Let’s play a biz-survival game!
You have 30 seconds to meet and greet as many of people in the room as possible and make a memorable impression. And at the end of these 30 seconds, everybody will be asked to vouch for 1 person in the room, and 1 person only. If 10 of the 100 people in the room, vouch for you? You get to live. If they don’t? Off with your head it is! (Gulp. Yikes!)
BUT, the plot thickens…
Since you only have 30 seconds for the task, you won’t actually be chit-chatting and making friends with anyone. Instead, you’ll snap a shot of yourself and post it on Instagram with a one-liner scribbled underneath and an insta-brand hashtag. Everyone will scroll through the hashtag and double-tap their favorite pic to cast their votes. That’s it. That’s your one chance to make an impression on at least 10 people. Can you do it?
Will your snapshot and one-liner impress enough people to save your ass?
(Not sure that they play games like this in prison… Told you we’ve never been to prison!)
Or will it leave you eating dust as other pics get those heart-double-taps you so desire? And don’t shake your head at our wild imagination. This isn’t as out-there-sy fantasy as you may think. In fact?
As an online business owner, you play this game every single day. Da-da-DAM!
When visitors land on your website, you have less than 30 seconds to make a memorable first impression before they bounce away forever. And a critical part of that first, quick, life-saving impression? Depends on your logo and tagline!
That’s right. Your logo and tagline are the snapshot and one-liner that introduce your business to potential customers every day. Do you know how to make a stellar first impression that will vouch for your success?
Snap your best self into the shot!
And what would you wear? Your comfy lounge-pants? A sexy dress? A three-piece suit? Top hat and tails? Your biggest pearls? You favorite jeans? Nothing but a towel? (Oh my… let’s stop there!)
You already know that each of these choices makes a huge difference on how people perceive you. You might even have a fave pose you keep snapping over and over on Instagram already. Or one you can’t stand. (Um, duck face? Really?) A snapshot says a lot about you. Like 1,000-words a lot, if we’re to believe the proverb!
And it’s very much so with your business snapshot, too.
You logo isn’t meant just to look pretty, or just to convey your business name in a convenient pictorial you can stick left, right, and center.
What’s in a logo?
Your logo is the snapshot of your entire business and has to clearly communicate the true essence of your brand.
There’s a lot more to a logo design than most people think. Creating a good logo is an art. A very subtle art. Your logo isn’t supposed to scream out your core message, or your values, or what you stand for. But it must subtly, yet clearly, communicate all of those things to your customers. (Because subtlety without clarity is basically a mystery. And your customers don’t want to be solving any mysteries just to get to know who you are!)
Let’s look at some brilliant examples from real-world businesses that are nailing it to get some logo design inspiration, and see exactly how they’re snapping their business essence into place though their logo.
Apple winning at Insta-brand before Instagram was ever created!
The Apple logo and its evolution are the textbook-perfect example not only of what a good logo is, but also of what a good logo stands for. When you see how Apple went from the mess in the picture on the left below, to the shiny apple on the right, and understand why that first, god-awful logo was crucial for the company’s development, you’ll have understood the secret behind good logos that most people miss.
Why on earth is Apple called Apple? Have you ever wondered? I know, we’re all so used to Apple today, that we don’t even blink twice when we call our shiny, silvery, smooth laptop an Apple. But really? You start a COMPUTER company and you call it APPLE? Why not KIWI? Or ORANGUTAN? Or something?
Actually, there’s a good reason for the name, and it’s not that apple was Steve Jobs favorite fruit. Look at that messy first logo that Apple Computers used for the first few months of its existence. There’s a dude sitting beneath an apple tree. Know who that dude is? It’s Newton. And the apple hanging over him? It’s the one that dropped on his head to inspire the law of gravity.
That’s one roundabout way of saying: “we’re all about innovation and creative thinking.” It’s as if Steve Jobs and company took our insta-brand snapshot game and executed on it, literally. Very literally! The first company logo was an exact snapshot of how they wanted to be perceived.
As far as logo designs go, however, the picture is atrocious. Too detailed, too busy, full of small lines and shading that would make the logo nothing more than a black, incomprehensible mess in small sizes. It’s the kind of logo a business-owners, not designers, create. And in fact, it was Ronald Wayne, Steve Jobs’ partner, who designed that logo. And LEST you misunderstand our point… (yes, we said “lest.” It’s that important!) We’re not bashing Wayne’s efforts. He did an excellent job at capturing the concept Apple wanted to communicated to a professional designer.
And when the company did take its vision to a real designer? The designer came back with the sleek, bitten logo we see today. The core concept is the same, but the execution is much more subtle and artistic. The apple took center stage, the freshness of ideas came by way of its sleek, light, clean-lines design (which used to be multi-colored as well), and the innovation went into the bite (or byte… more on that below). The company’s values are not just about thinking new ideas, but about actually taking a bite into them and executing.
Does it matter that most people don’t understand the history and significance behind the name and concept of the company just by looking at the logo? Not really. What matters is that the message is there to remind the company itself of its mission. The design reflects that idea subtly to the audience.
