company grows or tweaks its brand, the Brand Kit’s assets update automatically, making Looka’s hosted content useful over the long run.
“Understanding how we can stay around and keep delivering value for customers has been a big focus,” Dawson said. “Being with them on day one is a really good spot to be in.”
Brand Kit released in October 2020 and continues to evolve in light of customer use and feedback.
“We’re still improving on it,” he said. As entrepreneurs find new use cases, Looka will integrate them into Brand Kit. The new content becomes available to everyone quickly because it’s a subscription service.
Dawson said he believes that entrepreneurs take pride in their Looka brand identity.
“We grew pretty quickly since the rebranding, and we rebranded because we’ve evolved with the market and tried to differentiate ourselves more,” he noted.
And Looka allows any other businesses to do the same.
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