THE CLASSIC BIT OF FEEDBACK THAT ALL CREATIVES HATE TO HEAR. THE LOGO. HIDING IN THE CORNER, ONLY POPPING UP AT THE END, CHEEKILY HIDDEN ON THE APP. IF WE ALL BELIEVE BRANDS ARE MEMORY STRUCTURES BUILT-IN PEOPLE’S HEADS, THEN ARE LOGO’S THE GOLDEN NUGGET HIDDEN IN EVERYONE’S SKULLS? MEL ECKERSLEY MAKES THE CASE WE SHOULD EMBRACE THE LOGO, EMBRACE ITS IMPORTANCE AND IMPACT
When it comes to branding, you hear the same conversations over and over again in creative agencies. We don’t want to make the logo bigger. We don’t want to put it in the first 5 seconds. And we certainly don’t want to talk about it in a creative review.
But we should.
Because the logo is more than a piece of branding. It’s the single point of consistency for a brand, across products, markets and channels. Calling a logo a distinctive brand asset is like calling a human a mammal. Our relationship with logos is broken and I want to save it.
Step 1. Stop demoting logos by putting them in the same bucket as other distinctive assets.
The logo is so much more – and I think we’ve forgotten that. Especially now that brands have more fragmented meanings. There was a time when we could control people’s interactions with a brand. Now, our experience of a brand can come from an event, a sponsored piece of content, a chat with bot, a scandal, a game, a tweet. There are so many different touchpoints, that we end up having different impressions of the same brand.
The logo is the single point of objective consistency.
In Greek philosophy, logos was often personified as the source of order in the universe.
In Christianity, it referred to the eternal thought or word of God.
In the same vein, a logo is the beating heart of a brand. Without it, the brand would collapse.
It should hover high above, at the top of your ‘Brand Distinctive Assets’ hierarchy.
What goes underneath is frankly interchangeable:
Step 2. Take advantage of it.
Despite the headline you’ve heard a million times before, I’m not actually saying you should make it bigger.
I don’t even want you to put it in the first 5 seconds.
I want you to use it:
- In surprising moments in the customer journey
- In unconventional channels
- In small ways
- In big ways
Some of the most memorable adverts in the world use the brand logo in creative, surprising and interesting ways. Audi Spin is one of them. McDonald’s directions is another. Both brands are leaders in their categories.
Step 3. If your logo isn’t at the top of your hierarchy, change it.
What if it’s actually the logo that is the problem? If your logo isn’t the most obvious visual shortcut to your brand, then it’s probably not right.
Marketers test brand image religiously. So why aren’t we spending the same time and money testing our distinctive assets? If there is a symbol that describes the brand more succinctly than your logo, then isn’t it worth knowing?
I think, unfortunately, some brands out there look like this:
For example, look at these brands and decide what embodies them better:
The logo or the check?
The logo or the product?
In both cases, I’d argue the logo is outdated and does not describe the brand as succinctly as other symbols. New research from Let the Logo Do the Talking: The Influence of Logo Descriptiveness on Brand Equity show that logos that describe the brand are the most successful. The authors went ahead and analysed 597 logos to find that marketers aren’t taking advantage of the power of descriptive logos.
Look at your logo carefully.
Is it at the top of your Brand Distinctive Assets Hierarchy?
If it’s not, update it.
Use it often.
Use it creatively.