Many people over look how important a logo truly is. But over the weekend the Hilary Clinton campaign released their logo for the new election season, and man was it met with backlash! It is a microcosm that shows how your logo can make you seem out of touch, and lack credibility very quickly in the eyes of people around the world. Using the mistakes they made, I want to take time this morning to go over how your business can avoid this type of backlash.
It is safe to say that your logo is the MOST important strategic marketing asset a company owns. A well done logo brings a lot to the table for your company in a small simple package. It gives you brand recognition, inspires trust, admiration, loyalty, and an implied superiority. All of these factors can largely impact how people see your company and how they will respond to your products and services. There is so much more than just a name and colors that needs to go into a logo. When you start to think about a re-brand or launching a fresh brand it’s vital you work with an experienced team that understands all that your logo means to help you get the full impact in the best light possible, and avoid a social media and marketing nightmare.
Before a brand can be built, everyone must look to use the same definition for the term “brand.” From our perspective, at Serious SEM we do NOT see corporate brand identities as:
The marketing message
A logo shouldn’t be used to say “what” a company does, it is not a tag line and you should not wrap a tag line into a logo in most cases. A logo is there to represent the company, to put a face on it, not to give a resume of products and services. Think about current logos that have strong brand recognition. Where’s the computer in the Apple logo? Does Toyota need a car or LG a phone in their logos? It may be relevant, but it is unnecessary. The mistake most people make is they try to market with their logo instead of marketing the logo itself.
A logo should be designed with longevity in mind; a simple classic icon is key. Being a trend hopper leads you to be a bad spot where many people might see a company that constantly changes its logo to follow trends as unstable, and that might create trust issues. Customers want to trust you, whether you’re selling car parts or a winning smile, the key to success is gaining people’s trust in you. What happens when the trend is no longer “the thing to do?” Once the logo is dated, it’s useless. This leads your brand from being trendy one day, to being old and un-hip the next morning.
Too complicated for all mediums
A logo should not have elements that are difficult to apply in different mediums. A logo should look the same on a TV screen, a computer screen, a post card, a newspaper, and a magazine. Slick effects and a stylish 3D look might appear great on your computer monitor, but when you print it in a grainy newspaper or trade magazine it can come out looking like crap. 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. The message your logo sends should never change, and should be just as impact-full across all marketing avenues.
A brand is the embodiment of an idea.
A brand is a thought process that potential customers buy into. If your logo were a person, is it one you would remember meeting a second time? This is the point a lot of people miss, and where you can quickly de-rail yourself. Looking at the logo created for Hilary Clinton’s campaign, you see where the subtle things in it derailed the whole concept.
Real World Example
- When looking at the Hilary logo that caused the stir this weekend, the first thing people noticed was how bland and dull it is. Some even compared it to old school word art, like kids use to spice up their reports in middle school and high school. Bland and dull is never a good first image for people to have about your brand.
- The next thing that is quick to see about the idea behind this logo that was not thought through fully by the design team is the colors and way the arrow points. For Hilary, who is a democrat, the brand of her party is the color blue and democrats are left leaning in their views. Her logo has a red arrow pointing to the right! Both the color and the direction of the arrow can be mistaken for the Republican Party. And as others on twitter have pointed out, the red arrow is breaking through two blue bars. Can you see that there is a major image issue with this logo?
- Another issue this logo has is how generic it is. You can find the same thing for a few dollars on shutter stock and morph it into something just like this. It lacks originality and creativity to stand out. It could easily be argued that the shutter stock logo is more interesting and has more depth than the one, I’m sure Hilary paid a ton of money for.
- The last point this weekend has brought to life, is how the look of your logo can be compared to other brands already on the market. Across major news outlets it has been compared to everything from World War II-era Hungarian fascist party logo, to fed-ex, and others have commented how it reminds them of a hospital road sign, to a copy of the red arrow used by wiki leaks. Not standing out is one of the worst things that can happen to a logo.
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 a creative strategy. Every communication, whether printed or electronic, it 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. You need to do your homework to create a logo that your customer’s will love and that you can embrace to show off your brand to the world.
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 market it serves.