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What Your Logo Can Do For You

mirasee-logoYou know that you’re unique and that you have specific value to offer. But if you’re expecting prospects to wait around and be convinced, then you’re missing a lot of opportunities.

You need to catch their eye, stand out and be remembered. And, considering the pace of the world we live in, the sooner you get their attention, the better.

If you’re not using a visual language to speak to your audience, then you’re ignoring a huge opportunity to capture their attention without saying a word. Even worse, a lack of a deliberate visual identity is already saying a lot about you. The only problem is, you’re not in control of the message that is being sent.

Given that humans are a visual species, it’s no wonder that large brands have strict brand guidelines. They plaster their logo on everything available to them and protect it with a fierce legal team. Companies like Coke, Tiffany’s and Cadbury have gone so far as to copyright colours, making sure that no one else is co-opting the power of their brand through association.

So why all the fuss? Why is your logo so important?

What can a business logo do for you?

Like any part of a visual brand identity, a logo is a way to build a relationship with your audience. Once your business has moved past the meet-and-handshake stage, it’s easy to become anonymous. All of the hard work, the solid reputation, the personality of your business becomes more difficult to hold onto and to communicate.

A logo is a tool to translate your company’s values to your audience, and to build stronger (or even new) relationships.

How?

A Logo Makes You Memorable

At its most basic, a logo differentiates you from your competition and makes your more memorable. If you read or hear a name you might remember it. Add an image and you are more likely to remember it. It’s a basic mnemonic device, and it’s the basic job of your logo.

Hundreds of years ago, a logo simply indicated who had made the product. That custom developed into where we are today, when a logo indicates who the maker is and who the audience is. A great logo makes a product or company stand out from the crowd. It’s a bigger world now, and a logo has a lot more to do.

Examples:

MailChimp Logo - Email Management

MailChimp

The online email management company recently started using their monkey icon as a stand-alone logo, pairing it less and less with the company’s wordmark. It’s a common (and desirable) step for branding: that point when your logo alone is enough to identify your company, without needing to indicate the company name. Logos are THAT memorable.

Your Business Logo Tells Everything at a Glance

Your logo boils down who you are as a company, what you’re offering and who you are offering it to into a single memorable image. This doesn’t need to be spelled out.

As consumers, most people are surprisingly adept at translating logos and branding. We’re surrounded by logos, so we’ve learned the language. Colours, images and many other small cues instantly frame a logo in a specific way.

Curvy feminine lines speak to a different audience than angular shapes, much like pastels versus metallic colours. Elegant, thin lines can denote a luxury item and a higher price range than brightly coloured, fatter, slightly askew designs might.

All it takes is a few seconds for a prospect to process and classify your logo and company as being appropriate for them and their needs, or not. A logo needs to work quickly to prove itself. If it doesn’t, the prospect will move on.

Examples:

Ferrero Rocher

Ferrero Rocher

“This is a high end product.” That is what this logo says. And we know that. How? The elegant uppercase letters, the swoops of the calligraphy – often a logo will tell us its price point before we even look at the sticker. We are trained to know that, because Ferrero Rocher makes chocolate, *this* chocolate is going to be a bit fancier, a bit more luxurious than other chocolates. This is a luxury item. We know, because we speak logo.

Fisher-Price

Fisher Price

This is a good example of a business logo that speaks the language of its market. The font is easy to read, but not too formal – lots of rounded edges and slanted lines, complete with little flippy tips. Here, the red reads as a children’s colour (as do most primary colours when paired with the right font).

The little circus-like awning makes it more playful, and gives in a sense of history. Fisher Price has been around for a long time. They don’t need to say much, but what they do say is “Hey, this is for kids!” And because we speak logo, we know what they’re saying.

Your Logo Acts as The Face of Your Brand

All of the hard work that you are doing – the great content, the feedback, the relationship building – gets placed behind your business face, which is your logo. In the same way that you build in person relationships, your logo builds relationships with your audience. You’re no longer a faceless entity.

In his book The Brand Gap, Marty Neumeier explains that your brand isn’t your visual language. It is the gut feeling that your audience has toward your company and your product. Your logo and your visual identity are a receptacle for these feelings. These translate your brand so that your audience can build a personal relationship with your company.

