The world's most successful brands all have something in common: a logo so iconic with the ability to generate an immediate association between consumer and organization. And just like flags, the best logos exert an overwhelming impact on people. A logo is a defining source for a brand, an element that requires precise execution. Not only are logos visual manifestations of brands, they are also a vehicle that transmits the personality, values and traits that define a brand in a powerful, succinct and memorable way. Traits that may exist within our context and surroundings and that evoke experiences that reinforce our views on a specific matter -- in some cases even implying a historical or cultural reference. Quite a task, huh?
Designer Paul Rand once said, "An ideal logo is simple, elegant, versatile, practical and unforgettable." It may not be more than an insignia, but one that acquires significance through time thanks to encounters. And even though a logo may change throughout the years, it must strive to maintain within the mind of a customer its union with the concept that originally gave meaning to it. Or as Complex.com states, "The visual identity of a logo can make or break a brand in the eyes of a discerning consumer. Throughout a single company's history, various logos serve as indicators of values, loyalty, and togetherness. "
In his book "How Brands become Icons", Douglas Holt says, "Academic research demonstrates that the extraordinary appeal of the most successful cultural products has been due to their mythic qualities. Over time, as the brand performs its myth, the audience eventually perceives that the myth resides in the brand's makers - its name, its design elements and its logo. The brand becomes a symbol, an embodiment of that myth. So as customers drink, drive or wear the product, they experience a bit of the myth. In modern societies, the most influential myths address people's identities. Iconic brands function like cultural activists, encouraging people to think differently about themselves."
According to 99designs, five essential logo design characteristics are: simplicity, originalty, memorability, clarity and brandibility. Other factors such as uniqueness, union between the brand name and aesthetics, instantaneous and visceral understanding, timelessness and scalability are also factors to bear in mind.
Danish digital agency, Inetdesign, sought out to prove the connection between logos and successful branding. In the following video, they simulate the world's most iconic logos, such as Coca - Cola, Ford, Star Wards, Google, Ikea, among others, while changing the brand name. (Bet you'll have no problem distinguishing them.) This clever exercise served as a platform in order to share the factors -- besides logo design -- that are crucial to branding.
There is no greater moment in advertising than that in which the spirit of a brand is linked to the spirit of humanity.
Since 2010, Google has provided a snapshot of the world's most important events through its Zeitgeist video. From our biggest achievements to our most perilous catastrophes, it reflects what touched us and shaped us during the course of 365 days.
This year's top trends can be found on their website under an array of categories - people, events, consumer electronics, hashtags, etc. - all of which result in a memorable and beautiful video. (see below)
On the month that marks the second anniversary since Steve Jobs' passing, blogger Edgar Estévez reflects on the influence and legacy Apple's main man left to the marketing world...
An entrepreneur, an innovator, an inventor, a visionary… a genius. These are just some of the adjectives used to describe Steve Jobs, a man whose path was never predictable. He was given up for adoption at birth, he dropped out of college after only one semester and at the age of 20 co-founded Apple, currently one of the most valuable companies in the world.
There is no doubt that Steve Jobs created a revolution. As one of the top pioneers on the personal computer and electronics field, his impeccable taste and sense of style made him push all market boundaries, transforming one industry after another - from computers, to smart phones, to music and even animated films.
It’s been two years since he passed away and we still remember him as the very soul of the organization he helped create. His aggressive and demanding personality made him a perfectionist, always aspiring to be one step ahead of the industry and setting the market trends in innovation and design. But most importantly, he impregnated his passion for simplicity and top-notch quality into the company’s organizational culture, making this one of the key components of Apple’s sustaining performance and competitive advantage - percieved upon entering any Apple store in the world or simply by opening the box of any Apple product for the first time… It’s almost like a ritual!
As a marketer, Steve Jobs was a natural. He was driven by his obsession and love for his products, and made it a personal mission to have an impact in people’s lives. Not only did he invent great things, he also made the consumers feel emotionally attached to the brand at the point of turning them into passionate advocates of Apple. They don't think of themselves as consumers, but in turn members of a movement, a mission, something larger than themselves. He helped build mystery and expectation around product launches, always generating buzz and suspense before unveiling some amazing new gadget, making consumers and specially the competition go mad with speculation. Jobs was also not afraid to go big, as pointed out on hubspot.com, and one great example was the widely known 1984 “Think Different” commercial for the new Macintosh, where he hired Ridley Scott, director of Alien and Blade Runner, and spent around $1.7 million ($3.4 million today) between producing the ad and running it one time during the Super Bowl. This was a huge risk for the company, especially since it wasn't clear that the ad would succeed, but it paid off. The ad generated as much coverage as the Macintosh itself.
