The Marketing Role of the Logo
A month ago I found myself in a marketing meeting discussing logos. It seems several years ago, the organization had changed its logo and there was no shortage of horrid stories around the change.
The people around the table didn’t like the revised logo and wanted to return to the previous one, but it had been licensed out to another organization.
The conversation continued citing all of the aspects of the current logo that weren’t liked. The color, the size of this or that, the inappropriateness of the image, etc.
Marketing materials needed to be reprinted and there was pressure to move forward.
What to do?
Having been involved in a few corporate identity programs and knowing howtricky a logo process could be, I suggested simply dropping the logo.
There is no law that states every company needs a logo. Some time would allow the organization time to think about what they wanted a new logo to communicate rather than rushing into a new design – one that could prove as disappointing as the last.
“Meaning creates logos. Logos do not create meaning.”
Logos can and should be a source of corporate or organizational expression.
However, it cannot cover up reality. It can not add substance where there is none.
Logos are not the company and a company is not its logo. Logos should serve as a short-hand marketing illustration of what the company is and what it delivers. That’s all.
Ask yourself: When was the last or the first time you ever made a buying decision based upon a company’s logo? I’m guessing your answer is “never”. That’s the point.
Hugh is right. Don’t spend time and energy on this. Maybe your marketing materials, your business cards or your website will look a tad better, but a logo won’t make up for a bad product, bad management or a lousy idea.
Rather, start at the beginning by answering the hard marketing questions.
- What is the purpose of your company?
- What value do you offer and to whom?
- Which principals will guide company management and growth?
Answers to these questions should guide logo design.
Not only will you save yourself a lot of time, money and frustration, you’ll probably find that a logo isn’t really necessary to get you where you want to be.
What are your thoughts? Do you agree or disagree? Share them in the comments section below.