I recently gave a proposal to a well established industrial company that is considering a complete rebranding effort. Although hugely successful, their current logos (for multiple companies worldwide) do not reflect the image, personality or values of the company.
I classify a logo as THE most important strategic marketing asset a company owns. A well crafted logo communicates immediate brand recognition, inspires trust, admiration, loyalty, and an implied superiority. This is a design process that should not be taken lightly. There are many considerations that go into professional logo design that most people never think about.
Before a brand can be built, everyone must look to use the same definition for the term “brand.” From my perspective, I do NOT see corporate brand identities as:
The marketing message
A logo shouldn’t be used to say “what” a company does. A logo is there to represent the company, to put a face to an entity, not to give a resume of products and capabilities. Think about current examples of logos that have strong brand recognition. Where’s the computer in the Apple logo? Does Toyota need a car or Nokia a phone in their logos? It may be relevant, but it is unnecessary. Rather than using the logo to market, you market the logo itself.
A logo should be designed with longevity in mind. A simple classic icon is key.
Customers might see a company that constantly changes its logo to follow trends as unstable and that might create trust issues. What happens when the trend is no longer “the thing to do?” Once the logo is dated, it’s useless.
Too complicated for all mediums
A logo should not have elements that are difficult to apply in different mediums. Slick effects and a stylish 3D look might appear great on your computer monitor, but that doesn’t mean it’s great for everything else. A logo needs to be seen in different environments - on different monitors, in print, on signage, on small displays such as a cell phone - to make sure it communicates clearly in all mediums.
A brand is the embodiment of an idea. It’s a thought process that potential customers buy into. If your logo were a person, is it one you would remember meeting a second time?
Once the brand is defined, it needs to be established in the minds of the audience through consistent brand messaging. You must look to emphasize a brand’s position with creative strategy. Every communication, printed and electronic must consistently reinforce the overall brand approach. This allows employees, vendors and customers to quickly get their heads around it and in turn make it memorable to them.
A brand cannot be developed without considering the current makeup of an organization. A successful brand will always build on inherent strengths. This will ensure that the brand will ring true to anyone who comes in contact with it.
Changing the brand identity for a company that is already well established is no small undertaking. Although the process may seem challenging and yes… costly; it can mean a world of difference in creating an iconic symbol that is recognized, has longevity, and resonates with a company’s target audience, employees, vendors, and the markets it serves.
Kerry O’Malley is President and founder of Marketects, an industrial marketing communications agency based in Houston, TX. For over a decade Marketects has worked with numerous small to mid size manufacturing and industrial service companies and helped them increase brand recognition, move into new markets, and obtain new propsects through creative and targeted marketing communications. Prior to founding Marketects, Ms. O’Malley had a proven track record managing marketing communications in actual manufacturing and industrial service companies.