LOGO DESIGN: USING THE PSYCHOLOGY OF COLOUR

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LOGO DESIGN: USING THE PSYCHOLOGY OF COLOUR

Unless you live under a rock, you probably know that colours have meanings and evoke certain emotions. It makes sense, right? Though it seems to be common sense, let’s take a moment to review what your colour choices are actually saying. When it comes to branding and logo design, colour psychology is essential. What do you want people to feel when they see your design? According to Media Novak, here are some basic color associations:

Red evokes aggressiveness, passion, strength and vitality
Pink evokes femininity, innocence, softness and health.
Orange evokes fun, cheeriness and warm exuberance.
Yellow evokes positivity, sunshine and cowardice.
Green evokes tranquility, health and freshness.
Blue evokes authority, dignity, security and faithfulness.
Purple evokes sophistication, spirituality, costliness, royalty and mystery.
Brown evokes utility, earthiness, woodsy-ness and subtle richness.
Gray evokes somberness, authority, practicality and a corporate mentality.
Black evokes seriousness, distinctiveness, boldness and being classic.

HOW HAS THE PEPSI BRAND EVOLVED OVER THE LAST 100 YEARS?

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Pepsi

Pepsi (Photo credit: Tera Rift)

PEPSI

PEPSI (Photo credit: Fillmore Photography)

English: An old 7 Up soda machine. There's Coc...

English: An old 7 Up soda machine. There’s Coca-Cola available in this 7-Up (A Pepsi product) machine. Very nice –Allstick (talk) 01:54, 28 June 2008 (UTC) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pepsi

Pepsi (Photo credit: elmada)

English: A Coke pin

English: A Coke pin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Coca-Cola logo is an example of a widely-r...

The Coca-Cola logo is an example of a widely-recognized trademark representing a global brand. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

