Most marketers, designers, and consultants understand that there’s far more to a brand than a logo, but that doesn’t mean that logos don’t matter.
Your brand is the intersection between the promise you make to stakeholders, and the reputation (or lack thereof) you’ve earned in their minds. That reputation emanates from their interactions with your products, your prices, your offices, your stores, your staff, your partners, and anything else that is associated with you. And 99% of the time, their experience with you begins with your product or corporate name and logo.
So how important are that name and logo? Only as important as a first impression.
Whatever you want your brand to stand for in the marketplace, you want to start building that position from the moment someone sees or hears about your offering. While we agree wholeheartedly with Seth Godin that a logo alone doesn’t change marketshare, we couldn’t disagree more about researching a logo’s effectiveness.
How else can you know what impression you’re likely to create with your target audience?
Moreover, how much goodwill do you give up by not involving internal stakeholders in the decision-making process? Quite a bit, Mammoth Mountain appears to be finding out the hard way.
With the proliferation of online tools, research (both quantitative and qualitative) doesn’t have to be expensive. One certainly needn’t spend months and millions to find out whether a design is accomplishing an objective or not.
Additionally, the support created by soliciting internal stakeholders’ opinions pays dividends that far outweigh the costs. Employees who are proud of their company’s logo and its brand can be its most powerful ambassadors, and interactions with them can be extremely powerful brand touch points.
Finally, logo research can and should do much more than eliminate outliers. Done right, a logo is a solution to a communications challenge - you want it to express or underscore your value proposition. If you want to be known as the fast company, does your logo communicate speed? If you want to be known as service oriented, does your logo evoke a sense of high-touch? If you want to be a progressive organization, is your logo exhibiting leading-edge characteristics?
A logo alone won’t guarantee success, and a great product or company can make a neutral or even questionable logo seem inoffensive or even great in retrospect (sorry Seth, but Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks fall into this category). But if you’ve only got one chance to make a first impression, shouldn’t you use all the tools at your disposal to make it the best one you can?