Sorry But… Who Cares About A Logo?
I’ve said it before…but I really may be kicked off the island for this one. Designers sure love their logos. For many it’s the ultimate gig and clients pay dearly for the service. But nowadays is it really worth the investment? Don’t worry, I’ll explain more…I think there are times when the answer to that question is a resounding “YES” but more often than not for the majority of smaller and startup brands I believe the days of traditional branding is gone.
Everyone and Their Mother Has a Logo
Well, my mom is retired. What about your mom? Point is, as the concept of branding has saturated our culture so has the desire for a logo. For many it’s a symbol of legitimacy. For others it’s just fun to have a logo regardless of the validity of the business it represents. But with so many logos out there, is memorable and unique, the point of a logo, even possible?
I’ve written before about the impossible expectation of a logo to encompass every single thing a brand represents. The fact that the best logos in the world are simple flies in the face of that desire. That’s a tough one to explain to folks who are looking for a new logo. But it’s a fact. It’s also becoming more and more difficult for that simple logo to be unique with so many out there.
Branding is So Much More Than a Logo
The most important thing to come to terms with when you’re heading into a branding project is that branding is so much more than a logo. I’ve said before that a logo is like the front door of a building. The real experience is once you get inside and get a feel for what the brand is all about.
This means a combination of visuals like photography, colors, fonts, icons…illustrations…and how they all play together is what your audience is really going to remember. And more than that, it’s what is going to say the most about your brand to that audience.
Messaging is arguably even more important than visuals these days given the way people interact with brands. What you say and how you say it can override any visuals…ideally there’s a perfect marriage of messaging and visuals and they represent a brand’s personality, what the brand is all about, and why people should care.
I’m Not Saying Don’t Have a Logo
You probably need a logo. There are certain places that it’s just plain necessary. But be realistic about what that logo can actually do for your brand and err on the side of professional, representative of your industry, and different than the competition. Or…
I’ve also written about how different than the competition isn’t necessarily the best play. (www.tivbranding.com/is-unique-always-a-good-strategy/) Sometimes a logo that lines up with others in your industry can help people key into what it is you do. Don’t rip your competition off. I’m not saying that. But I am saying take advantage of the work they’ve done for your industry and the money they’ve spent doing it.
A Better Investment
So you’ve got a huge budget set aside for a logo? No, I didn’t think so. But let’s pretend. What’s a better way to spend that money once you’ve spent enough to get the logo we’ve described above? Invest that budget and time into a cohesive brand approach. Understand what you’re saying and why your audience should care and then develop the visuals and messaging that sing it.
Once you have a cohesive branding approach, extend it to the key brand building tools you use. Website. Print. Advertising. Remember, we said cohesive and if there’s a disconnect when someone clicks through from social media to your website then the power of your brand is out the window.
And once you have that in place? A brand building campaign. Many times an organization has come to me for a logo and instead we decide to launch a campaign getting eyes on the organization. The expectation of a brand building campaign is to introduce your brand to your audience and reinforce why they should care so when the time comes for some sort of engagement you’re head and shoulders ahead of your competition.
When A Logo is Essential
There are times when a logo is essential. But for the most part we’re talking about massive companies in extremely competitive industries. If you’re putting a product on the shelves of stores across the country, a solid logo is a great investment.
Another instance is if you’re putting together a large and extensive advertising push. I always remind clients that say, “I want a logo that’s simple like the Nike swoosh!” that the only reason that logo is the gold standard of logos is because of the millions and millions (billions at this point) of dollars that were put behind getting it imprinted on your brain.
And finally, merchandise brands. If you’re selling apparel that’s all about a logo, then it goes without saying that you need the perfect logo. I’m not a logo on my t-shirt kind of guy today, but there was a time when everything I wore had the three stripes on it.
So Who Cares About a Logo?
There you have it…take it or leave it. But if you’re looking at a branding project you may want to consider how you’re allocating the budget. And if you need assistance, we’re always here to help you figure it out.