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But it’s just a logo…

We already know what a brand is, and what it’s supposed to do and how it’s
developed, but how is that brand expressed in the market? There are several
components, many of which we’ll address in future installments of these posts, but
for today we wanted to look at the visual epitome of brand communication, the
almighty logo.

External (and internal) expression of a brand typically comes in three distinct, yet
overlapping categories: the visual, the verbal and the symbol. The visual is the
imagery and visual tone of a brand – how a brand looks to the market. The verbal
refers to ‘how a brand talks,’ or the words and language of a brand. The symbol,
more widely known as the logo, is a simple icon or word-based symbol that comes
to stand for a brand across markets, channels and audiences.

The logo carries different weight and different responsibilities depending on what
company or sector you’re talking about, but I’m always surprised at how
underleveraged the logo is, particularly in the B2B space. It’s often dismissed or
seen as being more painful to change than the value doing so could generate as
it’s a powerful asset to build awareness, stimulate recruiting, and galvanize a
company’s culture.

To experience this, take a moment and look at the collection of logos below. Go
through and see if you can identify the companies from the small snippet shown.
Use the labels to list your answers…go ahead, we’ll wait…

 

 

 

 

Congratulations… I imagine that you were correct on most of these and that it
didn’t take very long at all (just in case, the answers are below). Now if you go
back and look, what’s interesting is that you were looking at a very small detail of a
graphic in black and white or greyscale with no other contextual cues, and you
were still probably able to identify all ten of these companies. In fact, I’m willing to
bet that not only were you able to identify them, but that you experienced some
sort of other impact, whether it was a sense of calm or confidence, a mild bit of
excitement or a taste or even a base emotion like happiness. All that from a set
arrangement of a few grey pixels on a screen.

Now obviously that is no accident or coincidence. It’s a very mature science with
endless dollars and studies thrown at it to ensure that the majority of people who see these symbols have a positive emotional reaction to them and their path to
purchase is eased up ever so slightly.

Now I can hear the grumbling already… “those are all famous, mostly B2C brands
who spend a lot more on their logo than we ever will on marketing,” and “…that
argument doesn’t hold up in the B2B space.”

To which I kindly offer a “Pshaw.”

We are all (or mostly are) human beings at the end of the day. We experience and
consume media the same at the office as we do at home. A poorly executed logo
for a strictly B2B company is at the very least missing a huge opportunity and at its
worst doing damage to the credibility and confidence of the organization. A logo
doesn’t have to be a literal reflection on the product, service or name of a
company, but it should embody the tone, emotion and ethos of that company, no
matter what audience you’re going after.

 

A – Google, B – Apple, C – Coca-Cola, D – Disney, E – FedEx, F – McDonalds, G – Nike, H –
Starbucks, I – GE, J – Accenture

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