The answer? More than you might realize.
Whether you manage a brand, represent a non-profit, are planning a startup or already own a business, your logo is one of the most valuable assets you have. An effective logo instantly connects your audience to your brand, serving as a visual shorthand for who you are and what you represent. Which is why it’s more important than ever to make sure your logo sends the right message and is a positive, accurate reflection of your brand promise.
To determine if your logo is assisting or impeding your mission and message, ask yourself the following six questions.
1. Is my logo sending the right message?
Let’s say, for example, you’ve identified your target audience as married males over 40 who are passionate about the outdoors and live in central Canada. Visual cues incorporated in your logo treatment—including font selection, color palette, shape, subject matter and more—can either attract that audience or repel it. Prospects should feel as if the logo is appealing directly to them. It should also be an accurate reflection of your brand and what you stand for. If those two aren’t both true, there is a disconnect and you might need to reconsider your positioning, your audience or your logo.
2. Will my logo “hold up” over time?
Unless you’re Coca-Cola and have a century of company history under your belt, your logo shouldn’t evoke the era in which it was designed. Today’s oh-so-hot design trend might work just fine for your current ad campaign, which is meant to run for a year, or even a quarter. But your logo must transcend the trend and not tie you to a particular time period. That cool style you loved in 2002 might scream “retro” to today’s consumer. A better, more versatile logo appears timeless and stands the test for multiple decades. It also saves you money by not periodically requiring costly updates of websites, printed materials, signage, apparel, etc.
3. Does my logo blend in, or stand out?
Unless you have an enormous advertising budget (hello, GEICO®) and can continually put your brand in front of millions of consumers every day, your logo needs to be distinctive, if you want your audience to recognize and remember it. An unusual shape, a custom font or a memorable combination of colors can help save you from the sea of sameness.
4. Is my logo unique to me?
Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but it can be a death sentence for your image. If your logo reminds people of another brand—especially a direct competitor—it may be more of a liability than an asset. Worse, you could be helping to build their business, not just your own. Conduct a visual audit of logos in your industry, to ensure you are distinctly positioned against the rest of the field. And don’t limit the study to your current market. Think bigger.
5. Is my logo trying too hard?
It’s true that your logo should encapsulate the essence of your business and its promise. But that doesn’t mean it needs to tell the whole story. It can’t, and it shouldn’t. Marketing offers myriad ways to communicate your story and develop your brand position. That’s not the logo’s job. Rather, when your logo consistently appears in conjunction with your brand messaging and imagery, over time it will take on that meaning—even when appearing alone. Which is how even the simplest of logos can eventually mean so much to their audience.
6. Am I hurting my logo?
One of the most common mistakes in branding is inconsistent logo usage. It will take much longer for your logo to build brand equity if it looks different from one application or venue to the next. What may seem like a harmless “tweak” to make your logo look better on, say, a pen, a sweater or a banner, can cause real and measurable damage to your brand. Inconsistent treatment of your logo not only makes it harder for your audience to recognize the company it represents, it actually makes you look unprofessional and substandard. So, avoid or eliminate superfluous alternate treatments of your logo, and whenever possible, use the standard version.
If you have concerns about your logo and what it is saying about you, our team would be happy to help you optimize your current logo or design a whole new brand identity. Just contact VistaComm today for a free consultation!