Yes, it is important that your business is easy to find when one needs an accountant, landscaper or hair salon. For online purposes a solid SEO process helps. Ok, they found you. Now what? Will they click to your site? Call? Or just navigate to something else that may stand out a bit more or remind them more precisely what they are seeking?
A paragraph of well-written copy doesn’t stand a chance against the Nike swoosh or the golden arches. In this environment of instant answers people expect to find a target and respond on a dime. Well-designed logos can speak to the more impulsive nature of the “shopping” arena. Yet, it still is a process. A well designed logo begins the process of persuasion. Beyond that, why is a well designed logo important? …
1. It can allow your market to identify YOU in an instant … This can be especially important with logos used in crowded fields; I.E. in traffic (car wraps, signage, billboards), grocery store shelves (packaging) and yes, online. Successful logos in these instances often look as if they were created effortlessly. It seems that many great things are like that. Yet, it IS far more difficult than it seems. That’s because it’s difficult to devise unique memorable images that are on target and boiled into its essence. This is one of the ultimate challenges of a serious logo designer. Wrap the sum of your companies’ parts into a simple shape or word. The challenge is capturing the feel, the philosophy, product, attitude…all in a shape and color. Possible? Yes, with the right designer and serious participation from the client.
2. It can make your business more visible and memorable.
Making your brand more visible and memorable is not about who can shout the loudest or who wears the loudest tie. Obnoxious imagery is everywhere to the point it is actually becoming boring. Imagine you own an indoor racing and entertainment facility and you need to be seen and remembered. You need awareness that you exist and then to encourage trial. HOW? A great name is a good start. Invest the time necessary and research other entertainment options available in your area. BRAINSTORM! The initial stages of brainstorming should function like an idea net. Great ideas come from lots of ideas. Otherwise you’ll be stuck with a cliché. The hard part is boiling it all down. You’re attempting to find the equivalent of a needle in a haystack both in the name and the image. Scour the corners of the universe for that perfect moniker. Often the answer is right before your eyes. I once designed a logo for a cheesecake bakery. During our first meeting the client showed me a crayon drawing of a cupcake character made by the owner’s daughter. I felt that by making use of a drawing made by perhaps the most important human in her life as inspiration she’d be even more invested in the process and her company. It served as an intangible emotional connection. I’m not sure I can always explain why but that approach just felt right. Be ready to defy logic and trust instinct. Try to explain why Mona Lisa’s “smile” is sublime. That can often make all the difference. Great marketing is not always linear.
3. It can emphasize what is unique about your business and contrast you from competition.
Let’s imagine you own a family butcher shop a few blocks from a Wholefoods. The Wholefoods brand is ubiquitous. Your brand’s market trajectory may go about as far as you can throw a small stone. How do you convince the neighborhood within which you operate to shop for meat, and only meat at your shop when one can take care of all their grocery needs at Wholefoods. Well, Wholefood’s logo is green, kind of friendly/organic. It’s credible as well. However, it is damn corporate looking to me. So, where is the opportunity to distinguish your brand from Wholefoods? Should you try to make your shop look more established, corporate , “credible”? NO! Consider using the founder’s image as a central component of your logo. Emphasize the relationary advantage versus the almost faceless blanket of the Wholefoods brand. When one enters the small butcher shop its likely someone they grew up with will take the order.
Honestly, I would almost try to “de-skill” the design a bit while still using solid design principles. Maybe it should seem as if the logo has been designed by someone’s grandpa in the tool shed. Have the sign painted old-school. Hell, use grandpa’s face on the logo. Will this put Wholefood’s out of business? No, but you’ve gone a long way in distinguishing yourself as a credible, family owned alternative with an authentic feel. I hate grocery shopping. I try to get in and get out. For my wife, it’s an experience. Some folks want shopping to be an experience. Make the experience “feel” a bit like being at Findlay Market without the drive.
4. It can lend credibility and trust to you and your brand
Lets say you just hung your shingle out as a financial planner. You may be a recent MBA or just coming off a stint with a larger firm. Financial planners are nothing if not about trust, credibility, stability, consistency. While Ronald McDonald served McDonalds well, its likely he will not be a financial planner’s mascot. Designing an effective logo for a financial planner at first glance may seem like a mundane task for a creative graphic designer who’d like to make their bones working on more sexy projects. However, it is these kinds of projects that can present the most enticing challenge. Trust, credibility, stability and consistency seem to demand boring imagery. Really? So as a newbie how are you going to gain awareness with a vanilla logo in a field of well-established brands? You still need to set yourself apart while coming across as trustworthy etc. Your designer needs to go on a deeper dive using a more sophisticated blend of color, form, typography, emphasis and arrangement to allow for a credible image that evokes a response. Your designer needs to understand the magnitude of this challenge. Your designer needs to be well equipped to boil your personal philosophy into its formal essence. You need to project an image that distinguishes you from these old pillars yet still engender that sense of trust.
5. It can humanize your image in business that is reputedly technocratic.
Apple computer is a perfect example. Often, part of a companies’ marketing effort requires educating our potential customers. This process includes dispelling inaccurate preconceived notions about your business. Before desktop computers emerged many imagined those working in high tech were nerdy data geeks with little understanding of day to day “human” dilemmas. People believed that working with computers required in depth knowledge of highly technical processes. Apple computer’s logo was designed in part to dispel that largely inaccurate characterization. The apple logo; an apple with one human bite mark, conveyed a more organic humanized image immediately as if to say “we are capable of making your everyday life simpler, not more complex”. The human bite mark, while subtle, was key. It may seem like a stretch, and it is not an overt message but over time that image was underscored by Apple’s approach and philosophy about their computer products. They knew it was an marketing strategy that needed to be aligned with their business philosophy as a contrast to the more techno centric perception. Microsoft seemed to be left holding the bag in that regard.
I will explain another time but this strategy is similar to the one utilized by BP in their effort to make their oil company be perceived as more “green”. You are free to decide for yourself if BP succeeded.
6. It can begin the process of persuasion (First impressions can mean more than you think)
And persuasion is a process. Can a well designed logo make you hungry? I’m not sure exactly how but the Skyline Chili logo seems like a large fishing net to me; especially when I’m hungry. However, a good logo is about far more than a simple impulse. A great logo also begins the process of persuasion. Skyline’s logo is more about impulse persuasion. How about the persuasion required to purchase a car, or a house? What contemporary cultural images, colors and fonts can serve as the beginning of the persuasion process for the big ticket items? Either way, a great logo is part of your investment in the persuasion process as well as an integral part of any successful business strategy.