In this series, we have examined the most critical roles logos play in your branding. Firstly, they deliver at a glance the basics of your company to your potential customer. Simultaneously, they create a memorable impression of what your company can provide for the solution to the customers’ problem. Then, they refine your brand to the audience fine-tuning your identity to the psychology of media and their emotional response to them.
In this Part 4 of the series, we will examine how your logos can create an anchored position for your company, establishing a broad visual presence, in a distinctive style, of the prospective solutions customers can expect to find for their problems.
MOULDING THE FOCUS
Your company, like most others, mould the focus of your message into the mission and vision of your business image to prospective customers and stakeholders to leave a positive impression to them. If you deal with tangible or concrete services, the logos will use them in the design to identify your company. With abstract concepts, like investment services or advertising or creative services, the logos will offer clues to your essential character, establishing a visual presence in a refined and anchored position to get your company noticed.
In the process of identifying your company, logos communicate known factors, such as products or services with concrete, tangible recognitions, or abstract impressions of your business if there is no familiar symbol to use as a focal point. The designers’ goal will be to discover an elusive image to attract the attention of your prospective client and communicate the position your company wants to transmit.
An excellent way to start getting sources on the client’s attention would be to ask those prospective clients what they would like to find in your company and use that research to create the intended impression on your logo. Another way would be to ask the business management where they would like to be in another five years. What do they anticipate to do with their business? Do they intend to diversify their interests? Do they want to keep on developing the central core of business more? Look for the emotional responses to those questions. And do try to sketch some ideas soon after you hear their reactions as you are trying to capture their first impressions.
WHAT DO WE MEAN BY ANCHORED POSITION?
I almost would like to translate this sentence to the pure word of TRUST. Just as your business practices need trust and credibility, your logo, that is so instrumental in identifying the message of your business, also should need them. It is the responsibility of the designer to manipulate the various elements of trust your company offers to create this perception of credibility on your logo.
This perception of credibility needs to be portrayed clearly in the logo. This anchored position of trustworthy traits is a warranty that your customer will trust your brand. Besides that, reliable traits vary from business to business. For instance, IT workers might prefer to be known as ‘innovative and cutting-edge‘. Aged care workers as ‘personalised care and friendly’. So the logo and the other tools in your branding strategy should be continuously communicating your company’s trustworthy traits.
In a study conducted by academics from Britain, trustworthiness and trust were studied in their influences and implications towards the cognitive and emotional dimensions of trust. As they mention, trust plays a pivotal role in the exchange relationships, which are part of the marketing process. Those relationships would not exist without the building of mutual trust and credibility.
Given the importance of trustworthiness in business strategies, it is understandable that most companies dedicate a lot of their development towards the building of a conceptual model where trustworthiness is an essential part of each business area, such as:
- Expertise and competence
- Integrity and consistency
- Shared values
- Concern and benevolence
to reproduce into the cognitive trust and emotional trust in the organisation. So, now we can ask this very challenging question:
HOW DO YOU CREATE A LOGO THAT REFLECTS TRUST AND CREDIBILITY?
Dr William Haig has applied credibility principles to the process of logo design. He has called his approach as credibility-based logo design. According to Dr Haig, logos that show credibility traits have the unique ability to augment brand loyalty. Applying the trustworthiness traits aptly into the logo mark produces a visual demonstration of the company’s credibility character qualities.
CREDIBILITY-BASED LOGOS DESIGN STRATEGIES
Credibility-Based Logos are based on four strategies:
Logos must be credibility-based.
Credibility-based logos are based on the principle that when organisations are credible, they are more persuasive. Therefore, logos as the first identity message, need to portray the company as a competent, knowledgeable, expert in its field of business and at the same time, identify the company as trustworthy. This process will allow the message to be more persuasive. To sum up, they will have a basis for being what it is.
