In one study, the authors designed a fictional mountain gear brand and a fictional sushi restaurant. Each fake brand was given two different logos: one descriptive and one abstract.
For instance, the mountain gear brand’s descriptive logo had an image of a mountain on it, and the sushi restaurant featured a sushi roll.
In the abstract versions, these shapes were changed to a black triangle for the mountain and a black cylinder for the sushi.
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Finally, the researchers speculate that brands with a broad reach of services, like Uber or Procter & Gamble, probably benefit from more abstract symbols that don’t pin them down to a single product offering. It makes sense.
According to the research, people respond more positively—meaning they consider brands more authentic and worthy of their money—when they have descriptive logos rather than abstract, “non-descriptive” ones like the McDonald’s arches, or even the Nike swoosh.
There are cases, the researchers found, where descriptive logos are the wrong way to go—namely, if consumers don’t like your product.
In other words, if someone is buying palm oil—or perhaps bug repellent, or a funeral home service, as the authors write—keep dead bodies and bugs away from your logo, even if that is your business.
McDonald’s is the more successful company by a mile, and its golden arches are recognizable from blocks away. But at according to a new paper published in the Journal of Marketing Research, Burger King has a better logo.
Why? Because Burger King's logo is descriptive. It literally puts a hamburger on its sign along with the word “burger.”
When we make choices about different brands, we are choosing to create an identity. We as human have fundamental need to have a support system, whether it is religion, community or institutions. Now brands have stepped in as pillar of our identity. In marketing there is an idea that we relate to brands in the same way we relate to people. Most of us subconsciously choose brands because those brands have some kind of self-expressive value. The best thing we can do is to be aware of the influence that brands hold. It's important to always pause and ask ourselves, "Why I'm buying this product?"
One very good reason to mix the personal with the professional is that if you are intentionally living a life of authenticity, then they already are linked.
Learn from those who have gone before. Mixing the personal with the professional is not a branding mistake. It’s smart business.
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