HOW HAS THE PEPSI BRAND EVOLVED OVER THE LAST 100 YEARS?
Advertising, Business, Creative, Editor’s Pick
On a blisteringly hot summer’s day, nothing could be more mouth-watering than that crisp mouthful of thirst-quenching delicious goodness found in a cool can in the fridge. Condensation droplets drip down the red, white and blue logo that has become forged into the subconscious of the public for several years since the recognisable symbol came into being in 1905. Vintage EraUnlike its domineering competitor and icon of pop culture Coca-Cola, Pepsi has undergone several transformations in its branding, from vintage typography to Hollywood-style bling, from elaborate to minimalist. Originally under the name of Pepsi-Cola, the delicious drink followed the same kind of typography as Coca-Cola and continually reinvented itself, particularly during the Great Depression when it was marketing itself as an accessible, refreshing beverage that the hard-working American could afford. “Pepsi-Cola hits the spot / Twelve full ounces, that’s a lot / Twice as much for a nickel, too / Pepsi-Cola is the drink for you.” A popular feature on the radio, it ran with the principle that consumers could enjoy a drink equivalent to Coca-Cola and twice as much for the same price. It proved that even during a time of economic turmoil, by meeting the needs of the consumer at a reduced cost, it could boost profit. Social RevolutionReaching out to the public would become a character trait of the company, whose progressively-minded President Walter Mack and Edward F.Boyd, an ingenious African American marketer, engineered one of the first advertising schemes to feature adverts with African Americans portrayed positively, recognising them as a valuable demographic. This would be the beginning of an innovative new marketing strategy which would become known as “niche marketing,” making Pepsi one of the most forward-thinking companies of its generation, as well as achieving a deep resonance with its audience by persevering with the campaign despite discrimination from racist extremist groups. Once again, its endeavour resulted in a positive sales increase.Pepsi continued to “hit the spot” for several years and enjoyed an invigorating rebranding in the 70’s when Joan Crawford began to reignite its advertising ventures by making television appearances. Hubby and President Alfred M. Steele began to increase his presence in social events like pageants. Blind-testing competitions (which would become known as the “Pepsi Challenge”) against Coca-Cola and an exciting new logo (the iconic red, white and blue colour scheme streamlined with a circular shape) would garner attention and recapture imaginations worldwide.Sponsorship VenturesPepsi continued to push itself as an “everyman’s brand” by sponsoring Major League Baseball, National Hockey League and National Football League sporting events. It would soon cater towards a younger generation by revitalising its logo several times over to implement the use of 3-dimensional graphics, which symbolically tied it to the refreshing carbonated water and intensified the vibrancy of the colours. The brand would surge into the world of Hollywood and pop culture by beginning a series of adverts helmed by the likes of Michael Jackson, Jackie Chan, Shakira, Britney Spears and Beyonce. This wasn’t to isolate Pepsi as a brand exclusive to the rich and famous, but rather to suggest that the popular drink was representative of the emerging generation just as the iconic figures were stealing the stage. This indicated a shift from niche marketing to direct targeting of the mainstream. Once again, this resulted in a considerable sales boost, putting Pepsi’s profits up and instilling yet another refined and reinvigorated logo in the mass consumerism psyche. Cultural FollowingsThroughout these various brand changes, Pepsi’s definitive place in the hearts of people across the globe has remained steadfast. Countries like India, Saudi Arabia and the Dominican Republic are just a few; particularly in Canada, the drink is a beloved beverage for several provinces, including Quebec. The Quebecois culture embraced the drink with the bespoke slogan “Ici, c’est Pepsi,” in defiance of Coca-Cola’s claim to being the world’s favourite refreshment, followed by endorsements from French-Canadian personalities like Claude Meunier. In regards to the Pepsi vs Cola movement, being the underdog allowed Pepsi to avoid the heat of the fire commonly directed at corporations like Coca-Cola and continue to boast mainstream presence, while having an edge in niche marketing, as well.With the advent of drinks like Pepsi Max and earlier schemes such as Pepsiman in Japan – an endeavour which worked with the country’s avid following of Sega and Playstation beginning in the mid-90’s – Pepsi has continued to expand its audiences and market itself a product which is not only delicious but also energising, as well as low in carbs (in the case of Diet Pepsi). “Every Pepsi Refreshes the World” states the famous slogan of 2010. Its international presence is an angle which Pepsi has pursued as a partial departure from being the “all-American drink” – a heavily emphasized focus throughout the more domestic ideology pursued by Coca-Cola. Some critics may argue that Coca-Cola’s timelessness is reflected in its unchanged emblem and its distinctness, but the fact that Pepsi is willing to take a risk and continuously reinvent itself – thereby offering the same great product, but attuning it to modern trends – suggests a kind of adventurousness and commitment to consumers. And it must work, because to this day it continues to dominate the billboards and pop machines everywhere.

BRAND DESIGN: A COLOUR COMMENTARY

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Deutsch: Coca-Cola Weihnachtstruck (auf dem Dr...

Deutsch: Coca-Cola Weihnachtstruck (auf dem Dresdner Striezelmarkt 2004) Deutsch: Coca-Cola Christmas truck (on the Striezelmarkt in Dresden) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Français : Une cannette de Coca-Cola italienne...

Français : Une cannette de Coca-Cola italienne d’une contenance de 50cl. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Coca-Cola Hellenic

Coca-Cola Hellenic (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Coca-Cola 375 mL cans - 24 pack

English: Coca-Cola 375 mL cans – 24 pack (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Coca-Cola logo is an example of a widely-r...

The Coca-Cola logo is an example of a widely-recognized trademark representing a global brand. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Image representing Apple as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

BRAND DESIGN: A COLOUR COMMENTARY 

Why is the McDonald’s logo yellow and IBM’s logo blue? Is Starbucks’ famous green linked to its sustainable credentials? Why is Coca-Cola red when its product is dark black? And why did Microsoft choose to feature all four of these hues in it’s now iconic Windows logo?

