Every station regardless of market size is striving for strong top-of-mind awareness. Whether you’re playing the diary game or the PPM sweepstakes, the motivation for someone writing you down or actually listening to you often can come down to the power of your brand image. How memorable is your station? How firmly affixed is it in the collective mind of the audience?
And a big part of that is your logo. One of my least favorite tasks as a consultant is reviewing new or updated station logos. Talk about “too many chiefs.” When it comes to logos, everyone has an opinion – the GM, the PD, the sales manager, the GM’s spouse, an intern, and someone in the corporate office.
But what makes for a great logo? Memorability and simplicity would have to be right up there as key qualities, but given how much money and effort is invested in the design and marketing of brands, this is a fair question. And to help find the answers, Signs.com – an ecommerce design site – conducted a study of 156 respondents in the U.S., and put existing theories about brand image and recall to the test.
The challenge – draw some of the planet’s biggest brands’ logos -from memory. And as The New York Times reported, most people failed to accurately sketch iconic logos from big-spending brands like Walmart, Burger King, Starbucks, and Target. Even Apple didn’t score particularly well.
Signs.com created a special website – Branded In Memory – that details the test, providing the actual drawings respondents put together. It’s not just a great read, but also a fascinating look at how many big brands have evolved their logos over the years. Many radio stations grapple with similar issues – how to adapt and modernize iconic logos to increase memorability and brand equity.
It also shows mini-thumbnails of how all the respondents drew the logos of the tested brands, a fascinating look at how each individual remembers these symbols.
The big winner? IKEA. Nearly nine in ten were able to sketch out good or near perfect drawing of their logo.
Here’s the scorecard from the research:
Why does this matter – especially to radio people? After all, diarykeepers are writing down call letters/frequency/slogan – not logos – while in PPM, panelists merely have to remember to turn a station on.
Signs.com COO, Nelson James, believes that given the investment in marketing logos and brands, specific recall of color, font, and slogan is critical:
“Having these logos where you can’t correctly recall details means something.”
In the same article, Dr. Alan Castel, a psyche professor is less concerned about logo recall, and more focused on whether consumers recognize them when they see them:
“We don’t burden our memory with things we don’t need to know.”
So, is it that big a deal so many struggled to draw the Apple logo? As long as they know it when they see it – and more importantly, keep buying iPhones and Mac Books, who cares?
But recognizability matters, especially in radio – a medium that notoriously under-markets even its biggest and best brands. An iconic station logo stands out, is etched in the audience’s brain, and actually drives more recall during those times marketing dollars are actually being spent.
I walk away from this branding experiment with the idea I should try this exercise in focus and listener advisory board groups I moderate. Let’s see how station fans and P2s perform in this logo recall test.
In the meantime, which are radio’s most memorable logos? Which ones could most listeners sketch without working very hard? Which ones could you accurately draw from memory.
Because that top-of-mind awareness that comes with a logo being etched on the audience’s brains creates something of an edge. Especially during a time when we’re being bombarded with data, images, and other multi-media marketing assaults.
A good logo is a powerful marketing tool.
So, can your audience draw your logo from memory?
WRIF drawing by Kelsey Neveu.
Jacobs Media has consistently walked the walk in the digital space, providing insights and guidance through its well-read national Techsurveys.
In 2008, jacapps was launched - a mobile apps company that has designed and built more than 1,000 apps for both the Apple and Android platforms. In 2013, the DASH Conference was created - a mashup of radio and automotive, designed to foster better understanding of the "connected car" and its impact.
Along with providing the creative and intellectual direction for the company, Fred consults many of Jacobs Media's commercial and public radio clients, in addition to media brands looking to thrive in the rapidly changing tech environment.