Thursday, December 08, 2011

Logo as an expression of brand identity

Because of their essentially visual form, logos exert considerable influence on the way that customers perceive and react to a brand. 

Their aspirational value is amply demonstrated in the power of global brands, such as Nike, to inspire a credible fashion statement for the wearers’ of garments prominently displaying its swoosh logo. But an ill chosen logo can have a detrimental affect. When some years ago British Airways phased out the stylized Union Flag in favour of ethnic art on the tail planes of its fleet of aircraft, there was ridicule that they had substituted graffiti. The Prime Minister went so far as to drape a tissue over the offending logo on a model aircraft in the new livery she had been invited to inspect . Credibility is a key to a successful logo. 

For b-2-b marketers logos are not a fashion statement or prominently displayed to the public, but appear on stationery, business cards, sales literature, web site and on products. The logo symbolizes the company and as such must convey expertise and trust in the company. Research studies have shown that the content of a message is credible if the source is itself credible and trusted. The logo must visualize the brand values and communicate these to the customer. One expert has identified three main styles that most logos conform to - the name only, the monogram and a symbol - above or to the left of the company name. 

Words only and monograms limit the ability to express credibility traits, whereas the symbol, well executed can be interesting and express authority. Just as with advertising keep to a single message, the temptation to build too many ideas into the image can confuse rather than project a clear communication. Colour too is important and practical needs for adequately repeating the logo in various media and on products needs careful planning. 

Logos must then be applied consistently, without variation to build both awareness and a positive perception of the enterprise through the visual expression of everything the business stands for. So designing a logo is not a task to be undertaken lightly. A strong logo, properly used can support and develop the brand. A poorly executed logo can undermine a company’s credibility and trust.

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