Omnipresent and discreetly influential, distinct colours impact our psyche in unique ways, and marketers have long since used this phenomenon to their advantage. Far from a serendipitous choice, the decision regarding which pantone to invoke is often the result of many days, if not weeks, of deliberation.

While brands such as Coca-Cola may have made the iconic red their own (to the extent that they managed to successfully brand Santa Claus), the colours in logos are consciously chosen depending on the purpose of the logo and the kind of product being marketed. For instance, corporate logos generally have staid colours, while software companies go for youthful and trendy colours.

So, that Coca-Cola red that denotes boldness, excitement and a whole range of intense emotions, is befitting of Red Bull and Nintendo. IBM’s blue is a calming colour that we associate with authority, strength and dependability – all traits we’d like to see in a technology company. It’s of little coincidence that it features so prominently in the logos of Dell, HP, American Express, Oral B, Ford and JP Morgan.

If you are asked to think of a brand logo containing a lot of orange, then Nickelodeon probably comes to mind – a suitable choice for a colour that creates an air of playfulness and fun. On the other end of the spectrum, purple implies both royalty and mystery. It’s often found in luxury brands – or brands that wish to appear luxurious – such as Cadburys and Hallmark. Equally however, imagination is also a purple trait.

Yellow meanwhile can be quite dichotomous. Mellow tones, as seen in the McDonald’s and Nikon logos imply warmth and optimism, while that of the Yellow Pages grabs plenty of attention. Green is slightly easier to decode, but its links to peace, health and tranquility have naturally led towards sustainability connotations, with Starbucks making the decision to switch from brown to green in 1992.

Speaking of brown, did you know that UPS trucks, ever-decked out in that delightful shade of brown, date back to 1916 when the company was called Pullman Brown? Far from a nod to the company name, UPS chose brown because that happened to be the epitome of luxury at the time.

Historically, colour psychology is well recognised as a key marketing lever since hues contain rich connotations. What better outlet to channel this through than a brand’s watermark? Logos would certainly not be as effective or evocative without their consciously-chosen colours.

But when we think of colour within logos, the brands we think of come from a different era, established tens, if not hundreds, of years ago. Certain brands have been fortunate enough to be able to even trademark a colour, such is their affiliation. But the question has to be asked:  In the new modern world of branding, are these iconic, colour-led logos soon to become an artifact of the past?

Secret Meanings

Did you know Nike’s logo has a hidden message? The famous ‘Swoosh’ tick actually represents one of the wings of ‘Nike’, the Greek goddess of victory. Here are some additional brand logos with hidden meanings…

Apple – There are quite a few theories regarding the symbolism of Apple’s logo. The current Apple logo is a modern and evolved version, but the very first Apple logo had the image of Sir Isaac Newton (sitting under an apple tree), while the second logo (rainbow Apple) was derived from Newton’s prism work. Some people like to believe that the logo indirectly symbolises the forbidden fruit of Adam and Eve, while a few people even believe that the bite in the logo refers to the computing term 8 bytes.

Unilever – The Unilever logo consists of 24 icons intricately woven together to form a U, replacing the old logo that had been used since 1970. Working with creative director Lee Coomber, the company used a fluid creative process whereby they thought about how and what Unilever does, whilst drawing icons and the U simultaneously.

Sony Vaio – The curvy V and A actually indicate an analog wave or signal, while the I and Orepresent the binary digits 1 and 0. A very unique creative, fitting of this type of company!

Amazon – Most people have used Amazon.com. and, therefore, know that the logo is self-explanatory. The text spells out the company name, but the arrow under the A and Z is quite interesting. It’s Amazon’s way of saying they carry everything from “A to Z.”

Sun Microsystems – The design is a very unique way of displaying the letters that spell out the brand’s name, S-U-N. No matter which way you look at the logo, you can read the word SUN. This stunning work was done by Vaughan Pratt.

