Building your brand encompasses a range of activities that are focused on a common goal: creating strategic positioning for your company. Many elements go into brand development including your copy style, layouts and colors, and core messaging. But perhaps nothing is quite as compelling, or can have as significant an effect, as your logo. Once you've designed your logo, your work has just begun; you need to creatively use it to ensure maximum exposure to your target market.
The consistent use of your logo on everything that emanates from your company is an important way to brand your company that shouldn't be overlooked. At its highest level, a well-branded logo can stand on its own to represent a company (e.g., McDonald's golden arches). That familiarity certainly doesn't happen overnight, but is a byproduct of the frequent, repetitive and often creative use of the logo.
The "Now" Generation
Given the age in which we live, the importance of logos has probably never been as high. We don't read; we scan. We don't research; we surf. We want information quickly, at a moment's notice, and we don't want to sort through meaningless data to find what we want. A logo can actually be considered a shortcut--a way to quickly memorialize everything your company stands for without infringing on the "now, now, now" aspect of today's consumers.
It almost goes without saying that your logo must be supported with strong messaging that represents your company's core values. An image alone only goes so far to define a company, but when it's combined with other brand attributes, and is "out there" on a frequent basis, the messaging ultimately seeps into the logo. Nike has done an excellent job of branding its swoosh, so much so that "Just do it" is synonymous with its use.
Your goal should be to have a memorable logo that evokes your company's messaging, but you have to start somewhere. Even if your logo isn't well known, using it in creative ways will help build familiarity and generate interest in learning about the brand behind it.
Remember that the goal isn't necessarily to saturate the entire market with your logo, but to make sure your target audience gets a heavy dose of it. Be savvy in choosing opportunities and strategies that are relevant for your company. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
1. Sponsor industry events. Regardless of your industry, it's probably associated with a number of organizations and/or special events like trade shows and seminars that draw your competitors as well as potential partners and customers. Sponsorship opportunities can range from the very affordable to the obscenely expensive, with your company getting publicity based on its level of investment. It can be quite valuable to have your logo included on event banners, programs and other marketing materials.
2. Sponsor local sports teams. Organizations from Little League to weekly bowling leagues are always looking for support from the community. Determine which organizations offer the best exposure to your target customers and provide contributions--money, equipment and/or volunteers--in exchange for having your logo appear on their uniforms, scoreboards or other marketing materials.
3. Use promotional products...cleverly. Most people have plenty of pens and pads of paper imprinted with company logos. Almost anything you can think of can be personalized to promote your company, so be creative and put your logo on items that make sense for your product or service. Pest control? Think fly swatters. Sporting goods? Think Frisbees.
4. Incorporate your logo into your packaging and/or collateral. If your company offers a product, be sure your logo is prominently represented on the packaging. Definitely think outside the box; if you use tissue paper, for instance, order some imprinted with your logo. If your company provides a service, be sure your logo is prominently placed on all your collateral pieces and everything else you leave with potential customers, including business cards.
5. Mobilize your logo. You don't need delivery trucks to use vehicles as a way to publicize your logo. Have your sales team affix logos to their cars so they're a mobile publicity force. This is an especially valuable strategy if your company is located in an urban area where drivers are often caught in stop-and-go traffic, and thus have time to notice the vehicles around them.
Don't discount the importance of your logo as part of your brand identity. Remember that the swoosh and the golden arches were once unfamiliar to most people, but they're now images known to just about everyone...because they've been smartly branded.