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The Psychology Behind Logo and Color Choice

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Some professionals scoff at the importance of branding in business.

For many investors and analysts, this area of marketing seems fluffy and intangible, which makes it very hard to measure any potential benefits. While it’s true that quantifying intangibles is not always easy or accurate, it doesn’t mean that branding has no value to begin with.

In this way, branding may be comparable to the concept of “leadership” in sports. Athletes like Mark Messier, Michael Jordan, Ray Lewis, Mia Hamm, and Steve Yzerman weren’t just good players from a technical perspective, but they also had intangible qualities that elevated the performances of their respective teams. While it is hard to measure work ethic, passion, leadership, drive, and loyalty, or how these qualities rub off on teammates, it’s still clear to many coaches and managers that intangibles help win championships.

Like leadership, we know good branding when we see it, even though it can be tough to quantify. Coca-Cola is recognizable and nostalgic, while the Starbucks name may be the difference in choosing their cafe over an average-looking coffee shop in an unfamiliar neighborhood.

The Psychology Behind Logo and Color Choice

Logo and color choice are two of the most important parts of creating a quality brand. Today we have two infographics from The Logo Company. One shows the five major forms of logos, while the other dives into the meaning behind color choices.

We’ll add some commentary on the implications of logo and color choice in of the areas below.

Five logo styles

Companies cannot control the actual emotional responses to their brand on a personal level, but they can do their best to control shape, style, and color to at least guide these interpretations.

In fact, our brains are hardwired to learn and memorize new shapes, so the way a logo is presented can have a big impact on its effectiveness. The five major types of logo forms – brand marks, word marks, letter marks, combo marks, or emblems – are a way to control shape and identity.

Word marks, for example, have the name of the company in the logo itself without any imagery. This helps achieve brand recognition, while the lack of accompanying graphics may convey a sense of sophistication to consumers.

Using just initials in a letter mark can show even more sophistication. Leading luxury consumer brands such as Louis Vuitton or Chanel have used this with much success.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, some companies use just a brand mark to convey a sense of universality. Even though “Shell”, “Apple”, and “Nike” are not spelled out in name, their famous icons are known throughout the world. The Nike swoosh conveys movement, while the World Wildlife Fund can tell a powerful story just by using the famous panda in its brand mark.

Target is another instantly recognizable brand mark. The simplicity and circular shape are key elements to the design, but the bright red color also plays a role. Here’s a guide to how color can evoke different emotions in consumers:

Color Emotion Guide

One step further, here is another version with a little more nuance, from Web Designer Depot.

Color Meaning Table

Of course, colors can and do get interpreted in different ways. However, they can also have the power to represent broad ideas for cultural or evolutionary reasons.

In a previous post on the psychology of color, we dive into this in more depth. For example, it explains why the color red stimulates appetite, or why blue brings a sense of productivity and efficiency.

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Ranked: The 10 Organizations With the Best (and Worst) Reputations

According to a representational poll of 18,228 Americans, these are the organizations considered to have the best and worst reputations.

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There is no shortcut to gaining a bulletproof reputation.

To get there, businesses not only need to think long term, but they also need to do what is considered “right” in every possible situation.

Aspiring companies must be truly customer-centric, going above and beyond in how they treat their customers. They also require a cohesive vision that helps create a loyal and fervent fanbase that will go to bat for them anytime it’s needed.

The Best and Worst Reputations in America

Today’s infographic from TitleMax highlights the 10 organizations that have the best reputations in the country, followed by 10 that fall on the exact opposite end of the spectrum.

In total, the visualization shows five years of data, so you can see how the rankings have changed over this stretch of time.

Ranked: The 10 Organizations With the Best (and Worst) Reputations

As you can see, the reputations of organizations are very much in flux.

In fact, you can even see the impact of recent news cycles on the rankings for 2019.

For example, Patagonia shot up the rankings to become the #3 most respected company after donating its entire $10 million tax cut to environmental groups, while the U.S. government and Facebook both make an appearance on the worst list, thanks to recent negative media coverage.

The Best Reputations Over Five Years

If you haven’t heard of Wegmans Food Market, you might want to stop by a location the next time you’re in the Northeast.