How to Build Your Brand with Humor

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Audi Type E

Audi Type E (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

House of Humour and Satire

House of Humour and Satire (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Furious rabbit (humor)

Furious rabbit (humor) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Santa Monica Looking From The Pier

Santa Monica Looking From The Pier (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

House of Humour and Satire

House of Humour and Satire (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How to Build Your Brand with Humor

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Posted on 11.27.2013

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:: By Moazzam Adnan, Atlantic.Net ::


A few years ago, a ridiculous theater of life marketing experiment took place in Santa Monica. Two car dealerships, one Audi and one BMW, started a tug-of-war match of one-upmanship, through billboards targeting each other.

Audi started the impromptu sign war with a picture of the A4 and the taunting tagline, “Your move, BMW.” BMW responded with a billboard across the street with a shot of its own M3 Coupe and the line, “Checkmate.” Audi came back with a second sign featuring another rib: “Your pawn is no match for our king.” Finally, BMW had the last word by raising a blimp above the second Audi board, emblazoned with its Formula One car and the words, “Game over.”

The essence of this lighthearted advertising contest is that showing personality and humor can draw attention to brands. The ridiculousness of the racecar as the ultimate victory is clear, because no commuter will be driving 200 mph to work. Both BMW and Audi received significant press attention for the interaction, attention diverted away from the other luxury automakers.

Luckily with content marketing through social media and the blog on your site, it’s not necessary to rent roadway signs to make an impact. Let’s look at how you can use humor to build your business’s brand.

WHY HUMOR WORKS FOR MARKETING

Former news anchor and social media speaker Cindy W. Morrison believes that showing your sense of humor on Facebook and Twitter generates a twist on ROI called ROR, which stands for “Return On Relationships.” She provides the example of a sign at a brick-and-mortar business stating, “Children Left Unattended Will Be Given An Espresso And A Free Puppy.” As she notes, the sign serves a function while also giving patrons a chuckle and the opportunity to relate to the business owner’s perspective.

The same angle can be used on the various social sharing platforms. Humor offers a great opportunity to present something amusing to you, perhaps an anecdote. As long as the joke isn’t mean-spirited, it provides potential customers an opportunity to connect with your humanity. Developing loyalty is all about forming relationships, and the “Return On Relationships” often starts with marketing.

Broadening the picture, marketing gives brands an opportunity to stand out. Humor is recommended because people like to laugh, so you’re giving away an emotional upswing for free, as long as your users can connect with the sensibility of the comedy.

Several of the other bold maneuvers mentioned further demonstrate why humor works. One of them is personalization of the company through its brand pages, which is certainly achieved with humor. Another is relationship building, again central to humor and in agreement with the ROR concept above. What better way to connect with people and to show them that “you” (the business’s identity) don’t take yourself too seriously?

DIFFERENT TYPES OF MARKETING HUMOR

According to Business 2 Community, buyer personas and demographics are primary concerns with humor. You don’t want to appear disrespectful or distasteful. Luckily, though, there are a variety of tactics you can use to deliver humorous content through your blog and social media pages:

Double entendres – Using puns or wordplay with multiple meanings works for everyone. It’s especially helpful for serious fields such as healthcare and law. Humor must be more conscientious in those arenas, but you can at least go for a smile (as with Kaiser Permanente’s shot of celery stalks with the line, “Beat obesity with a stick”). If you are in a more carefree industry, of course, double entendres are a great way to be adult and family-friendly at the same time.

Pop culture & current events – Nothing places you in the here and now like a reference to a TV show or movie, which subtly expresses the fact that your company is made up of real people who appreciate similar entertainment to your audience. These references can create an inside joke across a broad spectrum of people. A good example is a meme created by Impact Branding and Design, featuring Dwight from NBC’s The Office and the line, “Fact: I sold 70% more beets online this year because of inbound marketing.”

