The mystic art of choosing a logo for your business can take many paths. I’ve previously given my theory on logo design and expounded on the importance of a logo. This is the story of designing a brand new business logo, and how it was chosen.
Before we get started, take a look at the image below. Then I’ll share how we chose this logo. Try to guess the nature of the business.
Case Study: Sheehy Team Logo Development
Summary: Andy Sheehy and his wife run the RE/MAX franchise in Waco, Texas. At the beginning of 2008, Sheehy decided that he wanted to develop a new concept and focus on a particular commercial real estate segment. He chose multi-tenant investment real estate (mult-plexes & apartment complexes). He personally stopped handling all residential deals and passed those deals off to his local agents.
In February of 2008 we began constructing Andy’s marketing plan at the same time he was developing his business concept. This past Wednesday, June 17th, we chose a logo from a pool of submissions on crowdSPRING, an online marketplace for creative services. (More about crowdSPRING from an earlier post: Get to Know crowdSPRING For Graphic Design)
*Note: Andy Sheehy has given permission to share this story on The Marketing Spot. However, some confidential details will be absent until the full business concept is launched.
The Logo Process
Part 1: Do The Logo Last
We started designing the logo several months ago, long before we ever drafted a creative brief. But we did it by building a plan. Only after four months of working on a marketing plan did we launch the logo search.
Because the logo is the sexy part of marketing, businesses often rush to get their logo done first. It is better to wait on a logo only until you’ve completed a comprehensive marketing plan. Always remember that it’s the business that makes the logo and not the logo that makes the business. The Starbucks and Apple logos meant nothing until their respective companies defined and built the brand.
Before the logo search was launched on crowdSPRING, the Sheehy Team did the following:
– Defined it’s brand while building a brand promise and crafting a tagline.
– Mapped a unique customer experience around a theme that included timely magic spots.
– Created a word-of-mouth marketing plan with a specific message and transmission tactics.
– Charted an advertising strategy for two different client personas, identifying message and media.
Part 2: Your Logo Is A Bridge
A logo is not just an extension of your brand, it is a bridge between your brand and the customer experience. For marketing to be effective, it must be congruent and consistent. When you make a brand promise, the customer experience should deliver on that promise. Your logo, while representative of the brand, is part of the experience.
In building the Sheehy Team brand we identified our two customer personas as being overwhelmingly male and competitive in nature. So we wanted a customer experience that resonated with this persona. Our answer was to design a customer experience around a sports team and sporting event theme. Because we wanted a consistent customer experience we wanted our logo to reflect our theme, and not the industry.
We also identified all possible uses of the logo and then wrote a detailed creative brief for designers. You can see that creative brief on crowdSPRING here: Sheehy Team Creative Brief
The key to the logo was having a sports feel, but it also needed to be versatile. The logo will appear on caps and jackets, so we needed more than a logo, we also needed an emblem. The final design pretty much nailed our creative brief.
Part 3: Break The Guessing Machine
In Made to Stick, Chip and Dan Heath say that one of the secrets of stickiness is unexpectedness. Find a pattern in your industry and break it. When it came time to make a decision, it was difficult to choose the logo we did. While the design nailed what we wanted, it is way outside the norm of real estate investment companies. That was scary, but it was also necessary.
Graphic designer David Airey says that two critical elements of good logo design are that the logo must be memorable and it must be describable. If you examine two investment real estate industry leaders, Staubach and Marcus & Millichap, you see that their logos are traditional and nondescript. We wanted the Sheehy logo to be different and memorable. We wanted it to say “we’re different” and “we have a unique experience.”
The mascot was a result of wanting to mesh our differentiation with the experience. Our sports-themed logo needed something describable. Andy chose the Blue Heron as the Sheehy Team mascot because he is an amateur bird watcher and the blue heron is his favorite bird. While having a mascot was important, the exact mascot was not important, so we didn’t agonize over this decision.
While there were many other great, possibly more aesthetic, designs from which we could choose. In the end we wanted to not look like real estate (you can see them all here). So we chose a logo that would be unexpected in the industry.
The Wrap Up
This is one way to get a logo, but not the only way. The time and money investment we made in choosing the Sheehy Team logo is not as important as the investment we will make giving meaning to to the logo. What’s important though, is that we chose a logo that was part of a plan, and not just a cool design.
So, how did we do? Tell us what you think of the logo and the process or share stories of your own.
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[…] Recruit other designers to participate. Cruise through other design projects and look for stuff you like. Then send a message to that designer and ask them to submit an entry to your project. It will draw attention to your project and many of the designers are flattered that you noticed their work. For more on logos, see: Case Study: How to Get a Logo That Defines Your Business […]
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