Paul Stonier

Small Town Hero or a Fish Too Big For Its Own Pond?



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In a small gathering of business owners and entrepreneurs that I was part of last week, I was especially intrigued in a part of our discussion. The owner of a company who understands the importance of professional design and branding, brought up that now that their newsletter looks professional, it no longer feels like they are a small town company. His fear is that his client-base of the small town is being turned away by the idea that the company is too big.

The small town customer comes to the small town company often because of the fact that they are a small town company. But what happens when the company doesn’t look like a small town company? Can it actually bad for a company’s brand to look professional? Even if the company provides a higher level of quality in service while remaining a small town company?

It seems to me that there are two ways to approach this conundrum. One way is to refocus the brand in a way to not necessarily pull back in quality, but shift the message providing a strong focus on the town and the people being affected. The other way would be to actually reach out and grow to a size that is accurately being represented.

But where did this correlation of size of a company and the level of professionalism in the design of a company’s materials come from? When did this happen? Did this actually come from larger company’s having the budget to pay a designer or a studio to create their materials rather than a neighbor’s daughter who has photoshop? I’m very interested in what your thoughts are.

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