Bellingham Logos & Your Competitive Universe


The Bellingham Herald is holding their annual “Who’s Logo Is It?” contest. The Herald takes local logos and removes company names and other identifying features from the logo reducing it down to just a few elements. Readers then try and figure out which logo belongs to what business, fill out their entry and then hope to win the $500 grand prize.

Besides being a fun scavenger hunt for readers (and beneficial to the companies who pay to have their logo in the contest) it’s a good reminder of what you should do periodically with your company brand and logo – look at it in the context of your competitive universe. A brand is similar to an investment portfolio in that about once a year you should look to see if it needs to be rebalanced in any way (messaging, position, design, etc.). For now though, let’s set the brand aside and focus on just the logo. Here’s a little exercise to try:

Step #1
Print out all the logos of your competitors and arrange them on a table.

Step #2
While reviewing the competitors’ logos that you’ve gathered ask yourself a few questions:

  • Who appears to be the market leader/most professional/cheapest/most expensive based on the logo alone?
  • Do any of the logos have anything in common (color, shape, symbolism, tag line, etc.)?
  • Who does a really good job of conveying their unique value or market position?

Step #3
Now add your logo to the mix and ask yourself a few more questions:

  • Do I stand out or differentiate myself in any way compared to the other logos or do I just blend in?
  • What new/existing attributes exist in my company that aren’t coming through in my logo.
  • Dose my logo look current or dated?

Keep in mind that this is just an exercise to measure the visual effectiveness of your logo in your competitive marketplace, not your entire brand. If you identify issues with your logo after this exercise, improving your logo can probably help, but a more comprehensive look at your entire brand may be needed.

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