Examples:

I (Heart) NY

I (Heart) NY. Designed by Milton Glaser (Push Pin Studios)

The NY brand is so iconic that it’s been mimicked and knocked-off an infinite number of times – but we all still know that it’s about New York. Created at a time when NYC wasn’t perceived as the friendliest of tourist destinations, Glaser’s design cut to the “heart” of the matter and spoke instantly to the love that New Yorkers and visitors had for that city. Now, you can’t leave NYC without this logo emblazoned on SOMETHING. Whatever New York means to you, it’s attached to this logo.

Nike Logo

NIKE. Designed by Carolyn Davidson

When presented with the design in 1971, Nike co-founder Phil Knight said about the now iconic swoosh: “Well, I don’t love it, but maybe it will grow on me.” Davidson, a design student at Portland State University where Knight was employed at the time, was paid $35 for the design. Her swoosh would come to embody NIKE’s entire reputation and brand identity, becoming one of the most recognizable logos in the world.

Your Logo Builds Loyalty

The feeling that a consumer has for a brand can be a powerful one. Brands have become badges that people use to identify themselves. If you use or know someone who uses Apple computers, you are already familiar with rabid brand loyalty. The same can be said about sports teams, soft drinks or clothing companies.

It’s not just a matter of recognizing great products or great value and associating these with your logo, although that is valuable. When your logo speaks to who your audience is or who they want to be, then it becomes an identifier for them as much as for you.

Examples:

Apple Logo 1977 & 2014

Apple (1977 version, designed by Rob Janoff & current Chrome version)

It’s hard to think of more brand-crazy fans than Apple users. Rabid i-Fans will stand in line for days waiting for the newest product. The logo itself is emblazoned on storefronts, products and even unofficial merchandise. No brand name is required.

In my work as a graphic designer, the Apple logo is the most popular reference that clients make when they are looking for a logo design. Everyone wants to be Apple.

Your Logo Dresses the Part

In today’s brand-heavy consumer world, not having a logo sends a strong message. Have you ever heard the phrase, “If you want to know how clean a restaurant’s kitchen is, visit the bathroom”? If so, you know that the devil is in the details.

If a bathroom isn’t clean, are you going to trust those same people to prepare your food? If a business can’t be bothered to present themselves professionally, are you going to trust them with your money?

In today’s world, visual branding is expected from any reputable business. It’s really the price of entry into a professional sphere. A logo says a lot. Not having a logo says a lot as well.

Which are you more likely to trust: a faceless company on the internet, or a well-established, serious-looking brand with a friendly logo and professional design?

Examples:

Mint.com

Mint.com

Mint.com is a free online personal financial management program. It draws information from the bank and credit accounts that you enter, so it requires a great deal of trust from its customer base.

How does the logo promote that trust? It fits together well, uses the appropriately trustworthy colours and has definitely been designed by a professional. That wouldn’t be enough proof for most of us, but a bad logo design would be a red flag.

Now What?

The visual language of logos and branding can help you communicate more effectively and more rapidly with prospects. It can translate your value and hard work more easily into ongoing relationships with your audience.

If you are convinced of the value of that a logo and a large visual identity can do for your business, then you’re probably already looking at your branding materials and thinking that you could do better. And if you haven’t looked at your branding materials lately, perhaps now is the time! What’s holding you back?

43 comments

  1. Sarah says:

    I really liked this article, well written Christina.

    I am just curious about your thoughts of “.com” being a part of the logo for an online company (ie: a business who’s main income source is online).

    I see mint.com has it, but Go Daddy and Mailchimp don’t.

    Is it a preference thing? Trying to figure out the pros and cons of both. Any advice you have is much appreciated 🙂

    Thanks
    ~S

    1. Christina Gunn ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      As with anything in branding, the WHY is very important. It is assumed, now, that most brands have a web presence, so having a .com isn’t really necessary. However if your website is actually a huge part of the customer experience, maybe you do need to include it? GoDaddy hosts sites, but how often do you go to their site, really? Mint.com – I am there every day. And when I say their name I say “Mint dot com”.

