Nailing the 96%


Recently a business owner asked about the importance of logos for a company like his.

He recognised the value for large consumer brands like Apple or Nike, but what about SMEs? Or companies in B2B?

My answer was probably not what he expected. You see most people are aware that the logo is only one part of brand, but I’m not sure many understand just how small a part it is, so I thought it might be fun to give it a %. And by “fun” I obviously mean allow me to show how smart I am in the hope he’d pay my agency money loads of money to design this thing for him. The thing that I’d just completely devalued. It wasn’t a brilliant plan.

Anyway, this is how I reached the %…

The first thing to consider is that visual identity is just one of 5 big areas of brand. The other 4 being:

  • What the business actually does and who it does it for – we call that the brand’s position
  • Secondly we have the organisational dimension of the brand – vision, values, employee experience
  • Then the brand personality and tone of voice
  • And finally the product or service itself – features and benefits, value proposition, pricing, customer journey, etc

So for the sake of simplicity, we’ll spread the value of brand evenly across these 5 areas and say that the visual identity accounts for 20%, even though for most companies what they do, how they do it and why they do it is frankly far more important than what it looks like.

And then we need to consider that the logo is only one part of the visual identity. We also have the typeface, colour palette, imagery and other iconography.

Again, to keep it simple we’ll split it 5 ways.

In other words, I reckon your logo is about 4% of your brand. It’s teeny, if not positively weeny. More to the point, this 4% is a product of all the other 4%’s, and certainly not something to fret about in isolation.

In truth, there is nothing remarkable about the Apple symbol nor Nike swoosh – it’s the other 96% of their brand that create the meaning. These logos are simply something we associate with that meaning.

The same is true for any business. Don’t invest in the 4%. Invest in the 96%. Do that, and the logo will take care of itself.

See you next time.

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