Logos must symbolise the company business as the first step
Tangible, physical products would be relatively more comfortable to symbolise. In comparison, abstract, intangible products or services do normally require more creativity, but a good professional designer can do it. Therefore, the logo and the company name should work together to create credibility. Some names, like, Book Depository, already express what the company does but others like, for example, Habasco, do not, and, on that account, need a complement to represent their business service. Here we are mainly talking about small/medium companies. Of course, those rules do not apply so rigidly to big companies (such as Coca-Cola, Apple, Nike) where most people recognise what product or service they represent.
United Way logo, designed by Saul Bass, symbolising “helping hands” and “hope”
Logos must be designed to communicate a company’s trustworthy traits
It gets a bit trickier. As a consequence, you will need to translate trustworthy traits as a design element. And, besides that, all companies, as we mentioned before, will have its own planned and defined credibility traits. Thus, their own unique credibility-based logo design. Or, in other words, their unique way to project the company as credible to achieve its business goals.
One significant effect of this credibility-based logo approach is that it increases the understanding as to how and why the logo design will more effectively communicate the message to the receivers to induce action. As Dr Haig proposed, “create a logo that will be effective as a sales tool based on communication persuasion principles”, or, to put in another way, help persuade.
Colours used in logo design must convey credibility
In addition, colours must be selected to match the trustworthy traits. On a previous blog, we examined the values of colours to logo design. Usually, colours emphasise traits that are related to the companies’ messages. It means that working with credibility-based logos strategy implies working with the desired traits even in colour. For instance, in our culture, some connotations between colours and communication are:
The logo design, besides colours, also affects message style and image of the media selected in the creation of all marketing communication. It must express with consistency in all marketing communication tools. For example, the IBM logo, designed by Paul Rand, is a classic example where the company personality is expressed with consistency, in all means of communication.
WHY LOGOS MATTER TO YOUR BUSINESS
We have seen that logos are the essence of your brand and logos do matter to your brand. Every step we have examined has proven to show that creating an effective logo is not simple. You, indeed, can’t do it in 5 minutes, as some websites proclaim.
There are, definitely, essential things you will need to choose, such as colours, images, shapes, that will be part of an extremely crucial element of your branding. They will have to be consistent and flexible for all different kinds of media. More than that! They will have to be memorable. And credible.
Even if you think you have a right eye for design, it is still worth consulting a professional for the finished product. They will help you produce a functional logo with the right shape and colours that will not be detrimental to the brand appeal to your target audience.
Logos might be small images, but they are powerful things. They are a valuable, crucial asset in your strategy for communication awareness.
LET’S BRIEFLY SUMMARISE
Logos that speak for themselves
Poorly developed logos are quickly picked up by the audience. Moreover, you want to make sure that you are communicating the correct message with a visual representation that embodies your brand in the right light.
Good logos are memorable and appealing
They will be inviting in all media, in the black and white spectrum, or with attractive colours, to your desired audience. Essential key elements would be:
- Memorable, bold and appropriate
- Immediately recognisable
- Provides a consistent image of your organisation
- Communicates the organisation’s persona
- Legally protectable
- Has continuing value
- Works well across media and scales
- Works both in black-and-white and in colour
Logos differentiate you from the competition
A good logo should reflect who you are, but it should differentiate you from the others. So, dare to be different to set your business apart from the competition.
Good logos support brand loyalty
If your logo is promoting a company with a high quality of service and ethical core values, it will be a company to follow and trust. Logos help persuade messages that identify the company. These messages have the intention to cause a specific action, that could be, either sale, use of service, sharing, or the building of loyalty.
Logos can be everywhere
From websites to products, to business cards, to newsletters, invoices, ads, packaging, social media, and more. Make sure, again, to see if your logo does look appealing in all those sizes and media. As it goes everywhere, the logos take with them your company’s mark and your message.
It is the only first impression
First impressions matter. A great logo will set you apart; it will be memorable and will assist you in the building of your following. We desire that you create a strong brand identity with your unique message and not just a beautiful picture!
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