      When Mint.com gets around to rebranding, as so many brands inevitably do, it may drop that .com. A lot of brands do this as they rebrand, to streamline and modernize. It really is about what you need your logo to say now. It isn’t necessary to have a .com in your logo, but if it works with the name and it furthers your message then you should consider it. Just think about the why before making that decision.

      Here’s an interesting article on just that question. It goes much more in depth than I can here – I hope it helps! http://imjustcreative.com/do-i-need-to-keep-the-com-wording-in-my-logo/2012/04/03

  2. Gaurav says:

    Hey Christina, You are exactly right at your point regarding the importance of a right logo. Even I would recommend the use of a nice favicon. P.S I am not a graphic designer or SEO expert. Fantasy of Apple icon is beyond explanation and creating a logo similar to that will be just awesome and it creates the trust part too. Thanks for taking this perspective, looking forward to learn more from firepolemarketing.com.

    1. Christina Gunn ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      Hi Gaurav,

      Thanks for joining the conversation. It’s great to realize how much work Apple has put into creating that fan base for their logo. The logo is where that fan base projects their fanatacism – but it takes a lot of work to get to that level!

      Christina

  3. Christina Salerno ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    This is a highly debated topic. Yes, a logo can be incredibly valuable. No, you don’t need it to get started. Yes, you need to be aware of your visual design and impact. But, when you’re starting out, there are so many more important things. When Marc Ecko talks about their rhino logo he says it doesn’t matter as much about the logo they chose. The more important point is that it stands for something.

    I’m a freelance web/graphic designer and starting my own small business and I think there is a sweet spot between being visually aware of your branding and message and not getting consumed by it. If you slap a pretty picture on a pile of mud – it’s still mud. But, you also want to represent your message visually.

    1. Christina Gunn ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      Hi Christina. I like your point about slapping a logo on something not changing it. You’re right. If you have a logo but you’re not offering value then that logo just becomes associated with something that isn’t valuable. If you have a logo and people recognize that you are offering value then they have a visual association (a “face”) to attach it to. A logo isn’t magic. It’s just a tool to help you be memorable, to stand out and to send a message – none of which will overcome the handicap of having nothing to offer! 🙂

  4. A. Michael Bloom ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    This has been an incredible conversation. I invested some resources in developing my logo and do not regret it. So many new contacts and prospects have shared positive feedback about my logo, whether it be in an email or when I hand them a business card. They describe it is warm and welcoming which is what I want my caregiver clients to feel immediately. I believe that a logo if developed with some forethought can accentuate your marketing message to help you appeal to a segment of your clients.

    One additional thing I would add is that if you invest the resources in creating a striking logo, put it on quality media to showcase it fully. I put my logo on a bright and colorful high quality exhibit tablecloth which I use at conferences and book signings. In addition, I invest in some high quality book marks and business cards with thick card stock so my info is likely to be kept and accessed.

    Thanks to Chrsitina, Rusty, and all for great dialogue.

    Go forward with energy and care,
    Michael

    1. Christina Gunn ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      Thanks for joining the conversation, Michael. I’m glad that you found it interesting. Your point about the difference details can make to presentation is very true. If your business cards are cheap and sloppily made, it won’t make you business seem solid, high end or professional. It’s always good to think about what your business is trying to say when making choices on presentation, from your logo to your advertising to even the stock your business card is printed on. We’re not all saying the same thing, so there’s lots of room for variation.

  5. Rusty says:

    Sorry I came in late to the string. It’s been very interesting. I have designed logos, taglines, color- branding and other useful branding elements for small businesses, but it still comes down to one thing — how you keep the logos and branding materials in the face of the public. A logo won’t mean much if they never see it. A color branding style may be noticed more by women who gravitate to those elements more than men, and the costs of each design will be an enhancement as your company grows. Yet I see many owners who don’t take full advantage of what they paid for to have all that branding collateral.

    Place the logo everywhere, stick to the color palette you helped design, and don’t be afraid to be creative when using your business name.

