Get All Access for $5/mo

What Is a Logo? Just the Beating Heart of Your Brand, That's All. The fundamental logo is probably one of the most over-looked pieces of any business.

By Jim Joseph

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Bloomua | Shutterstock.com

I know we see literally hundreds of them all throughout the day, but what exactly is a logo? I'm betting most wouldn't be able to answer this question, at least not in a simple manner. A logo is a fundamental part of any brand and any marketing plan, yet it is probably one of the most over-looked pieces of any business.

Let's face it: we tend to take brand logos for granted.

So what exactly is a logo and what does it do?

At first glance, a logo helps us recognize a brand name and reminds of us of its existence, helping keep it top of mind. Without a logo, the product would certainly disappear. You can't really be a brand without a logo. Imagine trying to find Tide on the laundry detergent shelf if there wasn't a big orange Tide logo on all the packaging?

Related: The 7 Stages Of Branding

From a marketing perspective, though, logos do a lot more than just aid in recognition. Logos represent all that is important about the brand, and signals all of the promises it makes to its customers.

When we see the Coca-Cola logo, we think of all the emotions that Coca-Cola brings to us. We think happiness, Americana and maybe summer family picnics. This is likely true across cultures and in fact the sign of a truly effective logo is when it's recognizable in any language.

Logos also help to differentiate a brand within a category in that each brand tends to have its distinctive color, type treatment, and graphic design. No two logos can ever be alike, particularly within the same industry.

Can you imagine Tylenol not being red? Or UPS not being brown? Or Apple not having an apple?

Related: The Secret Ingredients to a Successful Branding Strategy

Logos also give us a short cut right to the emotional benefit of the brand. Logos spark an emotion in our minds of what that brand is all about. It's hard not to get inspired when you see a Nike logo, for example, especially if you are remotely athletic and a brand fan.

In many cases, the brand name doesn't even have to be a part of the logo in order to communicate the emotion.

The problem is that we tend to take brand logos for granted. We get so used to them that we don't even consciously notice them anymore. While they offer instant awareness and an immediate communication of an emotional benefit, they do tend to disappear from our view without us really knowing it.

Or do they?

While the conscious doesn't read them, the sub-conscious certainly does by drawing up memories of what the brand is all about. Which is why the logo is so important, and such a vibrant part of any brand.

As a small business owner and entrepreneur, you should think long and hard about your logo. Every element should be a conscious decision about how you want to communicate your brand and the emotional benefit you offer. Choose your color(s) wisely and make sure it's unique in your industry. Choose a special type treatment and any graphic design that conveys the energy of your brand, and what your customers receive from it.

Related: It's Not You, It's Your Story: Why Branding Matters

Designing your logo is likely one of the hardest things about your job, especially if you want it to work hard for you.

Jim Joseph

Marketing Master - Author - Blogger - Dad

Jim Joseph is the chief integrated marketing officer and president of the Americas for New York-based communications agency Cohn & Wolfe, part of the media company WPP Group PLC. He is the award-winning author of The Experience Effect series, teaches marketing at New York University, and is on the board of directors for the number one branding school in the country, The VCU Brandcenter. Joseph's new book, Out and About Dad, chronicles his unique journey as a father during a unique time in our cultural evolution.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Legal

Relocating Your Business Can Be Complicated — Here's Your Step-by-Step Guide to a Seamless Move

If you've decided to move your business to another state, there are specific processes to follow. Here's how to do it right.

Business News

Tesla Now Has Nearly 800 New Jobs Open — Up From Only 3 Roles in May

The job openings could indicate where Elon Musk wants to steer Tesla next.

Marketing

Don't Copy Big Brands to Increase Your Sales on Amazon — Do This Instead

I'm an Amazon Consultant, and if you want explosive growth, don't look to the big brands' listings for answers. Here's what you need to do instead.

Leadership

Build These 10 Habits to Become a True Leader (and Not Just a Boss)

This article explores the distinction between being a boss and being a leader, outlining ten key habits that transform mere management into true leadership.