The golden arches – everyone knows them, they’re a worldwide phenomenon and one of the most recognisable symbols of our time. As I drive down the highway with my kids, every time we see a McDonald’s sign I’m reminded of the love this logo inspires.
Why do we have such a reaction to a curved yellow “M”?
A bunch of other shapes immediately spring to mind when we think of famous logos, like the Nike “swoosh” and the Mercedes star.
What do these logos mean?
(And why didn’t McDonald’s choose a picture of a hamburger to represent them?)
Logos of big brands are given meaning in our minds by the communication and marketing around them, by the experiences and memories we have of their the products and services they represent.
The teams of marketers who work on these brands craft their communication so that the logo is associated with a particular feeling or message, over and over again. Eventually, like Pavlov’s dogs, we see the logo and experience with the feeling.
The task for these marketers can actually be easier if the logo they’re using doesn’t have a prior meaning in your mind. It gives them a unique space to start their work.
So important factors in any logo they work with are being unique, simple and memorable.
But here’s the sting: you probably don’t have the budget of McDonald’s, and you need to see a more immediate return from your promotions.
The logo you use is far less important for you than you think.
Yes, your logo represents who you are. Yes, it needs to be professional. Yes, you need it to make a good first impression.
Your logo needs to support your goals and align visually with your values.
But don’t let logo design stop you from doing real work. Clients are going to be affected far more by their experience with you and your product, than by your logo.
For small business owners promotion is less about long-term branding and more about the connection you make, the offer you give, and the response you get.
Spend less time vacillating on your logo and focus on what you can do for your clients to give them a truly fulfilling experience.