There’s a misconception in marketing. A brand is grown on the work you do, not the words and images you use.
This was demonstrated by a recent study by psychologists at UCLA. They asked people to draw the Apple logo from memory — surprisingly few people could do it.
The Apple logo is one of the most iconic brand symbols. Walk into any Starbucks and you will see the logo on device after device. The logo is on billboards, it’s in stores, it’s online — the Apple logo is everywhere.
According to the study, “Only 1 participant out of 85 correctly recalled the Apple logo, and fewer than half of all participants correctly identified the logo.”
Test yourself. See how you fair.
Customers Don’t Care About Marketing
As marketers and business people we can be captivated by Apple’s marketing, but its brand identity is not the source of Apple’s success.
As Tom Asacker writes, “The reach and frequency of the Apple logo is over the top. So why can’t most people recall and draw the correct one? I’ll tell you why. It’s irrelevant to most people. The details of the Apple logo simply don’t matter. The same is true of most marketing. The images, sounds and words don’t really matter all that much to most people. And so they’re not stored in long-term memory.”
And that’s the sum of it. People buy products and services, and they buy results and experiences. They don’t buy logos, taglines, websites, and marketing.
Marketing Is a Weapon
Apple stands out as one of the most successful brands and companies in history, because it plays to win.
Apple wasn’t the first in the music business. It wasn’t the first in the smartphone business. It wasn’t the first in the tablet business. And it’s not the first in the smartwatch business. But every time Apple enters a market, it enters to win.
The brand identity is just one arrow in Apple’s quiver to fend off direct competitors, and give it license (and credibility) to enter new markets.
The same is true for your brand identity. The images and words are tools that serve the business strategy:
- What resources do you need to attract customers?
- What does your company have to do to fend off the competition and create competitive immunity?
- What’s your strategy to win?
Marketing Serves the Business
Geoffrey Moore writes, “marketing is warfare — not wordfare.”
I love it. This is one of my favorite quotes, because it gets to the heart of the matter. Logos, taglines, websites, and marketing campaigns serve the business — not the other way around.
A brand is the sum of its parts. The visual identity is just the wrapping paper to make it a wee bit more appealing.