No doubt that Steve Jobs is a tough act to follow and the company is not only facing new challenges in the market but also trying to continue his legacy. So, how is Apple doing today? According to a study conducted by Interbrand Corp. on the Top 100 brands this past September, Apple has unseated Coca-Cola as the world’s No. 1 brand with a brand value of $98.3 billion, 28% more than last year.
Still, some say that the brand is losing its magic. Some of the latest product innovation hasn’t raised the bar high enough for competitors and for consumers, who are always expecting big things from Apple. Many of the brand’s major products are facing increased competition from Samsung’s top-selling Galaxy phones, Amazon’s Kindle tablet reader and Spotify’s music service - and still the company keeps innovating around the same things - which is probably not innovating at all. The brand may be loosing its momentum, but they still have time to turn things around. After all, Apple is a very strong brand and the most profitable technology company there is, generating $41.7 billion last year. And even more importantly, they still have the consumer’s trust, since the popular perception is that “Apple could do no wrong”.
Most recently, the company appointed former Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts as their new SVP of Retail and Online Stores, which many industry experts are saying is one of the company’s best decisions so far, since she is likely to bring a fresh leadership focus to Apple and complement well with current CEO Tim Cook to bring the brand up to the next level with breakthrough innovative products in new categories, allowing Apple to become the outstanding company of this decade.
Before you finish reading I wanted to leave you with the 10 things I have personally learned from Steve Jobs as a marketer myself. Additionally, here's a small fragment from a PBS documentary of 1994, which for me, perfectly reflects the way he saw and lived his life. Enjoy!
10 things I’ve learned from Steve Jobs as a marketer:
Time to market is crucial.
Simple is always better.
Failure is part of the process. The most important thing is knowing how to stand up again.
Tenacity and hard work always pays off.
Pay attention to details.
It’s ok to go a little crazy sometimes.
Don’t be afraid to think different.
Steve Jobs on 'One Last Thing', a PBS documentary:
“ When you grow up you tend to get told the world is the way it is and your life is just to live your life inside the world. Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family life, have fun, save a little money.
That’s a very limited life. Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact, and that is - everything around you that you call life, was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use.
The minute that you understand that you can poke life and actually something will, you know if you push in, something will pop out the other side, that you can change it, you can mold it. That’s maybe the most important thing. It’s to shake off this erroneous notion that life is there and you’re just gonna live in it, versus embrace it, change it, improve it, make your mark upon it.
I think that’s very important and however you learn that, once you learn it, you’ll want to change life and make it better, cause it’s kind of messed up, in a lot of ways. Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again."
Yes, I know. 2011 has flown by. It seems it was only yesterday when saw Google Zeitgeist's awesome Year in Review for 2010.
On that same spirit, they have recently published this year's version on their site, where you can check out the trends and searches from all over the world in different categories, such as: Fastest Rising People, Maps, Consumer Electronics, News, Food & Drink, among others. From Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber, to the Greek riots, to the Royal Wedding, it brings us marketers a great insight- an overview of how the world moved and what influenced it. Or as Sheila Shayon from Brandchannel says: "Beyond revealing the spirit of the times, it's also a fascinating local snapshot."
Coca-Cola is once again the number 1 brand in the world.
After much anticipation, Interbrand announced the 2011 Best Global Brands ranking with Coca-Cola in the first spot for the twelfth consecutive year and brands such as Apple and Amazon as top risers with their astonishing growth during the past months. With massive growth across the sector, technology dominated the list, with 7 out the top 10 brands coming from this industry- IBM, Microsoft, Google, GE, Intel, Apple and Hewlett-Packard.
Damian Borchok, CEO of Interbrand Australia and New Zealand said: "Interbrand's Best Global Brands report is a reflection not only on how brands are performing in terms of their perceived brand success, it is also an invaluable tool for to detect how consumers are behaving, evolving and reacting to brands. More than ever, the economic climate and consumer movement alike are demanding brands to be flexible, innovative and to explore social spaced they never dared to before."
According to Interbrand, there 10 factors that are present in these leading brands, which are:
Interbrand's method of selecting the brands entails taking into account the different ways it affects the organizations- from customer expectations, financial performance of its products or services, the role of the brand in the purchase decision process and its strength.
Jez Frampton, Global Chief Executive of Interbrand, introduced the ranking by saying: "Brands increasingly need to be quick and nimble- flexing to stay one step ahead of the change happening all around them. And it isn't just about speed, it's about consistency and accuracy in response to the social media connected and hyper-aware marketplace...
Your customers interpret your brand as a result of every interaction; from culture to product, from environment to communications."
To view the complete report on each brand, the Interbrand methodology, trends and sector overviews, click here.