If you are starting a business, two of the first questions you might be wondering are: Do I Need a Logo? Do I Need a Slogan?
What are the logos for the following international corporations?
- Hilton Hotels
What are the slogans for the following global companies?
(be sure to check your answers at the end)
If you got just 6 out of 12 correct, you would be in the top 10% of the hundreds of people I have asked. So before I continue in this vein, two clients of mine recently received quotes for the branding of their small solopreneur businesses in the amount of approximately $4,000–$10,000 – JUST FOR BRANDING!!! Upon review, I only recommended to one of them to have professional branding done. For the other, it was completely unnecessary.
I am compelled to write this because I see so many business owners who attend my workshops, classes, or who hire me for coaching, who think that a slogan, logo, and even a business plan are required to start and develop a successful business.
Do I Need a Logo?:
In some cases, it is because they have spoken with ‘a friend in marketing,’ who has convinced them that they should create a logo for the purposes of brand identity and recognition.
Let’s turn this around…
Name the logo for any of the following individuals:
Tony Robbins, Wayne Dyer, Michael Gerber, Robert Kiyosaki, Deepak Chopra
Stumped? How about this: Simply write down their company names. Still stumped? You are not alone and are hopefully now starting to get the picture.
These individuals are the top professionals in the world in the coaching field. Yet almost no one – including me – has any idea what their logo, slogan, and even company names are!
Further, it is truly fascinating that the majority of people can name Apple’s logo, yet most don’t know what Microsoft’s logo represents (answer: an abstract four-pane window). Do you think that influences people?
The answer is possibly yes and possibly no… We would need to conduct a more thorough study on this to determine if there is a difference. And, although Apple continues to grow their market share, is it their logo that causes this? If MacBooks didn’t have the Apple logo on the back/front, would you still buy one?
Since beginning my business and life-coaching practice in 2002, I have worked with thousands of entrepreneurs on their branding. In most cases, I have found the old adage to be true: ‘the simpler the better.’
If you speak with some branding specialists, business coaches, and graphic designers, you might hear that you should have a logo and to make sure that you spend time and money on branding. Unfortunately, those individuals may not have your larger vision, mission, finances, or business at heart. They may be slightly biased as branding is what earns them their income and livelihood.
In contrast, as a business coach I have my clients’ highest interest at heart, and in some cases, recommend to clients to work on their branding, while for others suggest they hold off.
(More about my qualifications to speak about branding: My mother and father ran a successful advertising, marketing and design firm for years, and won awards for their creative and design work. From the age of 14, I grew up in that atmosphere, where proofreading resumes, designing ads, printing business brochures, and the like were daily activities. I’m even familiar with using the old Letraset transfer sheets! We had two printing presses in our basement, a darkroom, and amazingly, had one of the first supercomputers, called a CompuGraphic, that was about six feet in length, with a disk that was like a massive microfiche.)
To help to simplify your decision-making process, here are some criteria for determining if you need to invest in a logo, slogan, and other branding right now:
Branding is NOT needed RIGHT NOW if:
1. You are strapped for cash, and investing in this will take away from other, more important items like a computer, business cards, a business coach, and/or transportation or other business or personal costs.
2. The process and time necessary to get this going will cause you to question whether you should start your business or not.
Branding is NOT typically a two-minute process. It can take weeks, or even months depending on several factors: how large your vision is; how many people are involved in the project; and how complex the branding itself may be. If you need to get ‘working’ right away to bring in funds, it is okay to put branding on the backburner and add it to your list of To Dos, or consider it as an item to work on concurrently while you start your business.
3. You are running the business under your own name. **NOTE: I do recommend having a logo designed if you are running the company under your own personal name AND you can afford it. However, it is unnecessary to spend more than $1000 maximum on logo creation. Some companies charge a minimum of $5000 – and some of what they come up with is, well, crap (pardon my English)!
With a little time invested into research, you will be able to find a graphic designer who can develop a logo for less than $1000. The ones who are charging more than $1000 are likely firms and, of course, they may have multiple people working on your one logo. In most cases, this just isn’t necessary for a solopreneur.
In sum, a logo IS beneficial if you already have a very strong opinion about a design that you already came up with and can find someone to create it for you at a reasonable cost. One of the most beautiful logo designs I have seen is by the graphic designer with whom I worked – who charges less than $1000 for a logo (depending on complexity). So if you decide that you need a logo from the outset, it is possible to have one developed economically.
(Be sure to read my other article “What You Need to Know Before Developing a Logo” for tips on developing a logo if you know for sure it is imperative for marketing purposes that you do – this article should be available soon!.)
To Slogan or Not to Slogan: Do I Need a Slogan?
A proper slogan, or unique selling proposition (USP), is typically a phrase of 7 words or less that describes a company’s purpose that is also ideally catchy and therefore memorable. For example, Nike likely has the most well-known slogan in the world – “Just Do It.”
The vast majority of people, however, would be hard pressed to remember most companies’ slogans. On the whole, most company slogans are either never heard or rarely remembered, including even the largest of brands in the world. If most people have trouble remembering even the most well-known slogans, what does this say for your small business?
For this reason, I suggest coming up with a slogan ONLY if it allows your business to stand for something important and is therefore extraordinary, OR, if instead of a slogan, you use words. If you view my logo here: www.joshuazuchter.com, you will see the three words that truly reflect me and my work. In the past, I employed a proper slogan, but realized that although it was very accurate, no one was really paying attention to it – they were paying attention to me instead. A phrase in the form of a sentence may also be less memorable than a simpler and more impactful three words.
The Discover Channel’s slogan, for example, is “Grab Life by the Globe.” I personally think that this is an excellent slogan because it brings in some playfulness to their marketing, which has the potential to come off as purely scientific and flat. This slogan also matches their logo beautifully.
As the Discovery Channel is also a very public and recognized brand, having a logo is very advantageous. Once you have watched a show on the Discovery Channel and have seen their logo, it is fairly easy to spot and recognize it again in the future. As their programming is very niche, it also means that each time you see their logo, their messaging and vibe comes through.
But is a slogan necessary for business?
Despite it being of great value for some large, well-known brands, a slogan, unless it is extraordinary, is not necessary for a company to succeed or become known.
Therefore, I typically recommend to many small businesses to hold off on a slogan (and a logo, for that matter), until they have settled into their business and have become very clear about their vision and focus.
The name of your company IS of great importance, and that really should be where your most concerted attention is invested. I also believe colour choices are important, both for a logo and a name if printed on letterhead.
By focusing your efforts in the early days of your business on establishing yourself and your vision, you’ll naturally progress to the point where you can work with the right professionals to develop a meaningful logo and slogan that will last for years to come and that will reflect and project what your business is really all about.
Branding Answers (as of April 14, 2014):
The logos for the following international corporations?
- Apple -an apple
- McDonald’s -the red M (golden arches)
- Sony -the word Sony
- Nissan -the word Nissan on silver backing
- Microsoft -red, green, blue, and yellow squares in a square
- Subway -the name Subway with arrows coming out of S and Y
- Hilton Hotels -the letter H with a circular swirl through it above the word Hilton
What are the slogans for the following global companies?
5. McDonald’s –I’m Lovin’ It
- Starbucks -There is no current slogan!
- Sony -a new slogan: Be Moved
- Nissan –Innovation that Excites (a new slogan released with one of their automobiles)
- Microsoft -abandoned their last slogan last year: ‘Be What’s Next’