Friday, June 1, 2012

The Emotional Value of a Logo

Can you imagine taking along an iPhone without the Apple logo? Or wearing a pair of Nike sneakers without it's 'swoosh'? Or going to the McDonald's with a missing M logo? And I can just go on and on with these rather silly questions. Every minute of every day you are exposed to brands. Whether you realize or not the tissue you use for cold, the water you drink, the car you drive or the notebooks your kids carry to school. In other words, people like to tell others who there are by using brands that they feel goes parallel with their personality. Other use brands to hide their true personalities. In other words people use brands to impart a perception of their personalities.

Logos are an artistic version of the brand, symbolizing its presence.

Rampant Passant Lion of King Solomon

Characterized Plan View of Solomon's Throne
Logos have, since long been a part of the human desire. Kings and rulers had their symbols designed, which were then branded on their palace gates, chariots, flags, and even animals & slaves. In recent times though, I have seen someone putting up a Ferrari logo sticker on their cheap second-handed car. Maybe driving a Ferrari is his desire but he is satisfying his craving by pasting the logo on his car. Others have stuck an Apple logo to hide the Dell logo on their laptop. Or someone has tattooed the Apple logo on their arm or a Mercedes logo on their keychain. All these examples show that there is a link between a logo, or rather the symbol and the desire to flaunt it.

Anyone who studies brands is familiar with Jennifer Aaker's work - The Dimensions of Brand Personality. In this '97 classic, Aaker suggests that brands take on human traits and characteristics. Using the psych literature as her launchpad, Aaker argued brand personality can be broken into 5 distinct dimensions: Sincerity (down-to-earth, honest, wholesome, cheerful); Excitement (daring, spirited, imaginative, up-to-date); Competence (reliable, intelligent, successful); Sophistication (upper class, charming); and Ruggedness (outdoorsy, tough).

Taking the case of Ferrari, it's a brand owned by the company Fiat. The cars are known for its styling, power and speed. Ferrari has always associated with the F1 car racing event. I project that Ferrari would score higher on competence and sophistication dimensions.

The Apple brand personality is about lifestyle; imagination; liberty regained; innovation; passion; hopes, dreams and aspirations; and power-to-the-people through technology. The Apple brand personality is also about simplicity and the removal of complexity from people's lives; people-driven product design; and about being a really humanistic company with a heartfelt connection with its customers. Here I project that Apple would score higher on excitement and sophistication dimensions.

Not going into more example, I feel it's the Sophistication dimension that make people want to show of the logo although they don't own or can't afford that brand.

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