A logo is the face of the brand, the very first impression that reflects the essence of the brand. It is a powerful asset of the brand that creates a unique identity in the market.
Now the big question is ‘What type of logo would be more appealing to the target customers? Is it the textual or the icon based? In order to answer the above discussed question, we will take the example or examine the legendary brands such as McDonald’s, Apple, and Starbucks. After looking at these brands the first spontaneous associations of the customer are often with the brand logo i.e. the golden arches, bitten apple, Starbucks mermaid respectively. Another example is of Red Bull. Red Bull’s two charging red bulls in front of a yellow sun differentiate it from numerous competing brands and signify the brand’s promise to provide energy. All of these companies employ the use of icon based logos.
On the other hand, there are some top reputed companies having logos that consists only the brand name. For e.g. if we think of IBM, Oracle Goldman Sachs, or Samsung, these companies use the brand name in combination with a unique visual symbol, such as Nike’s swoosh or Arm & Hammer’s flexed muscle arm with rolled-up sleeve to complete their brand logo. But others drop the brand name altogether and rely on a visual for their logo, such as Apple’s bitten apple or Mozilla Firefox’s stylized fox. Therefore, whether its icon based or textual based logo, differentiating a company’s brand from other brands is critical to business survival and so is communicating the benefits of your brand to the targeted customers.
A research conducted by MIT Sloan Management review suggests that brand logos or icon based logos offer a viable, and an effective means to help brand managers achieve these tasks. The researchers found that separate visual symbols used as icon logos tend to be more effective than simply the textual based brand names at creating a sense of emotional connection with consumers. It may not come as a big surprise, because symbols have always been considered more effective than words as communication tools.
Thus, it was concluded that the icon logo of the brand can be an integrator of the marketing efforts of the brand. It can also act as a reflector of such effort and the icon can represent what the brand means to its customers. In short, a good logo particularly icon based logo can be a synthesizer of a brand that is readily used by customers for identification, differentiation & positive association.
Symbols can overcome language barriers in a better way and are easier to interpret than words. However, in spite of the commonly understood benefits of symbols versus text, surprisingly few companies take advantage of separate visual symbols.
Hence, in a nutshell we can say that icon based logo has an upper hand over the textual based logo, as icon based logos represent a largely untapped opportunity in reaching out the customers, thus providing the companies a large and passionate customer base.