Long before Facebook and social media we knew there was no more accurate rule in business than: “People do business with people they LIKE.” 

But what does it mean to “LIKE” someone (or something)? Liking a business means different things to different people under different circumstances. Your grandmother might like the local supermarket because their delivery boy is handsome, polite and expresses sincere concern for her welfare. Your husband may LIKE his technical consultant because he discretely solves his computer problems, making hubby look competent to this employees and co-workers. We tend to LIKE businesses that fill our needs in a way that supports our sense of self-esteem and promotes our well being. 

Branding is the process of creating an image that represents what the majority of our customers LIKE. Thus we begin a branding program by listing the attributes we believe our customers want our business to possess. We may want our bank to be: safe, friendly, honest, convenient. We may want our dentist to be: highly educated, hygienic, sympathetic. We may want our exterminator to be: highly effective, prompt, environmentally conscientious.

Creating a concise image from a list of attributes is a job for a highly skilled professional who has devoted years to the craft of image development. Regretfully, recent computer programs have claimed to generate marks or logos almost automatically. The result has been a plethora of virtually indistinguishable marks that say little about the company’s qualities and fail to meet the requirements of trademark registration.

In the mid-twentieth century, corporations favored minimalist design in company logos. Modernism was in vogue and simplistic logos were easy to render in the relatively primitive print and broadcast media of the time. Although stunning technical advances have made high resolution, color reproduction available to everyone, some businesses insist on minimalist images that say little about their attributes.

With your list of desirable attributes, and a highly skilled designer, you can create a logo that truly reflects the unique nature of your business. To start, your designer should ask you which of the various logo styles appeals to you. Generally logos fall into the following categories:
1. Variations on typography with no illustration.
2. Typography accompanied by an icon or symbol 
3. Typography surrounded buy a cartouche or plaque.
4. Typography combined with an avatar or illustration

The avatar (or character logo) has been a popular sales promotion devise for many years. Examples include: Ronald McDonald, Speedy Alka Seltzer, Mr. Clean and Snap Crackle and Pop. Animals too have been pressed into service to represent corporations. They include; MGM’s lion, GEICO’s Gecko, Adflac’s duck and Tony the Tiger. Advertisers find they enhance message recall and take the hard, commercial edge off their promotional efforts.

Finally, the skilled logo designer is able to create multi-level logo systems that allow a company to identify itself as a parent of multiple unique product lines. This is commonly called company vs. product identity.

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