FedEx throwing speedy arrows at the target
Evernote and the elephant in the room
Being a cross-platform tool available on desktops, tablets, phones, and the internet, Evernote revolves around the core value of providing you everything you ever need for your work in one place. Always with you. So you never forget anything. And who never forgets anything? An elephant of course! In line with the company’s playful name, Evernote has also chosen a playful logo design representing themselves with the elephant who remembers everything. So you don’t have to. And if you look closely you’ll see that their elephant even has a folded-over ear like a document edge, and a trunk that curls in like a paperclip. The word Evernote on its own doesn’t necessarily remind you of an elephant. Nor does an elephant whisper “evernote” in your ear when you look at it. But the two together? An unforgettable combo!
Give ‘Em Your Best Line!
But remember, you don’t only get a snapshot to win our biz-priz game. You also get a one-liner to type beneath it to impress the judges (i.e. your audience). Or, as we’d call it in the real business world, a tagline or a slogan.
What would you write? Would you simply describe yourself externally giving your height, your weight (eek!), the color of your eyes, etc? Probably not, because those things don’t say much about you at all (surprisingly enough).
Depending on your personality, you might decide to write an inspirational message, your favorite quote, a funny little joke, a motivational sentence, or maybe even something slightly controversial but totally unique.
In other words: if you’re only given one line, you’ll choose a sentence that represents your personality and values, rather than your external appearance. Right?
Yet, when it comes to business one-liners, a lot of people make the mistake of wasting that valuable text on the external aspect of their work by simply describing what they do (“marketing expert” “business coach” “wedding photographer”) without adding ANY of their personality or values into their line. Which makes them seem completely banal and immediately forgettable. (And forgettable, we’ve established, means DEATH!)
So how do you pack some punch in that one-liner?
To Be Clear or To Be Clever?
Clarity doesn’t exclude cleverness. But neither should cleverness take away from clarity. How much you add of one or the other into the mix of your tagline, depends on the personality of your business.
Clever is NOT a synonym of Obscure.
Just like that first complicated logo, this “tagline” (or borrowed poetry) captures the essential character of the company (innovative, artistic, thought-provoking), but as a tagline that’s meant to connect the company with its audience? Big flop! It’s just a bit too clever for its own good without any clarity at all.
Apple’s first official tagline accompanying the professionally designed logo, however, was not that. It was: “Byte into an Apple.” Which is a brilliant tagline. It shows not only what the company does (byte = computers) but is also portrays the company’s playful personality with the play on “bite” and “byte” and a wink at their whimsical (and totally fruity) name.
Of course, we’re all familiar with Apple’s “Think Different” tagline of the late 90s and early 2000s (naughts?). Did you ever, however, (ooh we rhymed!) consider what a terrible first tagline that would have been? It’s too obscure for a new company. It doesn’t tell you what the company does, or how, or why. “Think Different” could have been the slogan of an educational portal for all we know.
BUT… (and it’s an important “but”) by the time Apple adopted “Think Different,” the company had already been in existence for over 20 years. People knew who they were and what they did, because they had already stirred the digital waters a few times before. And wide recognition always gives a company more freedom to play on the clever side of taglines. When Apple said “Think Different” we all knew what they meant. And we could all attest that the company was indeed thinking differently to any other computer company out there.
Same happened, for example, with Nike’s “Just do it.” Just do what? If Nike had been a fledgling athletic company, with no audience or following in place, that slogan would have fallen flat on its face. But Nike had already been in operation as an inspirational sportswear company for 17 years when it adopted: “Just do it” as its slogan, following a successful ad campaign. People knew what Nike meant.
Clarity is the Queen Bee: You can’t survive without her.
The best policy is to always start with a clear message that you want the world to know about your company, and infuse your personality (or cleverness) into that. But do add some clever personality touches, or you’ll end up an unintentional bore.
Talk The Customer’s Language
To take our previous examples, FedEx’s slogan is the very clear and successful: “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.” Notice how the focus is not on what the company does. They don’t say “We deliver your packages quickly.” That would also be a clear rendition of the same message, but it would be SNOOZE-INDUCINGLY BORING too! Like every good tagline, the FedEx tagline looks at the problem it solves (package delivery) from the perspective of the customer: “It absolutely has to get there. Overnight. Or I’m dead. Please help?” Now that’s clear. And cleaver. And resonates with their customers.
Value What the Customer Does
And what about Evernote? If they had tried to sound “cool” and ignored clarity completely, they could try something like “Think Organized” for example, taking a cue from Apple. But no one would know what that meant. What do they do exactly? Organized how? And in what aspect of my life? Instead, they say this: “Your life’s work. For everything you’ll do, Evernote is the workspace to get it done.” The tagline is successful because they started from their core concept: Evernote is not just an organizer, but actually a workspace. And they have looked at the problem clearly from the perspective of their audience. They don’t just need a new workspace, or simply to be kept organized. What they really want is someone who values their life’s work. And works around its flow. That’s what counts. (Notice that no overly-clever elephants make an appearance here!)
Snap ‘n’ Tag!
Don’t worry. We won’t make you design your own logo or write your final business tagline. We just want to work on the concept behind your design concept and phrasing together. Like Apple did for that first logo and tagline they put out into the world!
So think about your business, what it represents, and the values that drive what your do, and tells us:
What would the snapshot of your business look like and why?
Newton sitting beneath a tree? Caviar piled on top of a bar of chocolate? (Wink!) A fire burning through the heart? A line showing your destiny on the map?
What might your one-liner sound like and why?
You don’t have to nail it, just give it a go. Give us your favorite quote, or a phrase that represents your business, or something that expresses what you do. We’ll help you refine it!