#22 Logos and egos: my different perspective

Target audience vs owner ego?
Frequently, the owner (client) thinks they’re the clone of their audience (potential and actual customers). Of course, they aren’t. We’re all different and have different perspectives and opinions for many reasons. That’s good. Otherwise, this would be a pretty boring place.

I’ve catered to small, family-owned, high-tech corporations. In that venue, a logo really is pretty meaningless – except for the owners who see it as a “flag”. A flag can be good for morale. “Can you make the logo bigger?”

But a good trade name carries much more weight (potent meaning) with a small audience than a clever logo. Then as long as the name is memorable, readable, and pronounceable, it might make a difference. I feel naming does that but that’s difficult to measure. There are three components that appeal to the audience. You can succeed with any two – but it’s best if all three are present to some degree.

Three keys.

They are the offer, the market need, and the design. If any two are missing, it’s a sure failure. Notice the logo is not one of the three but a subordinate part of a design. In the hierarchy of what really makes a difference, a logo will not guarantee much. Yes, it’s possible to succeed with bad design. It can even be more memorable for the wrong reason!

But if no one needs the client’s product or service, or the price is too high and delivery too long (offer) – even fantastic design cannot save the venture. My stupid ideas especially cannot be saved by design (let alone by a logo). I’ve erroneously tried to save a few ideas. Statistically half of all businesses fail in the first year whether they have everything right or not. It’s a coin toss.

Nonetheless, I believe design is a secret weapon giving companies an edge over competitors if they have a good product and a market that needs it. When I say market, I mean names and addresses –a list that has needs in common.

I like a nice logo. It feels good to own one. I’ve even paid for a number. I’ve even paid too much for one. (After I paid the designer, he and his business partner and their wives went to the Bahama’s with the proceeds! Wild but true.)

I don’t invest as much money or credence in logos as I used to because I’ve come to realize ideas are disposable sometimes. If the business idea survives it’s the first year then maybe it’s time to get out the checkbook. But you do not need a logo when starting up. You can just use type. I believe in bootstrapping. You don’t weep so much when things don’t work out.