Your logo is a symbol representing your brand or organization, the brand’s face to the public. It comprises words, images, and colors. Your brand’s logo is vital to marketing success.
In addition to serving as the face of your brand, logos serve additional purposes, among are:
- Creating an identity that sparks instant recognition
- Differentiating your brand from its competitors
- Reflecting and reinforcing the brand positioning strategy (BPS)
- Infusing and linking the BPS in all marketing mix elements and tactics
- Linking product options under a single brand umbrella
- Garnering attention and aiding memorability
There has been a spate of logo changes recently. However, this is not an entirely new phenomenon. We make changes to our logos to:
- Update or modernize the brand’s identity
- Reflect changes in the BPS
- Accommodate new media vehicles—among others
Any changes we make to our brand’s logo should be evolutionary versus revolutionary, except in extreme situations. Revolutionary changes negate previous investments in the brand and, worse yet, may confuse customers.
Apple pivoted in 1977 to the apple with a bite taken from the right side. The symbol evolved by changing colors. One finds the Apple logo on all its devices (if not on the hardware, then the software). The common element is the apple with a bite taken out of it.
Nike offers a similar example. It has evolved over 50 years. Like Apple, its principal design element is recognized everywhere and no longer needs the brand’s name to accompany it. Both companies are bold, audacious, and ubiquitous.
We’d be willing to wager you can identify the brand this symbol represents.
Yes, you’ve guessed it correctly. McDonald’s! Preschool kids can identify the golden arches and what they represent. (Yippee, take me to McDonalds!)
Logo development should start with a clear understanding of what face you want for your brand. Everything about the logo design is important and should help communicate the meaning you intend for your brand.
Do you know why McDonald’s marketers chose the red and yellow colors? Well, neither did we until we came upon this explanation, which makes the intent clear:
“The color red is stimulating and is associated with being active. It also increases heart rate, which helps to jumpstart your appetite. The color yellow is associated with happiness and is the most visible color in daylight, so that’s why a McDonald’s logo is so easy to spot on a crowded road.”
We prefer that the symbol provide a solid link to the brand, not the product, and its positioning strategy. We also like the brand name to be part of the logo. Indeed, the colors need to assist in capturing attention and evoking emotion.
Here’s a recently revised logo symbol. Can you identify the brand it represents?
We couldn’t either until they added the name of the organization. Let’s look at the previous logo symbol for the organization.
You can probably now guess with a higher degree of success: US Rowing!
The new logo expresses a change in the organization’s values and mission. Like other new logos, it needs to be linked with the organization’s name as it appears to be a revolutionary change. It will also require education to help establish the meaning of the symbol. (Is it the bow of a boat cutting through the water, sending out its wake? Is it a crew team coming together to create the structure of a boat? What?)
Here’s our Brand Development Network International logo, one which we’ve used for years!
Our symbol is an Ionic column. It’s illustrated artistically with panache. Wouldn’t you agree? The symbol represents that we are classically trained, highly experienced marketers who infuse a high level of creativity and spirit into our work. The S-curve under the column communicates dynamism in helping clients raise and extend their growth well into the future.
The logotype and representation communicate bold, forward-thinking with a reach that extends to many categories, brands, and markets. Why the use of blue? It suggests intelligence, responsibility, truthfulness, and trustworthiness. Why else? It reflects my bias for blue from my service in the US Navy. Ha!
Many times you’ll find the logo in blue, without the background.
Many brands are adapting their logos to create a better digital fit for our digital age. They’re taking a “minimalist” approach. However, they appear, in our judgement to be losing their meaning and distinctiveness. We’re not recommending that they ignore digital but find ways not to compromise their intention and identity.
Your brand and organization logo are critical to your marketing success. It is probably even more important than your packaging as it has many more duties and a broader reach, which we’ve enumerated early in this article.
Here are some final thoughts for your consideration in getting the most out of the development of your brand’s and organization’s logo:
- Approach its development with clear intent in what you want it to communicate to target customers
- Ensure it reflects your BPS (i.e., make it stand for something!)
- Use it to link products under the umbrella brand, marketing mix elements, and tactics
- Make evolutionary versus revolutionary changes when updating or expanding it
- Take required legal action to protect it (copyrights, registration, and trademarks as appropriate)
- Add the brand name and consider adding key copy words (KCWs) to help establish its meaning
- Explore whether customers understand its meaning
Make your marketing matter (even) more! Common, yet critical, marketing errors can lead to a less than stellar, or even a disastrous, results. Read Richard Czerniawski’s most recent book, AVOIDING CRITICAL MARKETING ERRORS: How to Go from Dumb to Smart Marketing. You’ll discover many errors that contribute to sabotaging marketing success. Importantly, you’ll learn what it takes to avoid and fix them. Learn more here: http://bdn-intl.com/avoiding-critical-marketing-errors.
Peace and best wishes,
Richard Czerniawski and Mike Maloney