We recently ran across this Ford Truck Promo…YIKES!
Ford Truck is using the “Ugly Logo” as a promo for their latest line of trucks, AND they’re asking owners of Ford trucks to submit their ugly logo for a complimentary logo re-design opportunity.
This is a good promotional idea–an out-of-the-box way to get attention because people love “before and afters.” However, I’ve been developing brand identities for over 25 years and I was stunned by their AFTER version — it’s not much better than the BEFORE!
From a professional standpoint, the ‘after’ example shows little – if any – improvement. At best, it’s simpler, but that’s it.
Here are three fundamental problems with the design:
- The lighting bolt is the 2nd oldest graphic in the electricians logo “book,” next to the “happy light bulb.” It lacks any originality, distinctiveness, or creativity.
- Misaligned text and graphic elements further pulls it off the road, and head-on into the ‘bad logo’ telephone pole. This would be a ‘before trophy’ in our book!
- Finally, and very importantly, the graphic design is layered behind the name. Try producing this logo in black and white, or in a single-color reproduction. These are implementation tests that every logo will face.
So Ford is promoting their new trucks–to people who already own one. However, I would caution any business, serious about its corporate identity, to solicit Ford Motor Company to recreate a new one. Their trucks may be “Built Tough,” but if they build you a logo, it may be Built Ford Fluff.
Jason Mautone and his brothers operate the pizza franchise their father, Benito, started in Belleville, MI in 1979. It has grown with franchisees into more than 20 stores. Today, the original round and deep dish dough recipe is used, along with specialty sauces for each kind of pizza pie.
During one brand discovery interview, Jason told us about growing up in the Mautone family and of the trips to visit family in Italy. At one point he closed his eyes, traveled back in his memory, and said, “The flavors…the olive oil and fresh sauces. There’s nothing like it!” That passion for flavor is carried through every menu item Benito’s creates, with superior ingredients for their sauces, salad dressings, cheeses & pastas.
When we asked Jason what he loved most about this business, he answered: “It’s doing something you believe you’re the best at. I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t think we were the best. I was taught to care about what I serve to people. I was taught never to sacrifice quality to make more money or make it easier. There’s a lot of frustrations in the pizza business, but when a customer comes up to the counter and tells you that your pizza is great, or how far they come to get Benito’s, it energizes me & keeps me going. When people ask me what’s our best pizza, I honestly tell them, ALL of them!”
So why did Benito’s Pizza, with its loyal fans and great reputation, decide to update their logo?
Jason, positioning the company for growth, saw issues with the old logo with its limited horizontal orientation. “We have a big square pizza box, and the logo is long and narrow. I envision a logo that has a circular symbol that will cover the box.” Adding to the frustrations of an old logo that was created without corporate standards, each new store presented challenges with signage requirements and other applications that used the Benito’s brand identity.
Identity Creative worked through concepts that included a smiling “B” and a hungry, pizza-eating “B.” The Benito’s leadership team settled on a soft, angled “B” that reflected the fresh dough in a playful way. We updated the colors and provided vertical and horizontal orientations, as well as a standards guide and their logo in every file format that they will ever need for future use to maintain brand identity consistency.
For the Identity Creative team, every on-site meeting offered us an opportunity to sink our hungry teeth into their fluffy & crispy deep dish and to take-out a massive Big Benito to share with the gang. Have you tried Benito’s Pizza? Tell us why you love it in a comment below!
In our workshops, when we begin working with leaders to develop their core value statements, typical values with vague meaning usually surface. To help overcome this, we developed our Core Value Excavating Tool to help teams explore new ways to uncover & create unique core value statements.
We’ve made it available on our website for your team. Now you can access this complimentary tool to help you think beyond commonly stated values in order to create value statements that authentically reflect your organization. (Your surveys are confidential and emailed directly to you.)
It’s a great first-step to building relevant core value statements that truly mean something and can guide your organization for the long haul.
When is it Time to Change Your Brand Identity?
All too often I meet business owners who think that because they hired a logo designer when they started their company over a decade ago, they’re done with “branding” their business. For the next ten to twenty years, they’re “all set” and it’s one of those business decisions they’ll never need to make again. That may be true, to a degree, if you’re a household name like Ford, McDonald’s, or Apple, but it’s not true for the rest of us.
We tend to underestimate the power of our company’s identity and the impact it has, especially on an untapped customer base. Even great trademarks need to be updated, if for no other reason than to tell the world, “we’re not getting older, we’re getting better!”
