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Thread: Rules of Logo Design

  1. #51
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    Paul Elliott's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by vangogh View Post
    True. I'm sure there are ways to use a similar logo without incurring legal issues, but still it's probably not worth the hassle and adds to the argument that you're better off coming up with something else for your logo.
    Good summary, VG.

    Paul

  2. #52

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    Let's keep in mind that for a logo to gain the recognizability of all the national brands we know and love (ahem), it takes many years and many, many millions of dollars. Even on a local level, those who are readily recognized are typically those who have HUGE advertising budgets and have been in the community for a very long time.

    I do agree that a unique logo is preferable in most cases, but I also think it depends on the business model. If a company doesn't want to invest the big bucks into brand building, a copy cat logo may be a good way to go. Again, I'm not condoning this model, but I'm not opposed to it either. One of the benefits too is that a logo can be changed to meet the changing tides of public perception. Since there is no investment in branding, the only "cost" is that of changing the physical image. I don't know this for a fact, but I'm willing to bet that generic brands are often as, or more profitable than their name brand counterparts because the overhead is considerably lower.
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    Remi, I am going to be forced to disagree based on my experiences. First, I don't think a copycat logo is ever beneficial, and a unique, recognizable logo always pays off unless you are running a shoddy operation. With my first business, I had a very unique logo even though my advertising budget was not all that big. Being the latter half of the 80's, I did phone book advertising (it was a sign company). When I would go out selling to seek out more business, I had many, many times where the prospect, when they saw my card with the logo, they would comment, "Yeah, I've seen your ads."

    So a big budget is not the key, becoming known in your target market is. A good logo is an asset to the process.

    I've said this before, but I'll say it again anyway. The people who believe a logo is not that important are the ones who don't have one. I've never known anyone to make the investment in a good logo and regret it.
    Steve Chittenden

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  4. #54
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    Remi I disagree too. I know most people think it takes money to build a brand, but I don't. Money can help increase the reach of your brand and yes if you want to be as well known as Nike or McDonalds you're going to need to spend money.

    The more important aspect of brand to me is the associations people have with your company. It's the consistency of your message beyond the marketing slogans. You don't need money for that.

    Take this forum. We're still a small community as far as forums go and certainly a small community as far as the world goes. Yet each of us has a brand within the community. Pick any member here and you'll likely have some thoughts about them. Some you like and some maybe not. You have positive and negative associations with the people here. Some people here you would hire if you needed their services and some you wouldn't. That's all branding.

    You can build a brand in front of a small community without spending much. If you do it well you'll grow a business and you can then reinvest some money into expanding the reach of your brand to other communities.
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  5. #55

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    Good debate we have going!

    First of all, let me emphasize that I would not recommend a copy cat logo, or no individual business identity. At the same time I do believe there are certain models where it can and does work.

    I'll use an example ... several years ago my (now ex) wife was at the grocery store buying shampoo among other things. The name brands and generics shared the same shelf. I had a certain brand that I kind of preferred, but when it comes to hair care I'm hardly picky. But still, she was going to buy that brand, however grabbed the generic copy because the bottle was the same shape, the logo design and colors were very similar and the name was a dirivitive of the name brand. When she grabbed it, she didn't even realize she picked the generic over the name brand. Being that I'm in the printing business I tend to notice even slight variations so I recognized right away that it wasn't the name brand. That didn't stop me from using it ... and when it was gone, she bought the same kind because it seemed to work the same as far as I was concerned. That generic provider made a sale because it emulated a name brand. It benefited from the big money spent by the name brand in creating a look and marketing it.

    Of course not every product can get away with this type of thing - and much less a service oriented business. But I'm going to stand firm on the notion that in some instances, that business model can and does work. That's not to say I'd want to go that route, nor would I recommend it - but I'm sure those companies who choose that route do just fine. The proliferation of generic products is evidence of that.

    (For the record - no, she isn't an "ex" just because she bought the wrong shampoo!)
    Last edited by Remipub; 02-25-2009 at 04:41 PM. Reason: follow up
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    I can understand what you're saying. It's piggybacking on another brand. I'd suggest that it's generally going to have short term benefits, but not long term benefits. It may work for a generic, because they aren't trying to build their own brand. In fact their branding message is probably we're as good as the big names on the shelf, but only half the price.

    Would that work for your typical small business? I doubt it. Could you get by with a similar message that you're as good as say Kinkos, but only half the price? Most of us aren't going to compete on price and building our own brand will have greater long term success than trying to piggy back off the brand of another business.

    It's also possible than sometime int he future your wife might grab the brand version the same way she grabbed the generic too. And it's very possible many other people picked up the brand when they meant to buy the generic too.
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    Although difficult to measure, your shampoo example may produce consumer hostility. I tend to be picky about some things I buy. If I accidently get the wrong one, which has happened, I get very annoyed and feel cheated. Anyone who engages in the practice of "tricking" consumers obviously doesn't care about my annoyance, but I have to believe it can easily backfire.
    Steve Chittenden

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    Steve I was thinking similar to you. Sure maybe the similar packaging led to a sale, but the opposite could also be true in people accidentally buying the brand. And while in this case buying the generic turned out fine it could cause hostile feelings in other people.

    Also of note is that the brand and the generic actually could have been the same company. Many brands have products for different markets so it's always possible the generic was really the brand name offering a product to compete with the other generics on the shelf. And the reason for the similar packaging was they were piggy backing on their own brand.
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