    Even in an email signature ( or above in my web site address) I try to assimilate it wherever I can. Our brains retrieve much more than we give them credit for. That’s why a signature logo-only branding campaign works so well. Even as a small business we can aspire to logo branding on that level.

    1. Christina Gunn ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      Hi Rusty! Welcome to the conversation. We’ve had a lot of great points added to the discussion in the comments and the point that usage matters is a big one. A logo needs to be used for it to work – like any tool. And it needs to be used consistently. Logo guidelines can make sure that your company’s brand usage stays consistent and on target – and with every brand-consistent usage your brand is strengthened!

  6. Sue Roman says:

    Christina – I liked this article and you brought up a lot of interesting points about branding. However, your article addresses the positive aspects of branding, you missed addressing the legal side.

    It takes a lot of time and effort to find a brand or logo to use for your company, it takes no time at all for someone to visit your website or blog, see you’re using all or part of their trademarked or copyrighted brand or logo and you find out by a letter from a law firm that you could be in litigation if you don’t stop using something that you’ve spent a long time working on.

    All I’m saying is that you need to put in some cautionary language about the very real possibility of trademark or copyright infringement. Coke, Tiffany’s, Cadbury and Apple don’t go to all the expense of assuring that every minute detail of their brands are legally protected for nothing.

    1. Christina Gunn ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      Hi Sue,

      Good point! The fact that these companies protect their logos so fiercely speaks pretty strongly to how important those logos are! We’ve all heard the stories of McDonald’s chasing down the small business owner with a Mc in their name, or Apple sending their lawyers after apple-themed logos. Not only that, but many brands have everything from the shape of the product (Coke’s iconic bottle) to the colour (Coke, Tiffany’s, Cadbury) under legal protection.

      Copying another brand is a bad idea for many reasons. If your brand isn’t unique then there’s no benefit to branding it. You’re not standing out or differentiating yourself, and you’re not telling the world who YOU are.

      I often see logos, and am often asked to create logos, that are “inspired” by popular brands, and you are right. It is risky territory. Not only is it not doing your company any good to be piggybacking on another company’s marketing and reputation, but a lot of elements are copyrighted.

      I can’t really offer legal advice. It’s not my expertise. But having a unique logo is always best. It works better to brand your company, and it saves you from the headache and expenses of copyright infringement. It’s a good idea to look into how to trademark or copyright your logo in your area, not only to protect you from infringing on someone else’s, but also to protect your brand from infringement in the future!

  7. Ratz says:

    Hey, Logo should be attractive always because it directly attract your visitors. Every business brand own their premium logo which makes them different from others. While i am also opening a new food business focusing Rolls, and my brand name is Rolls Delight so Christina will you help me to find best logo designer, i am very thankful to you.

    Thanks for such a great article…. 🙂

    1. Christina Gunn ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      Finding a designer can be personal. It depends on your budget and what is important to you. If you want to work one on one with a designer, then a freelance designer is a good way to go. You can advertise (Craigslist works great) or look for advertisements in print shops. If you want more in depth service, small firms or larger firms in your area can help.

      Many people like working with online companies, but be careful to choose a company that will actually take your company, your goal and preferences into account, and who will work with you to finesse the final design. You can find very cheap logo designs, but if a designer is spending 5 minutes on your design in order to make a reasonable living – well, it’s hard to imagine that it will be a well thought out logo.

      And be sure to get the files that you will need to use your logo! How will you be using it? Will you need to enlarge it? To shrink it? To place it on a coloured background? Do you need it black and white? Be sure to make sure that all of the files that you need are included in the price of the project. Creating each of these takes time and isn’t necessarily in the scope of work. Better to be on the same page at the beginning than have to add on to your project later!

  8. I like this post and the thread. I like logos because they can be pictures or words or both or letters and also significant colours. Even though I like looking at logos, I think what is important is how memorable they are. What makes them stand out and evoke a feeling in someone. Thanks Christina and everyone who chimed in to this discussion. I need to rethink my logo(s).

    1. Christina Gunn ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      Hi Jo-Ann. Thanks for joining the discussion! There have been a lot of interesting points raised. I’m glad that we’re encouraging people to think about what their logos are doing or could be doing for them.

