It’s important to look at your brand and the way your company is marketed every year and ask whether it’s time for a change. You need to consider whether a change is necessary because your business is growing, or because it is heading in a new direction and wants to attract a new audience. Or perhaps you want to update your branding to be considered ‘modern’ and ‘digital’.
If one of these sounds like you, then it’s time to think about what a new logo can do for your business. But before starting such a major project, there are a few things to consider that ensure you get the logo right.
Do customers (and potential customers) recognise and respond to your logo?
Your logo is visual shorthand for your company. Think of some of the world’s most famous logos. Coca-Cola, Apple, McDonalds. Whenever you see these logos you know that they stand for something – you know the type of product or level of service that you’re going to get. Your company may be smaller than Apple but your logo is no less important. Think about this: How much recognition does your logo have with your customers and potential customers? Has it been in use for a long time and would they miss it if it changed?
The only way to find out what people think of your logo is to ask them! Question existing or prospective customers, partners or clients using an online or in person survey. Ask them questions such as:
- Do they recognise your logo?
- Do they know how long the logo has been around?
- Do they think the logo is in need of a refresh?
- What do they think the logo currently represents?
- Do they know why certain colours have been used or a specific shape or animal is featured?
It’s important to ensure that the sample size is big enough to really get a feel for what people think, and it’s perhaps worth trying out other ways of extracting information such as a market research exercise where consumers can debate among themselves about the merits of your logo.
Does your logo work in a variety of mediums?
While you may have designed your logos for use on business cards in the past, the same logo may not have the same impact on the web, or indeed in any other digital format. It’s best practice to have logos that have an element of flexibility so that when they show up on local TV adverts they can animate or move from the name of your brand to the logo itself seamlessly. Many brands have second logos that are synonymous with the brand without having the name imprinted on it.
The best way to get flexible logos, with various different versions of the same logo, is through brainstorming sessions with creative and design agencies and shortlisting a number of the best ideas. Then organising an internal poll to decide which is the best set of logos, or go direct to customers to ask them what they think. For secondary logos, you could conduct an online survey of several options, which asks consumers what brand the secondary logo belongs to; the one that most people pick could be a good choice to use on smartphone apps, for example.
Does your logo have any association with what you do?
Your logo should give some indication of what your business does. An undertaker’s logo shouldn’t use a whimsical font and a child party entertainer’s logo should scream fun. Maybe your business has pivoted since its inception and the logo that served you well in the past doesn’t represent where the business is today. To analyse if the logo communicates the information appropriately, you should take three steps:
- Organise a group of individuals (this could be in-house designers or creatives, or external experts) to analyse the logo. Ask them which parts have an association with what you do and which parts don’t
- Ask the team if there is anything missing from the logo
- Decide what should remain (if anything), what can be removed and what should be added to the logo.
Does your logo look timeless?
Your logo doesn’t have to look as timeless as the Bass logo – the first registered trademark – but it needs to not look dated in 3 years.
Some of the easiest ways to modernize your logo and make it timeless are:
- Strip it back; remove unnecessary writing, images, and colours – modern logos have a minimalist feel to them.
- Make the design easy to follow. Older logos had a number of shapes and words in a confusing order. A person on the street should be able to recognize the brand without having to read a mantra written around the brand name.
What kind of investment will you need to make?
The last thing to consider before changing your logo is how much will it cost. Consider costs for creative work by agencies or more budget-friendly online services that can help you do-it-yourself or connect you to freelance designers directly; the actual cost of printing any new materials: brochures, business cards etc, the time it will take to physically make those changes, and the time it will take to educate your employees. Most important of all, you’ll need to communicate the change to your customers – if they recognise you now, you’ll have to make sure they recognise you in the future. Whatever your logo.
Leapfrog your competition by making sure your IT keeps up with your new and improved logo. Find out how to future-proof your technology as well as your branding.