Question: How important is your logo?
Answer: More important to you than to the folks you’re trying to sell things to!
I believe that most companies spend WAY TOO MUCH time – and energy – and money, obsessing about brand colours and logos. And truthfully, consumers just don’t care. (With the possible exception of sneakers and clothing fads)
But what about SUPER FAMOUS LOGOS?
Sure, there are logos that many of us covet on our consumer goods – like clothing with certain brand logos. Or that apple on our laptop that tells the world we can afford the best.
But those enormous, highly recognizable brands didn’t build their success around a logo. It’s not like Steve Jobs sweated and strained to come up with that apple, then relaxed and put his feet up.
Good old Steve knew that a logo wasn’t going to do the heavy lifting. His focus was always on the customer experience.
“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” – Steve Jobs
And while we’re on the subject of super famous logos, let’s be honest… There are only a handful of brands most of us can name just by looking at their logo.
I know this because one of the mindless games on my iPhone is called “Logo Quiz”. And it’s shocking how hard it is to connect those logos with actual companies! Even when the logo itself feels famous, it’s a struggle to remember the brand it represents.
A logo is just an image.
At the end of the day, your logo is just an image. That’s it.
It can boost brand awareness and help people recognize you, but it doesn’t say anything about who you really are, what you stand for, or how your products and services can make someone’s life better.
Your logo only begins to have meaning after your company begins to have meaning. Once you are known for something – good or bad – people will start to associate your logo with the feelings they already have about your brand.
For example, your feelings about that Apple logo reflect your feelings about the Apple corporation.
I might argue that Steve Jobs would have gotten the same results if he’d chosen a pear, or a tree, or a shooting star.
Apple didn’t thrive because of their logo choice. And your company won’t succeed or fail based on superficial things like brand colours, or fonts, or logos.
So what’s “branding” if it isn’t about colours and fonts and logos?
A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.” – Seth Godin
Seth Godin‘s description is accurate, even if it’s a little more complicated than it needs to be.
At the end of the day, your brand is about perception. It’s about the feelings people have when they think about you.
To build a successful company, you need to focus on those people and their feelings:
- Who is your ideal customer?
- What are their pain points? (What do they want/need?)
- How can your product or service help them?
I offer a Free Ideal Customer Worksheet on my company website. It can help you figure out who your ideal customer is.
I highly recommend taking the time to DEEPLY understand your customer because that’s the BIG secret to great branding and marketing!
You can always “tweak” your logo!
I’m frequently surprised by how worried new business owners are about choosing the “perfect” logo. It’s NOT a tattoo!
If you decide that you don’t like your logo, you can change it later. In fact, companies tweak their logos all the time. Here’s an example of a logo “tweak” that makes sense:
The change reflects the direction the company is trying to move in. They clearly want to be associated with more than donuts and adapting the logo may help.
That said, the future success of the Dunkin’ brand doesn’t rest on the creativity of their logo design team! It will depend on the real changes they make to their menu, and whether or not those changes are embraced by real people.
Logos can’t create – or change – your brand reputation
Here’s another example of a logo tweak:
Personally, I like the new logo a little better. (The old one reminded me of the arcade game PacMan). But let’s be honest…
Changing that logo isn’t going to fix the problems facing Uber. It’s not going to make the company more profitable or create a better work environment for drivers.
In fact, focusing on stuff like logos and fonts at this moment feels a bit silly – and out-of-touch with the needs and wants of Uber’s investors, employees, and customers.
Going back to my earlier point:
Changing their logo is NOT going to fix the brand reputation problems plaguing Uber.
Conclusion: No one cares about your logo
I completely understand how easy it is to obsess about things like logos – especially when you’re in the startup phase.
It feels important to YOU because your company is your baby. It’s the centre of your universe.
But it isn’t that important to customers. An eye-catching logo might make someone reach for your product if they see it on a shelf. But if the product SUCKS, it sucks.
And if you’re selling services, I think the logo becomes even less important. (I’m pretty confident that I’ve never lost a bid because another service provider had a prettier logo).
Success is not dependent on a logo. Or brand colours. Or fonts.
Building a positive brand reputation and creating a business that grows and thrives over time requires you to dig deep into the needs and wants of your ideal client, create products and services that scratch their itch, and provide the kind of customer service that keeps them coming back for more.
If they like your logo… cool! (But it’s not worth obsessing over).