  9. Carole says:

    This is great! I have always found it very difficult to explain the importance of a logo to new business owners. To many of them, it’s just a way to jazz up their stationery, and it can get exhausting having to take them by the hand and educate them every time, especially when they still don’t really get it and react in shock to even the lowest of quotes. If they don’t understand the value, paying big bucks for a little doodle seems outrageous, especially when it’s so simple their kid could do it!

    Which is why I am so delighted to have found your excellent post. It gives clarity and order to my jumbled, frustrated thoughts and will, I hope, help me to convey them in the same way the next time I need to go through Logos 101 with a new prospect!

    Thank you so much!

    1. Christina Gunn ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      It’s a conversation that I’ve had many times, and I am constantly finessing. I work with branding and logos every day, but when it’s not your milieu (or more accurately, for me, obsession!) it can be hard to understand what you’re buying, or where the value is. Glad I was able to pass on some of my experience with that conversation!

  10. Marlene McPherson says:

    Hi Christina, I like your post but I have observed that you did not tie the tagline with the physical logo. I hope I am not seeing something unrelated but I think the tag line is part of the logo. So I do not see how this aspect was not mentioned. I have seen how people use the tagline as a means to remember the company and what the company is about. A case in point is seen with Kentucky Fried Chicken. With the health consciousness of most consumers the logo of the kernel is still present but the tag line has changed no longer do they spell out the word’ Fried ‘ but now it has KFC . The point is you cannot have a logo with mention of the tagline; under the Nike sign there must be “Just do it”Correct me if I am wrong.

    1. Christina Gunn ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      Marlene, that is such an interesting tangent. There are many elements of branding that could have been addressed in this article, but I had to focus! A logo is very specific, including an icon, a wordmark or both, and is used to identify the company. The tagline is a separate element, although it is definitely something that can be a great tool for branding. It can expand upon your message, or add a catchy little reminder to it. When it is shown with the logo, there should be guidelines to how this happens – as with any visual branding that you do. Still, it’s an element that is added to a logo – and may or may not be shown with it.

      I think the NIKE example is a great one, because it’s slogan is such a huge part of its branding. In the 90s Just Do It was on EVERYTHING – but the swoosh stands on its own a lot of the time, particularly now, when brands are eager to be sleeker. A tagline can easily be dropped depending on the usage of the logo – and a lot of the time it is.

      It’s a bit more rare to see the Colonel without KFC, because KFC is actually the brand name. It’s the wordmark part of that logo (which was rebranded from Kentucky Fried Chicken, as you mentioned). The tagline was also changed from “Finger Lickin’ Good” to “So Good.” I wonder if this is also because of that image of greasy fingers? Again, you will see the tagline with the logo a lot of the time – but it’s definitely there for an extra little push. It’s an addition to a logo that can be used without it.

      Taglines can be a great tool – maybe a subject for another article!

  11. Meg says:

    Fun watching a good healthy discussion. I liked how the post had examples of logos and then discussions. As a trademark attorney, I think that logos have an “inevitable” importance about them. That is, when the business is successful, the logo can help drive even more success. Though, I must say that with face icons, and URLS, I have found myself wondering how the importance of logos have changed in recent years. Would be great to hear about a study on this.

    1. Christina Gunn ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      Hi Meg,

      I agree – a logo is a face that your value sits behind. Like Andrew mentioned, if your experience is a good one you’ll identify that logo as part of that good experience. I wonder if our face icons act as a logo a lot of the time – and what the impact is when we update our photo? (I find it disconcerting – like I have to relearn someone’s face. Do you find that?)

  12. Sonia Thompson ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Hi Christina – a logo is such a powerful tool for any business.

    I think the challenge most small business owners make when considering their logo is forgetting to marry it with a larger positioning strategy. As you illustrate – a logo is a tool to communicate a larger message to your customers. The logo does it in one way – and it is carried out in your other branding elements used elsewhere – your business cards, your website, etc.

    All of it tells an important story. And even though most customers may not be able to adequately verbalize that message, or feel like they are choosing a business because of the logo – rest assured that the logo visual and supporting branding goes a long way to creating the reputation your customers have in their mind for your business.

