Why A Clever Logo Matters

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The FedEx logo has a hidden message. Does it matter?

In a blog post called “25 logos with hidden messages – Amazing Graphic Designing tricks!” Charlie Johnson, the author, talks about what makes a logo a good marketing tool. He says:

…make your logo look more conceptual and clever using the graphic designing tricks. As it is said, a logo should not be a plain looking symbol…it should reflect you and your company’s personality.

From a marketing perspective it is important that logos—and all corporate communications like letterhead, business cards, signage, etc…—reflect the company’s personality.

This is part of a company’s positioning.  The definition I like to use is:

Positioning is the representation of what a product or service does in comparison to the competition. Positioning strategies typically focus on the affect on the consumer (i.e. is healthier, saves money) or how it is differs from (read: is superior to) that of the competition (uses less water, gets better gas mileage).

Marketing is all about positioning—how you define your product or service for your customer. What’s the value you’re creating for them? And how do your green initiatives relate to your overall marketing message? According to an article in Environment Magazine: “Research indicates that many green products have failed because of green marketing myopia—marketers’ narrow focus on their products’ ‘greenness’ over the broader expectations of consumers or other market players (such as regulators or activists).”  The authors define five fundamental benefits that consumers associate with green products and services:

•    Health and safety.
•    Convenience.
•    Efficiency and the associated cost savings.
•    Performance.
•    And (sometimes) status.

The key to successfully marketing your greenness involves leveraging these core benefits. That means focusing your green marketing efforts not solely on environmental attributes or customer satisfaction, but on both. All green products and services can gain from focusing on some or all of these five benefits. And, if your products and services don’t seem to embody any of them—say your product is produced in a way that uses less water but consumers can’t see that—you can bundle your product features with one or more of the five benefits to create a compelling value proposition. For example, in addition to promoting the absence of the controversial ingredient, aluminum, Tom’s of Maine deodorants are also positioned as safe, natural, long-lasting and highly effective in fighting odor (Where’s all that in their logo?) So the company’s marketing message extends beyond greenness to appeal to other attributes people expect from a good deodorant.

Back to the logo.  One of the best examples of a cleverly positioned logo with a hidden message is the FedEx Logo above. Charlie Johnson has this to say about it:

You would say you have seen it thousand times but just to make you notice an arrow formed between the letters “E” and “X” conveying speed, direction and reliability of this amazing courier service.

I never noticed that speedy arrow before? Did you? What do you think of the other 24 examples?

Also, Charlie did not have a single eco-company logo to show off.  Do you know of any that hide—or rather show—health, safety, convenience, efficiency, cost savings, performance, status or some other key consumer benefit?  If so, please share!

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