Designers love to design logos. It’s one of the immutable laws of brand identity (my apologies to Al Ries). Each logo offers the designer an opportunity to create something truly unique. It’s also the one form of visual expression that can be equally effective across multiple types of media.
So, it goes without saying that designers often overemphasize the importance of a logo and promise that it can do too much. The designer Paul Rand stresses this when he says:
“It is only by association with a product, a service, a business, or a corporation that a logo takes on any real meaning. If a company is second rate, the logo will eventually be perceived as second rate. It is foolhardy to believe that a logo will do its job immediately, before an audience has been properly conditioned.”
So why invest in a logo until you have an established brand? Isn’t it a waste of money? Well, only if you are expecting your logo to do all the heavy lifting for your brand. There are ways … tangible ways that your logo not only provides value, but can also pay real financial benefits. Even from the beginning. Here’s how your logo can influence prospective customers:
1. A well-designed logo helps clarify your brand offerings/persona to prospective customers
In a world where we are exposed to over 300 marketing messages per day, there is a lot of visual clutter. So making sure that your logo conveys the message you want is vitally important – especially to prospective customers. They may not always be able to hear/see your message, so be prepared with a well-designed logo. This is the initial benefit that a logo offers to a new company/brand.
2. Perception is Reality: A poorly designed logo can be costly!
We’ve all seen examples of logos that made us ask, “What were they thinking?” A good example is the initial version of the Trump/Pence campaign logo. An oversight like this not only forces you to redesign the logo QUICKLY, but may also require you to spend time and resources on PR/social media damage control. Beyond something as blatant as the Trump logo debacle, there is more often the logo-on-the-cheap. Hey, everyone has a talented nephew, but when your brand image is at stake, use a professional. Fonts matter. Color matters. Proportion matters. By the way, here are a few more logo fails for you not to repeat.
3. After being introduced to your brand, a logo serves as a visual cue of your brand promise
Once a prospect or customer becomes familiar with your brand, a logo offers a quick visual reminder of their experience with your brand…good or bad. So focus on delivering on your brand promise, and the logo becomes all that more powerful!
4. A logo offers a foundational piece for all of your brand marketing efforts.
Your logo is the first piece in your brand identity, and the other pieces are built around that logo. It provides the primary color scheme for your visual identity, and often lends visual elements that are used in other pieces. It is an anchor, a unifying element, and an ever-present ingredient in your marketing. From business cards to your website; from a print ad to social media page, your logo will be the one consistent visual reference.
5. A great logo can make brand enthusiasts become Dopplebranders™
Ultimately every organization wants to create brand enthusiasts - individuals who advocate for a brand without encouragement or compensation. These individuals identify with your brand promise and have seen you deliver on that promise to the point they are willing to market on your behalf. Some brand enthusiasts go even further. They are willing to wear your logo, tattoo your logo, or modify their possessions to look like your logo because they so closely associate with your brand values (think Harley Davidson). These are the Dopplebranders.
So as you can see, a logo is not your brand. A logo will not build your brand by itself. But if you are thinking about the long-term success of your brand, your logo can play an important role in influencing the habits of your customers. Let your venture be well designed!