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Changing your logo? Read this first...
Changing your logo? Read this first...
Whenever I'm meeting with someone about their marketing, questions about a logo are inevitable.
I'm asked: 'Is it strong enough? Does it get your attention? Will people take us seriously enough? Is it unique enough?'
Those are all good questions but there's one killer question your logo absolutely must answer. I'll tell you what it is, plus I'll explain how we used the same question to redesign our logo. First, I have to issue a warning...
Allow me to address the question on everyone's minds that they're always afraid to ask: 'Do I even need a logo? Is it really that important?' In a word, YES!
But I have to warn you, a logo is useless if you haven't addressed the BIG THREE in your marketing. Otherwise, you're putting the cart before the horse.
What's the BIG THREE?
Market. Medium. Message.
Before even addressing the issues of a logo, it's far more important that you have a sound understanding of who your market is that you're targeting. Next, you should know the best mediums (i.e., direct mail, TV, radio, newspaper and magazine ads, personal sales, etc.) you'll use to reach your market. Finally, you should have a message that's proven to convert leads into sales.
If you don't have the BIG THREE you don't have a structurally sound marketing strategy. Adding a logo to the mix is like adding siding to a house that isn't finished.
Assuming you have the BIG THREE, let's talk about why you even need a logo. Take a moment and look at the clothes you have on and the clothes people have on around you. Just take a look. Notice all the brands you see. It's hard to look around without seeing names such as Nike, Under Armour, Polo, Dockers, Haggar, Izod, Adidas, Tommy Hilfiger ' you get the idea.
In fact, those brand names may even make you look better to other people. A recent study published in The Economist showed that when people see someone with designer clothes and a logo they are more likely to rate someone else as 'higher status' and wealthier. They are also more likely to award a job to a candidate and even the person a 9% pay increase!
We are told NOT to judge a book by its cover, right? But people DO judge a book by its cover! Your customers are always judging and one of the first labels they see is your logo. So what does your logo say about you? What feeling does it conjure up?
The evolution of a logo at Brand Launcher
We found ourselves wrestling with these questions too when we decided recently to redo our logo for Brand Launcher. Take a look at our old logo. It's okay, but it was a bit cartoonish if you know what I mean. We're serious about our business. We're turning peoples' businesses and their lives around. And we have amazing stories of how we've been able to accomplish those things. That's serious business. So a little fat rocket just didn't seem portray the image we wanted.
So we set off on a journey that took months for us to finally come up with a logo we wanted. This isn't something to be taken lightly. I can't tell you how many business owners we work with who tell me the same story. It goes something like this ' 'I came up with what I thought was a cool name for the company and I saw this clipart image I liked I just used it to create something a little different. I thought it would just be temporary until we found something better. That was 15 years ago and now we seem to be stuck with it.'
Fortunately, you're not stuck with it. You can change. In fact, companies do it all the time. Some make drastic changes but many just evolve as styles and designs change. Take a look at the following images...
Key questions to ask when developing a logo
One trend we're certainly seeing is that there is little ' if any ' text in the logos. If you have to explain it, chances are it's not a very good logo.
We found ourselves in a very similar position as we struggled to develop a new image for our company. Here are just some of the questions we asked ourselves (these are some of the same questions we also ask our clients when developing new logos for them too):
- Who is the logo for?
- What results do you promise? What do they get out of it personally?
- What time period do you want to affiliate with? If it's from the past do you want it to be nostalgic? Ancient? Or Retro? Or, do you want to affiliate with the present or future?
- What colors come to mind when you think of connecting with your prospects?
- Do you want to be fun or serious, sophisticated or laid-back, light or heavy?
- Do you want to convey trust, confidence, action, excitement, or energy?
- What adjectives would you use to describe what you do?
- What objections do you need to overcome?
- When someone sees your logo, what meaning do you want to convey?
But if you put a gun to my head and asked me, 'What is the SINGLE, most important question we should answer when developing our logo?'
It is this: What message do you want to send to prospects that would make them want to do business with you?
That's the question that got us really thinking. And we decided we wanted to have people look at our logo and feel as if the company can help them take off and aspire to something better. We wanted it to have a professional and business-like look and feel to it. And like a sales graph we wanted it to be rising to reflect the fact that we help businesses become more profitable and more successful. It had to be simple, iconic and convey energy and motion. We know our target audience and kept them in mind when designing what we thought would appeal to them. Were we right? Who knows, but we made a decision, and as I always say, "He who makes the most decisions wins!"
Once you have the ideas, then what? That's the next big question we always get. At Brand Launcher, we have very good designers we work with, but there are times when we a lot of designers pitching in to take our ideas and develop their own creative interpretations.
That's when we decided to experiment with crowdsourcing and used 99Designs.com. You simply open a project and tell the design community what you want, how much you're willing to spend for a design and how soon you want it completed. Designers from all over the world submit their designs and you select a winner from the work you received. The designers are essentially bidding on the job by submitting their best ideas. If you don't get something you love, you don't pay anything.
I almost feel guilty but they are all choosing to participate. Look, for some people in 3rd world countries several hundred dollars is like a month's pay. It's a terrible business model for them, but it's great for you! We received hundreds of entries from designers. Then we narrowed it down to our top 10, our top five, and we finally selected a winner. You can even work with the designers to incorporate different ideas from various designers if you like. It's a fast and easy way to tap some of the most creative designers from around the world who are hungry for your business!
What's more important than a logo?
Look, the bottom line is that a logo is important. It represents you. But it's not as important as making sure that you are super clear about answering the following questions:
1. Who is your dream customer and what are his or her deep-seeded wants and needs?
2. What mediums will you use to generate, develop and convert leads?
3. What is your compelling message?
If you are not clear about these things first, go back to the drawing board because a great logo is not going to help you.
In the end, I believe we came up with a logo that accomplishes our goals. I hope you like it too'
Always taking you from where you are to where you want to go,
Jon Goldman, President