Months ago, Marcus Sheridan wrote a stellar post about personal branding.
The topic of logo design came up. And there was some question on the relevancy of logos and if they’re even necessary.
This was November, 2011 and to be 100% honest, I’ve kinda changed my tune on this issue.
Considering that visual branding solutions is my business, you might be surprised to read that I think logos have lost a certain shimmer.
YES logos are an important component of a cohesive brand strategy.
BUT here’s the thing. As companies and organizations shift from more traditional forms of communication to the new, a lone visual symbol becomes less important.
And here’s why I’ve changed my thinking on this.
The small companies I work with are finally starting to embrace new media and content marketing. They’re catching up with larger corporations which have already started shifting from advertising products to telling a story.
The product benefits which used to define major brands are now less important than brand “worlds” which play on emotion. This is why everyone puts Apple up on a branding pedestal. They get it, and “it” is about WAY more than selling computers.
Their story goes beyond, color, typography, and even product. They are selling an experience and the result is one of the most maniacal and loyal fan bases on the planet, where consumers have become brand evangelists.
This is where we begin to see why the company ID has lost it’s significance, and this is now starting to trickle down to the smaller players in my little world.
A logo is still part of a complete branding solution, but in this wild and wonderful new media world things have changed. Standing out involves personality + value, whether you’re Volkswagen or Joe Bob Smith Accounting.
It’s about consistency across the board, from colors to effective content marketing, and it’s about something even more powerful.
Consider the following:
Mercedes-Benz. Try to visualize the logo. Can you see the familiar tristar?
Harley Davidson. What about their logotype? Does an icon pop up in your head?
If you could visualize the Harley logo, well bang-on old chap, but now I suspect you wear a leather jacket on weekends.
I couldn’t. I had to go to their website to see it.
But it doesn’t matter! Why? Because they’ve created a powerful, emotional realm and cult-like following, just like a certain computer company we know.
In fact, weekend warriors and Apple fan-boys alike are singing the praises of their favorite products. The respective brands are the Shiznits, spawning millions of chirpy salespeople and the brand gods are smiling.
If you took away the logo, would you confuse Bad Boy Harley with Honda, Suzuki or even Moto Guzzi? Nuff said, right?
Sure, we’re talking big players here, but small businesses are finally beginning to smell the new media scent drifting into their domain.
Logos are not dead, but they have lost their luster in this newfangled branding model. And this is hitting home, because the actions of the big boys are starting to trickle down to smaller companies, organizations and even individuals I work with.
So, this is less about the death of the logotype and more about a new paradigm which I welcome.
Yes indeed, I do welcome it, but my big question is: Do you?
Drop some wisdom in the comments below and let me know what you think.
Is the logo officially dead?
How do we translate consumer brand experiences to smaller businesses or individuals trying to make it online?