Stop and think about all the material you produce to support your small business: ads, catalogs, stationary, envelopes, mailing labels, business cards, reply cards, websites, socials media pages and blogs…  Your company name and logo appears on an extensive range of supplementary marketing collateral.

But how memorable is it?

Retention has long been a challenge in establishing a solid (and profitable) brand persona. When comparing words to images, images win hands-down for their ability to promote visual memory – the act of sticking in the mind of the intended viewer. In fact, it’s been reported that over 40 percent of people have an easier time remembering what they see as opposed to what they read or hear.

This reality means your logo is basically the cornerstone of your brand. Whether you created one yourself using a free logo maker or had a professional design it for you, you still need to ask yourself the question – how well is yours working for you? Does it:

Communicate your message. In addition to featuring the primary benefits of your product or service, a well thought-out logo can contain many understated meanings, effectively communicating a message about how you conduct business through its combination of words, images and colors.

Differentiate you from competitors. If you’re in a competitive industry (and who isn’t?), your logo serves as a quick and decisive way to separate you from the noise of your competitors and elevate you within your niche. In doing so, you also demonstrate that you’re committed to your line of business with a logo that symbolizes a professional image and stability.

Foster a lasting, favorable impression. Though people may forget your name, they’ll have a much harder time forgetting the images associated with it. For example, if you live in Southern California it’s practically impossible to see a red arrow without thinking about In-N-Out Burger. In the same way, you can cultivate positive recollection by associating your brand with strong, easily-remembered symbols.

Meet expectations. If you’re in a creative industry, a professional logo is a prerequisite. And it’s quickly becoming the same for everyone else. When people shop for goods and services, the first place they look these days is Google. Google leads them to your website, where they (hopefully) find a strong combination of marketing copy and images. Now can you image having those things without a logo? As mentioned above, logos are the foundation of any branding initiative, a central aspect around which the rest of your materials fall into place.

Foster customer loyalty. A quality logo initiates loyalty from your clients and employees, providing something for them to rally around. More importantly, it also provides a means to show off their association with your product or service to friends and family – a practice heavily employed through social media like Facebook and Twitter. This association, and resulting positive word of mouth, establishes an experience (akin to the one people have with music or movies) and quickly differentiates you from competitors. Therefore, try to create a logo people will freely incorporate into their lives and, with any luck, pass on to others.

photo by flickr user bazstyle | Creative Commons

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Dylan Mazeika
Dylan Mazeika

Dylan Mazeika is an online writer with a background in marketing and small business. You can follow him on Google+.