Say you have a friend who likes his favorite suit. He paid a lot for it 10 or 15 years ago and has great memories wearing it. Is it wise of him to keep wearing it? Sure, it’s a little tight and the lapel is on the big side, but it’s “still a good quality suit,” right? Unless you have a very close friend or an enemy who’s going to be 100% honest, how will you learn that you look like a pudgy disco-king?
How do you know when it’s time to update your logo? Here are five indicators that business owners should regard if they really mean business about maintaining and building a strong brand identity.
1. You should never need to apologize for your logo.
If word ever gets back that people “just don’t get your logo,” pay attention.
If you don’t have quality logo files that maintain the graphic integrity and your logo is inconsistently displayed in various media, you are jeopardizing your brand’s credibility.
If your employees aren’t wearing the cool shirts you provided because the logo looks dated, you’re chipping away at company pride and missing an opportunity to strengthen your company’s culture.
2. It’s been over 10 years since the logo was first created.
Ten-plus years in business is a perfect time to review whether the company’s identity is appearing outdated. It is surprisingly common for business owners to think that if they change their logo, people won’t recognize their brand. Not true, if the upgrade is done well. When a business upgrades its identity, it sends a powerful message in the marketplace and creates momentum internally with employees–having a positive impact on the company’s brand.
3. The business is anticipating a move, merger or going to be sold.
Moving or adding a location requires updating everything from stationery to signage. This is a perfect time to consider an identity redesign. A merger, depending on the stature of the companies, will mandate a need for brand clarification and signify that new and better things will be happening. An updated identity is a no-brainer. When selling, any business that is going to be on the market will glean more if its identity is up-to-date and consistently implemented. It’s called curb appeal.
4. Your company has changed or grown in its offerings.
As a company grows, it evolves, and often this maturation leads to significant changes in the business. Additional product or service lines could mandate new markets, which should mandate new messages. This reason to change is the toughest for business owners to see. Often it’s gradual, taking place over time. Sadly, by the time it’s realized, the competition has dominated the market.
5. Your competitors have upgraded their brand identity.
Don’t let this happen: do it before your competitors do! Forward thinking businesses set the pace for their industry. This will include a progressive and continual analysis of a company’s brand identity as well. If your company delays in a critical updating of your brand identity and message, it’s likely your competition won’t. If your competition takes this step before you do, they look like the leader.
Midway Rotary (now Midway Engravers), a Michigan Manufacturer, updated their logo to reflect their new technology and progressive company.
PROBLEM: After 35 years, Midway Engravers had progressed technologically and decided to undergo a corporate identity upgrade. IGD was hired to update Midway’s identity, explore names, and to create a trademark which conveyed the unique attributes of their products & services.
SOLUTION: IGD created a shorter, more effective sub-line and explored representational trademarks which captured the die-cutting process during the symbol development. The new identity is now creatively distinctive and relevant to its industry.
A distinctive and credible brand identity is only one facet to a business’ success, but it’s one that everyone sees. It’s imperative to maintain your company’s identity intentionally and not just let it happen, or let it go. Failure to do so will automatically lead others to define your brand, and cost you market share you may otherwise command.
Here are three tips from golf pros that can you can use to help you keep your company’s brand above par.
- Use the off-season to improve your game.
“When we neglect the skills and behaviors we’ve sharpened, we lose ground. Which is why winter may be the most important season of all—if you take a few months off, you’re likely to lose your fined-tuned touch and have to start from scratch come April.”
– Haley Bosch, Forbes.com
What is your company’s slow season? You already know that it’s a great time for thinking strategically about your business. If you’ve neglected branding, it’s also the perfect time to schedule a Brand Discovery Workshop, where your leadership team can explore and identify what makes your business unique and how to communicate it to your ideal customers.
Take a look at your marketing material and ask some tough questions.
– Does our logo make us look outdated, small, or amateurish?
– Are our marketing & sales messages aligned?
– Do we have a style that’s unique?
– How do we look next to our competitors?
Perhaps it’s time to breathe new life into your company’s brand identity (a.k.a., your logo) and revitalize your brand.
- Get a professional to help you analyze, correct and achieve lasting improvement.
“A good golf coach will walk you through mastering a skill…pushing the development of a skill up all of the required steps, as that is the only way to achieve sustained, lasting improvement.”