With 99 stores and about $9 billion in revenue per year, this family-run supermarket chain believes that in order to be a great place to shop, it must also be a great place to work. This mantra must be effective, since Wegmans consistently ranks as having one of the best reputations in the entire country.

Also ranking high on the list is Amazon, which was founded as an “obsessively” customer-oriented company. The online retailer has taken the #1 spot in the rankings in three of the last five years, despite a generally negative sentiment hanging over tech giants in recent months.

“A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well.”

— Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon.com

The Worst Reputations Over Five Years

As Warren Buffett quipped, a reputation can be built over decades, but it can also be lost in just five minutes.

Various companies that have experienced recent scandals make the list here (i.e., Facebook, Volkswagen, Equifax). It’s also interesting to see that years after each scandal, rankings seem to normalize as the media and public get preoccupied with newer events.

Ranking Methodology

The ranking is based on a survey by Harris Poll, in which the 100 Most Visible Companies in the country are scored and ranked using a proprietary “Reputation Quotient”. For the 2019 edition, the poll had 18,228 respondents from a nationally representative sample.

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The World’s 100 Most Valuable Brands in 2019

Technology brands account for 20 of the world’s 100 most valuable brands in 2019, combining for a whopping 43% of total brand value.

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The World’s 100 Most Valuable Brands in 2019

Brand equity can be a challenging thing to build.

Even with access to deep pockets and an innovative product, it can take decades of grit to scrape your way into the mainstream consciousness of consumers.

On the path to becoming established as a globally significant brand, companies must fight through fierce competition, publicity scandals, changing regulations, and rapidly-evolving consumer tastes – all to take a bite from the same piece of pie.

Cream of the Crop

Today’s visualization comes to us from HowMuch.net, and it showcases the 100 most valuable brands in the world, according to Forbes.

Here are the powerful brands that sit at the very top of the list:

RankBrandBrand Value ($B)1-Yr Value ChangeIndustry
#1Apple$205.5+12%Technology
#2Google$167.7+27%Technology
#3Microsoft$125.3+20%Technology
#4Amazon$97.0+37%Technology
#5Facebook$88.9-6%Technology
#6Coca-Cola$59.2+3%Beverages
#7Samsung$53.1+11%Technology
#8Disney$52.2+10%Leisure
#9Toyota$44.6+0%Automotive
#10McDonald's$43.8+6%Restaurants

It should be noted that the list is ordered by brand value, a measure that tries to calculate each brand’s ultimate contribution in financial terms to the parent company. You can see that full methodology here.

Finally, it’s also worth mentioning that brands with only a token representation in the United States have been excluded from the rankings. This means companies like Alibaba or Vodafone are not represented in this particular visualization.

Tech Rules Again in 2019

For another straight year, technology dominates the list of the 100 most valuable brands in 2019 – this time, with six of the top seven entries.

Most of these brands saw double-digit growth in value from the previous year, including Apple (12%), Google (27%), Amazon (37%), Microsoft (20%), and Samsung (11%). The one notable exception here is Facebook, which experienced a 6% drop in value attributed to various struggles around the company’s reputation.

Here’s a look at how industries break down more generally on the list:

Industry# of BrandsBrand Value ($B)
Total100$2,231.9
Technology20$957.6
Financial Services13$198.1
Automotive11$208.9
Consumer Goods10$123.8
Retail8$133.0
Luxury6$124.1
Beverages4$49.3
Diversified4$56.8
Alcohol3$69.8
Apparel3$34.7
Business Services3$33.5
Restaurants3$73.0
Telecom3$24.3
Heavy Equipment2$36.7
Leisure2$19.8
Media2$34.8
Transportation2$41.1
Tobacco1$12.6

As you can see, technology brands make up 20% of the list in terms of the number of entries – and a whopping 43% of the list’s cumulative valuation.

In total, technologies brands combined for $957.6 billion in value. Even when including Facebook’s recent drop, this is an impressive 9.7% increase on last year’s numbers.

Will the double-digit increases for the world’s largest tech giants continue into 2020, or are brands such as Amazon and Google going to start seeing the same type of pushback that Facebook has grappled with among consumers and regulators?

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