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Things that are more important than logos

Danny Ruspandini - Impact Labs Australia
Danny R.

We all know that branding is not just a logo, but it's often not limited to just visual stuff either.

Humans have 5 senses, and many brands influence more than one of these.

It's worth talking about just how unimportant a logo can be, because it's the thing that often attracts a spectacularly irrational amount of time, opinion and emotion.

This is probably good time to throw in that famous quote that’s been rehashed so many times the original is probably long lost (or I just can’t remember it): “You are not your customer, so don’t create stuff for you... create stuff for your customer”. Or something to that effect.

Essentially, your own opinion about your organisation's logo is probably pretty irrelevant if all it’s driven by is your own personal design preference. There are exceptions of course, but I’ll bet you can think of someone (maybe you?) who has spent way too much time analysing a logo.

Consider how often you don't think about a logo. For me:

  • If someone says "Intel" I don't see a logo - I hear the four-bing jingle.
  • If someone says "Nutella" I don't see a logo - my mouth waters and I want some.
  • If someone says "Ducati" I don't see a logo - I hear a distinct motorcycle sound that doesn’t sound like other motorcycles.

I have friends who can name - by name- a perfume fragrance that someone is wearing, as in "Ahh, that's Chanel No. 5" (which is mind-blowing to me, but apparently lots of people recognise Chanel No.5 - my sense of smell is rubbish). My wife remembers the rosy cheeks in the Vegemite ad from the 80s. I listen to a podcast called “This Working Life” - I’m sure they have a logo but ¯\(ツ)/¯.

In the Ducati example, there’s a good chance that doesn’t resonate with you if you’re not a motorcycle fan... safe to say I’d qualify as their “target market”, and they know their logo is not the most important thing to me. When I hear the distinct sound of a Ducati motorcycle in the distance, my head starts darting around trying to catch a glimpse.

Of course not all brands appeal to multiple senses - many don't need to. But it's a good reminder of how much other stuff your customers are thinking about, and how insignificant your logo is in the grand scheme of your organisation.

There are also a bunch of other ‘senses’ us humans have that aren’t covered in sound, sight, taste, smell, or touch - things like feelings, gut instincts, tiny hairs on the back of our necks. Clever marketers know how to appeal to these.

Some organisations just feel more awesome to buy from. They give you a sense of pride, or exhilaration, or accomplishment, or community.

So to un-ramble...

How your organisation helps people is infinitely more important to them than your logo.

Of course it needs to look good. Of course it needs to be consistent. Of course it needs to work properly on socials, on mobile, in black and white, on the side of a gleaming motorcycle tank. But this should all be in service to your customers, not your ego.

What it really doesn’t need is a committee of personal preferences.

Just know that there will never be a logo that guarantees delivering what your customers need help with - spend your time there and when you’re done, spend more time there.

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