    And as you mentioned – it’s so much better for you to shape that reputation through strategic branding rather than let it happen on its own.

    Awesome stuff!

  13. Debbie says:

    Howard, you don’t mention what your business is, but a logo is yet another way to differentiate yourself from your competition and is another tool in your marketing toolkit: you can use it on your website, your business cards, signage, anything you want to build your brand (and you can Google many small businesses to find logos that are good examples of what Christina discusses in this post). No one may buy from you immediately because of your logo, but they will be able to connect what you do because of it.

    Agreed that the big companies mentioned here spent thousands to develop these logos. I’m a freelance writer/public relations consultant in a small town and I hired a local web designer to develop a new logo for my very basic, still-in-the-works website. It’s costing me well under $1,000; her work is professional and suits my purposes just fine.

    1. Christina Gunn ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      I love your comment Debbie! And it’s true – there are a lot of options that land somewhere between $5 and a huge marketing firm. Freelance graphic designers or small firms can offer great value for your investment!

  14. Denise Loughlin says:

    Welcome to Firepole Marketing, Christina! I totally agree with you! A company logo is everything. Everything. Nike, Apple, all the major logos we see are the results of mega dollar investments with huge marketing, research and development budgets behind them. Little guys like us cannot afford to scrimp on our logos either. Multi-media story-telling is what brands all of us now, and the single “digital” imprint we call “logo” is our digital signature. It is our signature and our calling card – the most important and the most fun part of all – only thing holding me back is all the “shiny things” sorting out which elements to include. Frankly, my business and the people I work with are worth paying for their creativity, time and talents. Great to meet you and good luck with your sound, measured and forward thinking!

    1. Christina Gunn ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      Denise, thank you so much for your warm welcome! I’m glad that the article spoke to you. Branding is my passion – it’s a language like any other and one that we can use to our advantage!

  15. Grew my marketing experience in the music business where IMAGE & BRANDING is so important. I agree so much with what you have written. Even as a small business you, as the owner, should always think BIG. A logo and a slogan came to me early on when I ran my record label – we had it on t-shirts and all PR stuff. Now that I retail all sorts of records I think is is still a vital tool in people recognising your business. Add it to brilliant customer service and you will make progress…….in the right direction

    1. Christina Gunn ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      Hi Andrew,

      Thanks for your comment. I agree that a logo and branding can really make your small business stand out – it’s a powerful tool to be recognized, especially if you have a great business behind it!

    2. Howard says:

      Andrew, I’d challenge you to reconsider your conclusions. Here’s a test.

      Survey your customers asking one open-ended question…”Why did you buy from me?”

      I can pretty much guarantee that none will say “Because of your logo”.

      I think it’s great to have a logo, but I’ll return to my original point…save your money, go to fiverr and consider it done.

      1. Howard, I sell records & CDs from here in the UK. The music biz is all about image ( and a bit of music if you are lucky lol) I sell records from EMI (think the dog listening to His Master’s Voice) Now I accept that no-one buys music because it is on EMI BUT the logo is totally memorable and familiar So yes you are right that none of my customers but from me because of the logo I accept that BUT I hope when they glance at my logo next time they come to buy then it will remind them easily that last time they dealt with crucialmusic then they got exceptional service & product. Images on Facebook get all the sharing and posts We live in a world where the IMAGE is so important and as Paula says if my bomber jackets (remember them from the 70s?) and t-shirts had been blank it would have been crazy A picture paints a 1,000 words – a logo is such an easy way to reinforce your sales message. It is a tool in your armoury In fact the more I re-consider I think it is essential!! Even more important than even I realised until I started commenting on this post!

      2. Danny says:

        Hey Howard, I think you’re over-simplifying things here. Is a great logo enough to get people to buy something from you? No, of course not. But can it really hurt your case to have an incongruent logo that doesn’t really reflect who you are and what you do? Yes, definitely. Nobody is advocating spending five figures on logos, but choosing a good logo as the visual front of a project is definitely worthwhile.

