Researchers at University of Minnesota found that a prestige logo on even a mundane product generates confidence. For the young child, the right logo might be a picture of Hello Kitty to impress friends, while for the teenager, the choice could be a rock star or special heartthrob. The Minnesota researchers were evaluating what happens with adults, and determined a Massachusetts Institute of Technology logo works well.
However, as you let go of the unprofitable logo, take care that you don’t make things worse. When clothing retailer Gap Inc. introduced a new logo in 2010, the reaction was monumentally negative. Within a week, Gap announced they were keeping the old logo.
Tropicana Pure Premium orange juice changed logos to the new and then back again. The old one was a straw sticking into an orange. The new one was a glass of orange juice. It wasn’t that an overwhelming majority of shoppers liked the old image better. It was that Tropicana soon discovered the most vehement objections to the change were coming from their most faithful customers. You never want to offend your fans.
Of the suggestions given in the MoneyWatch posting, here are two supported by experimental research:
- Design it to appear consistently in a variety of formats. You could be using the logo on business cards as well as posters. It could be appearing in grey scale as well as in living color. However, the MoneyWatch advice was incomplete: It said to always make the logo easy to interpret. Research at Boston College finds that easy interpretation works if you want your logo to primarily project trustworthiness. But a logo that takes a little effort to figure out works better if you want to project innovativeness to consumers interested in innovation.
- Be distinctive. Researchers at Rutgers University, California State University-Long Beach, and Ohio State University measured the proportion of study participants who think exclusively of one brand’s products when asked about a given brand name. They found that a single exposure to a logo similar to the logo for the given brand name, but for a different business, diluted exclusivity about 35%. Logos should carry identity.
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