Ugly logos mean an ugly brand. Who needs that?

By Tom Dougherty


Corporate identity must agree with your brand

Your corporate identity is all about your company and services. It creates space between your company and the competitors. When properly executed, it positions you as different and better than the competition. .

The logo

Corporate identityYour logo is more than corporate identity. It represents your brand. While corporate identity is about you, the brand is about the prospects you need to influence. Stealing Share melds these two identities into a single idea. (Read about how to make a logo great here).

So, if you need to steal market share, your logo or mark needs to represent your company as true and mirror the emotional intensity of your prospects and customers. Being true to yourself is the easy part. You KNOW your company. Reflecting your customers and prospects values is complicated.

Delusion is not a brand strategy

Never assume anything. Companies drink the Kool-Aid and live self-fulfilling dreams. Assuming the prospect cares about what you believe matters is a fatal failure. Projectable and blinded research is necessary to discover the truth. Why the customer chooses can be eye opening. It may require a rethinking of your corporate identity. In customer switching behavior, your brand is more important than your corporate identity.

What makes a logo and logo mark memorable?

These are absolute truths. A logo mark must represent a strategy as well as corporate identity. When seen in context with your messaging it must convey the brand strategy.

So, design your LOGO MARK to convey the brand strategy. As a result, it is more difficult than just aesthetics. It requires more skill than just great design. (Read: Does it make sense to create a 3D logo.)

A logo rule to live by

Corporate identityEven without a strategy, designing a logo requires simplicity. Most designers miss this. They create a logo or mark with more than one focus. A logo can’t have more than ONE violator. A violator is a design trick that makes the mark different. Some designers refer to these violators as tricks. A logo, they say, can’t have more than one trick.

One trick or violator is another way to talk about being single-minded. Multi-tasking is a lie. No one can do it. No logo can multi-task either. It can convey only one message with clarity.

Different and better

Your strategic logo says who you are for as well as your corporate identity. It speaks to the emotional connection to your prospects and customers. Create your logo to persuade. Incorporate your difference with the switching trigger and you are on to something.

Here is an example that is WRONG on so many levels

First National Bank (with HQ in Pittsburgh) recently bought NewBridge Bank, a small regional bank in North Carolina. NewBridge had gone through its own rebranding a few years back. It merged with FNB Southeast and Yadkin bank. First National Bank is a super regional bank. Not a national or international bank but its footprint crosses state borders.

A merger or rebranding is an opportunity to revisit your brand and logo. That’s what NewBridge did. Signage change is part of a merger or acquisition. So, the costs of change are baked in. First National Bank ignored this opportunity in its continual growth by acquisition strategy. It stuck their its poorly designed logo on the acquired banks.Corporate identity NewBridge Bank

The First National Bank Logo

The First National Bank Logo lacks focus. Taken on face value, it says friendly and American. Both values are the very definition of a bank in the US. 99% are American banks and ALL claim to be friendly. Not only are the claims benign and unpersuasive, the logo looks amateurish and expected.First National Bank logo and corporate identity

The logo lacks focus because it expresses no point of view. It has two violators and your eye does not know where to look first. It’s a cacophony of noise. They gave no consideration to incorporating switching triggers in the mark. There is no strategy. Obviously, this bank grows through acquisition and not through organic growth.

They ignored the opportunities in mergers

Corporate Identity and First National BanksFirst National Bank squandered the chance to create a different corporate identity. The name itself, First National Bank, is mundane.

As a result, a quick google search returned the banks on the left— All First National Bank. It is a mishmash of brand names all claiming the same space. Today, they might not compete geographically. But they lost the importance of being distinct.

Even the advertising is mundane. It highlights table stakes. And produced cheaply. A table stake is simply a value that EVERY player in a category must have. In this case— on-line banking.




The corporate identity take away

Never put your brand design and brand needs in the hands of amateurs. Strategy drives all identity and brand change. That strategy focuses on persuading potential customers to switch. Brand and logo development are more than just appealing designs. They are powerful statements.


Read about the elements in rebranding here.

Your Brand as a marketing tool

Brand is more than just a logo