  16. Sarah ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Christina,
    Great post.
    I really like the examples where the snap second you SEE something you know about it. I agree that strong visual design can communicate so much. As always the devil is in the details such as which font, which color, and which symbol to represent your brand. Sometimes using a graphic designer is the best option when you want to get it right. You hit the nail on the head- if your product/service is trusted, the visual representation of your brand will also be trusted.

    1. Christina Gunn ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      Thanks Sarah! I agree. Your logo is the face that all your hard work sits behind. It represents you and your reputation!

    2. Howard says:

      Sarah, I agree with your observation.

      But don’t you think the real reason you have that recognition (as expressed in the examples here in this blog post) is because they are big companies spending mega-bucks on “awareness” advertising.

      There’s a reason the examples are all big name brand consumer product companies.

      1. Christina Gunn ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

        Hi Howard,

        I admit that I chose a lot of well recognized logos because yes, people recognize them. But I have had lots of clients come to me asking me to create something like the Nike swoosh – and I always say that I can make the logo, but it’s not going to do all the work. You need to use it, publicize it and leverage it. It’s a tool – but it’s not all in one! Wouldn’t you want all the tools that are available to you?

        (I do tend to make choices based on logos. I’m not going to get my hair cut at a place that looks dodgy and like its logo was designed in the 80s. I won’t read a book that is too ugly for me to look at. I’m a designer, so that’s for sure something that slants me, but wouldn’t you want to trust your money to someone who looks like a professional at least?)

  17. Howard says:

    Sorry, but I’ve got to disagree, especially as it relates to small businesses.

    Logos are at best a nice piece of eye candy for the ordinary new guy starting out on their own.

    Instead of getting distracted by a bit of expensive fluff, why not go to fiverr, and spend $5…which is about what a logo is worth to a small and relatively new business.

    The vast majority of small businesses would be much better served by focusing time, energy and resources on actually acquiring paying clients. There will be plenty of time later to optimize your visuals.

    Pretty much any marketing that is not a) designed to build/publicize your authority, or b) direct marketing designed to actually create business, is a waste of the small business persons’ time and money.

    It’s like feeding an expensive desert to a starving person…the right general concept implemented in an inefficient way.

    1. Paula says:

      You’ve only acquired paying clients if they remember you well enough to come back with cash in hand – and a logo is a good tool for that. Unless you are marketing primarily to people who honestly do not care or notice visual elements, of course.

      (My business relies heavily on art and stories, so visual optimization is a priority for me! Your mileage may vary 🙂 )

      1. Christina Gunn ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

        Good point Paula! I think that we are all visual people, even if we’re not aware of it, but it is definitely a good idea to be aware of who you are selling to – in all business dealings!

      2. Howard says:

        Paula, you make my point for me when you say “if they remember you well enough to come back with cash in hand”.

        And, no, unless you are a multibillion dollar mega brand, a logo is NOT good for that.

        What IS good for that is building your authority and audience.

        Clients don’t come to you because they like/remember your logo.

        They come to you because they have a problem and are looking for a solution.

        WIIFM = What’s In It For Me is the mindset of a client.

        At this time of need they come to you because they need your solution, whether that “solution” is chocolate chip cookies, arts and stories, or B2B analytics.

        Logos are at best an afterthought to be added on, and at worst an absolute waste for small businesses.

        1. Christina Gunn ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

          Hi Howard. I am loving how involved you are in this discussion, and you raise a lot of really great points. Branding can often seem like a low priority to small businesses – and often it SHOULDN’T be your first priority.

          I would say that if you are looking at a logo as being eye candy, as you say, then it really isn’t worth investing in. However, if you look at a logo as a tool to create the authority that you are talking about, then investing becomes valuable.

          Not only is a logo more memorable than just a name, but a professional logo speaks to your reputation. Investing in looking professional can pay off because it does build your authority. Maybe it’s not the first step. Often it’s something to be addressed when a small business is ready to take itself to the next level and show that they’re serious.

          So, I would argue that a logo and branding does address your a) point – that it that it is designed to build/publicize your authority. A $5 logo might be eye candy, but a well thought out branding/logo can be an investment – when the time is right for you.

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