– Rick Jensen, Ph.D., Golf Academy
When it comes to your company’s brand identity, a good design team will walk you through mastering your brand’s potential in three clear steps.
1) Help you discover your unique brand essence and create a custom brand profile that differentiates your company from the rest;
2) Create an identity and style that uniquely captures and communicates your dynamic brand; and
3) Enable you to keep your company’s brand identity and messaging aligned in all your communications, internally and to the world.
Getting this right makes a lasting impact and strengthens your credibility.
- Get your alignment right.
How are we compensating for a poor foundation to our game? Dave Pelz, in Dave Pelz Short Game Bible, underscores the foundation to achieving success:
“In golf vocabulary, set-up, alignment, aim, body alignment and address are all related to the same thing. In every game of golf, if you align your body improperly, your instincts will subconsciously make swing compensations intended to hit the shot in the desired direction.” So if you stand up to it wrongly, your brain knows that. And then your brain says, “You don’t want to go down that line,” and it sends messages to the other parts of your body trying to fix the fact that you are set up incorrectly. Aim correctly, and it’s easier to make good swings. Because from a good position, good swings cause good results. Aim poorly and a good swing will hit a bad shot. So you’ll have to make compensations to produce the desired results.”
In essence, when we don’t make the proper preparations and don’t stand in front of the opportunity with our body and mind in alignment, we’ll be forced to make compensations all the way through the swing in an effort to get our desired result, and still miss the mark!
As brand identity specialists, we start the design process with the correct stance & posture. It begins with a thorough process that enables us to capture your company’s brand essence. Why? If you begin the design process with the wrong footing, your result will miss the mark, or even worse, land you in a brand identity sand trap. Just as in golf, it’s about alignment, set-up, and how you approach what you are about to do.
When we have a clear understanding of your company’s brand essence, what makes you unique, who your customer is, what you do, why you do it and why it matters to your customer, we are on our way with clear aim to hit the mark with a relevant, meaningful and unique brand identity that truly captures your brand.
Business is a tough, but rewarding game. You have the potential to gain a remarkable advantage with a dynamic brand identity. Schedule the time in your slow season, work with a good professional, and get your brand identity in alignment. Your company has only one identity, make it a hole-in-one!
“We’ll meet you where you are and lead you to where you want to go. You arrive at new perceptions with unfolding solutions.” –David Stanislaw
Stanislaw Consulting serves business owners, CEO’s and their top management with collaborative enlightenment so as to develop and enhance organizational health. Leadership development, culture change and climate enhancement are the pillars for the goal of long lasting organizational health transformation.
The work began as a natural outcome of the experience and ability David Stanislaw acquired during his years in a private counseling practice, and as a founder and administrator of two counseling centers. Now, the Stanislaw team has grown to five consultants, and support staff, to serve more companies. Together, they are developing the kind of repeatable process that allows businesses to efficient, custom-tailored consultation.
What makes Stanislaw unique is their focus on serving their clients as a catalyst for transformation. Each consultant takes the role of a guest who will facilitate the client’s own exploration toward resolution and achieve established goals. This aspect of each clients’ unique role is emphasized in the word-mark that the team selected during the concept phase of the Stanislaw re-branding project.Relevance in the Stanislaw word-mark. From a Gestalt psychology perspective, the concept, principle of closure eludes to the visual perception of the natural human consciousness to capture the transformation even when objects, such as squares with gaps, have missing partial sides (e.g. the letter A).
Stanislaw’s tailored process brings clarity and insight, leading their clients to the kind of discovery that brings optimal and lasting transformation. Further, the slogan, Collaborative Transformation, allows the implied word, creating, to have meaningful interpretations and promote the productive thinking they see in their clients. Those missing pieces in the “A’s” represent the “ah-ha” moments we see from their clients. “It’s incredibly rewarding for all involved in the process.” – Dragos Tranca, Stanislaw Consultant
Execution of the path to lasting change is the toughest part. When our clients author the solution, they are far more likely to carry it out.” – David Stanislaw
“Working with the Stanislaw team was an enlightening process. We gained an elevated level of respect for their depth of understanding, pursuit of an authentic identity, and ultimate regard for the intelligence and individuality of each of their clients. Every meeting included thoughtful consideration and endearing humor!” – Linda Kleist, Identity Creative
To learn more about how Stanislaw Consulting can equip you to bring personal and organizational transformation to your business, visit StanislawConsulting.com.