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How Companies Use Logo Branding to Live Rent-Free Inside Your Head

Have you ever had a favorite song from a bygone era, which you don’t hear for many years? 

Until one day, it comes on the radio. You can recall all the lyrics, every hook and riff. This is the power of recall, where a variety of memory imprints lay dormant in our brain ready to be stimulated.

That’s auditory, but visual recall can be just as strong. The biggest brands in the world rely on color schemes and striking, clear identifying features to build brand recognition. For consumers who see advertisements hundreds, if not thousands of times a day, these visual cues can deliver unconscious messages about what they’re being sold.

In many cases, they inform a person’s relationship with a brand. A logo helps define a first impression and in the business of marketing and PR, this is invaluable.

We Are Great Apes 

Researchers say color doesn’t just contribute to brand recognition, but communicates the desired image and becomes central to a brand’s identity. 

These same academics, Labrecque and Milne, observe a link between color and industry: 75% of credit card brand logos used blue as did 20% of fast food logos; red is found in 0% of apparel logos but over 60% of retail brands.

Top marketers know we are little more than great apes who are made to feel things by different colors. Closer to the red spectrum are warmer colors, including red, orange and yellow: these evoke emotions ranging from feelings of warmth and comfort to anger and hostility. Blueish colors like purple and green are known to make us feel calm, sad or indifferent.

Retail brands will want us to feel warm and comforted, we’re more likely to make a purchase then. On the other end of the spectrum are credit card brands who want you to feel good about taking on what is effectively a loan: if you’re subconsciously calm when you see their brand name and logo, you’re less likely to feel anxious. It’s simple science.

Building Brand Recognition

There are numerous guides on the internet to selecting a color to represent your brand. This post is more concerned with the why, not the how. 

Furthermore, shapes and fonts are instructive to the consumer when they are considering a purchase. Fascinating studies on brand attribute judgements, related to shapes on a logo, shine a light on the esoteric side of marketing.

The right logo says everything without a word. It establishes a bond between a brand and its community, including potential customers. There is seldom a need for abstraction. A simple, well constructed logo can trigger feelings and memories in your audience time and time again.

Treat a logo as the first touchpoint for consumers. Because that’s what it is, and it’s crucial to respect its power to convey a feeling and message. This isn’t an aspect of branding which always leads to direct conversions. But it does instill in your audience a sense of sameness, reliability and memorability. 

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