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6 April 2021

Brand Identity - The different ways in which logos are perceived

Many companies go to great lengths developing their brand identity. A logo can say a lot about a company including its brand values, its heritage and its consumer. But after all this work developing a brand, how the logo is perceived by the end-user can be a totally different matter. The following article explains 4 ways in which a logo can be interpreted:

1. It is secondary to the service or product

There are products and services on the market that purely by definition are unique and do not need branding. They are instantly recognisable. Apple for instance, whose logo is now simply a symbol chooses to put its logo on the back of its products. The iconic design and shape of an Apple product dictates what it is, rather than relying on the logo. Another example would be Dyson, whose brightly coloured, translucent products are known globally. The Dyson branding is discreet, but the product is instantly recognisable.

2. It helps to sell the service or product

This is where competition in the marketplace is strong. The product is not unique. It has to compete against other brands for market position and therefore a strong logo, combined with clear brand values is all important. If we take packaged tea as an example, the factors behind purchasing that product could be based on taste, on heritage and also on price. Taste and heritage will be a governing factor for purchasing traditional brands such as Twinings, PG Tips, Tetley or Yorkshire Tea. Price and taste will govern own brands such as CO-OP Fair Trade, Tesco Original and Aldi Red Label. New brands emerging on the marketplace such as Tea Pigs, Clipper and Pukka will be reliant on their branding and packaging to entice new consumers away from the established brands. Therefore, here we can see that the logo not only attracts customers by being an established brand with the values that accompany that product, but if done well, it can also entice customers away from their normal go-to purchase.

3. It is more than the service or product

The world of fashion is a good indication of the strength of a brand. Consumers will pay large amounts of money to be seen in the latest or trendiest brand. Nike for example – is their footwear purchased because it is comfortable, or well-made, or because it is the latest model and is branded in such a way that it promotes itself. I think the latter would normally be the case. Fashion brands such as Ralph Lauren, Chanel, Gucci etc have all evolved into being a brand name rather than a product. The fact that these logos are copied or counterfeited shows that the strength of the brand is all in the name.

4. It helps establish a service or product

A logo does many things, but initially it helps define the name of a business. When a new company is started, following the decision of what that business is to be called, the next item on the agenda will always be a logo. Many factors will go into how this logo is designed, but essentially before a website, stationery, signage etc. can happen, the logo needs to be created. The brands stated above all started out as an initial idea. How these logos evolved and their perception by the consumer is down to many factors, but essentially all of these businesses required a simple logo at the initial stage of the company’s life.

Therefore, the logo is only a small part of how a company is branded, but it is always worth considering the bigger picture as to how this branding will be perceived by customers, not just at the outset, but in years to come. There are no rules as to how a logo will develop, but considering all the scenarios listed above, it is clear that a logo is certainly not just the name of a company.

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