Not long ago, one of my marketing class students came to me puffed with pride. She said she'd been working 'round the clock for weeks, creating a new logo for her company. After marathon sessions with management and multiple consultants, the logo was ready to be unveiled. "It's breathtaking," she sighed. "It is truly symbolic of our company's history, its founders, and its vision for tomorrow."
Concerned about my poor student, I studied the four-color madness on the page and peered into her glassy eyes. "My dear," I said, "I think you have contracted a serious case of logoitis."
Beware. Logoitis pervades marketing departments across the country. Its symptoms are undeniable. Normally reasonable people spend months -- sometimes years -- tinkering with a symbol. Results are often tragic. Thousands of dollars are wasted on a graphic of no meaning to anyone except a few eager marketing folks and graphic designers.
On the Web, logoitis is rampant. It frequently hits the moment users visit a site. If logos aren't plastered all over the page, they're dancing and spinning in some prominent location. Even worse are those sites that employ company logos as cute navigation buttons.
The cure for logoitis? It's not ditching the corporate seal entirely (graphic designers still need to be employed). It does require becoming less manic about something that's merely a symbol of the brand value promised to customers. Here are my recommendations:
Finally, remember why you're posting a Web site in the first place. It's not to show off your pretty logo... really. Content sells the brand, folks. Focus on your organization's superlatives, keep the content informative, listen to reader feedback, and update content frequently. Not only will you add strength to your brand, you'll also be cured of logoitis.
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Susan Solomon is the executive director of marketing and public relations for Memorial Health Services, a five-hospital health system in Southern California. In this capacity, she manages promotional activities for both traditional and new media. Susan is also a marketing communications instructor at the University of California, Irvine; California State University, Fullerton; and the University of California, Los Angeles.