Last week I spoke at a Small Business Expo and if 40 minutes attempted to outline the basic rules of crafting a Marketing Strategy on a limited budget. Leaning on my years of experience working with Small Businesses, I initially outlined some of the most common mistakes I’ve witnessed; the tendency to change logos or parts of a logo on a whim is one of the most damaging mistakes I see small business owners make. Here’s a great story that illustrates why changing your logo should NOT be a rash decision:
In Scranton there is a legendary diner named Coney Island Lunch that has been serving their famous hot dogs for decades. Locally, they are widely known, and they draw people from miles away. When the restaurant opened a Facebook Page, their already ravenously loyal fans joined it and before long they had thousands of followers. Considering that Facebook Pages are used best as communication and engagement tools, it goes to follow that their already loyal fan base was more than willing to engage with Coney Island Lunch on their page.
I was contacted by another Scranton area restaurant that had been in business for 45 years; they had been enviously watching the social media success of Coney Island Lunch, and wanted me to help them achieve it. During my first meeting with them this is what I discovered: although they had been owned by the same family for 45 years, they had moved locations once, and changed their name and logo numerous times. In doing so, they had squandered the opportunity to be recognized as a local institution because most residents that weren’t connected to the family directly had no idea that they’d been there all these years under the same ownership.
Of course this story is an anecdote with regards to the logo; there were many other factors that led to Coney Island Lunch’s stature in comparison with my client, but it does illustrate how important perception is. Your logo should be a steadfast, recognizable image associated with your brand. Here’s why: in any form of advertising, your goal is to make an impression on your viewer – you want them to remember you when they need your product and services. If you change your logo to make it unrecognizable from your marketing efforts, how is the customer to associate you with what you’ve put out there to promote your brand?
Many of my clients are heavily dependent on tourists; they use print & digital advertising in many forms to target them all the way from the planning stages in mailed brochures and magazines, on websites, and then, upon arrival, in rack cards and print ads. If they’re lucky enough to inspire a tourist to seek out to their place of business, why would they make it difficult for the tourist to find them by advertising with a logo that varies visually from their signage?
Are their times it makes sense to change your logo? YES. I have a client who purchased a restaurant that they have transformed from a bar-type of hangout to an family friendly establishment serving fantastic Caribbean food; they want to upscale their image to reflect who they are now.
The point I rant on about is that changing your logo is a very serious matter – not something you alter on a whim because you found a new font you love, or because the newspaper wants to make you look a little edgy. Your logo is your brand fingerprint, and if your goal is to build a brand, messing with its appearance is not smart marketing.