Memejacking – Numerous types of media hijacking are popular online, including newsjacking (“stealing” the thunder created by a news story) and memejacking (creating a twist on a popular meme). The fact is, online hijacking is simply following trends and relating to the current climate. Following the leader in this way can work very well on social media. For instance, a Willy Wonka meme starting with the line, “Oh you have 57 Facebook fans?” was repurposed with the new punchline, “You must be an inbound marketing expert.” It’s not hilarious, but it’s light and relatable to those who get the parody.

Let’s face it: everyone appreciates a laugh. You can create a real-world stir with a stunt like that pulled by the Santa Monica car dealerships. Even if you just focus on your website’s presence to express humor, marketing can create a Return On Relationships. Just be sure you consider your buyer personas before determining what type of approach your humor should take.


Moazzam Adnan – Director of Business Development, Atlantic.Net

Moazzam currently holds the position of Director of Business Development at Atlantic.Net, where he contributes to the growth of Atlantic.Net by branding and leveraging their product offerings with Web and social media marketing. With over 12 years of experience in marketing and business strategy, he has successfully launched and managed products from concept to marketing to profitable campaigns.

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Big Brand Theory: Boston Celtics

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Boston Celtics

Boston Celtics (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

, American basketball player for the Boston Ce...

, American basketball player for the Boston Celtics (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell during a bas...

Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell during a basketball game (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

10 years in the making

10 years in the making (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Los Angeles Lakers Magic Johnson and ...

English: Los Angeles Lakers Magic Johnson and Boston Celtics Larry Bird in Game two of the 1985 NBA Finals at Boston Garden (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

current logo 1996–present

current logo 1996–present (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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ImageSocial media tactics and strategies that work for one industry often don’t work in others. In one, a focus on customer service can be effective, while in another, a focus on content marketing, influencers, or community might work best.

Brands that attract fanatical devotion – what you might call “love brands” – often play by yet another set of rules. This was emphasized recently when Peter Stringer, head of the Boston Celtics’ social media, shared some of the team’s social media tactics at SMX Social. I was able to catch up with Stringer prior to his keynote, as well as hear his conversation onstage with Matt McGee.

The first thing that was emphasized is that basketball fans aren’t your average customers. While they love the brand, they can get pretty passionate when the team fails to deliver the goods. Even though the Celtics brought home 17 NBA championships, they sometimes lose. When that happens, you can see tweets taking the team to task.

Stringer said, “Anything I put out there on Twitter or social media is akin to a public statement. I’m not going to get into a dialogue with an individual fan because they’re upset we lost a game.”

ImageWith over seven million Facebook likes and over 1.2 million followers on Twitter, the franchise generates quite a bit of buzz on social media. The general flow of content goes like this: the Celtics social media team posts content and then the fans share it. While those fans often address their sentiments to the Celtics, Stringer said, “We almost never reply to our fans.”

At four people, the Celtics social media team is not large. While you might think that one of the most popular sports teams in basketball would call for more social media effort, Springer quipped that while the brand is a large global brand, the company is actually quite small. He added, “We spend millions of dollars on athletes, but not on marketing.”

Moving Merchandise

The Celtics seem to have the best results in social media when the social media team generates great content that fans can then share with their own networks. While quite a few fans share Celtics imagery on Pinterest, the official account has been focused on promotion of merchandise.

At nearly 9,000 Pinterest followers, Stringer doesn’t feel that the team’s performance on that platform is exciting. It’s possible the self-promotional content is less apt to be shared. The Dallas Cowboy’s havePinterest boards that are more general interest – the type of content that you would think would be more shareable – yet that organization has fewer than half as many followers as the Celtics.

The Synergy of Sports and Social Media

When you look closely at how the fans of large sports teams share and respond to content on social media, you can sympathize with Stringer when he said of sports and social media, “the synergy there is probably different than any other industry.”

It seems like it’s a natural extension of the whole ethos of sports and the aura of celebrity surrounding sports. In closing, Stringer shared some true wisdom: “I see other teams being snarky with each other on Twitter, being sarcastic, taking shots with their with their opponents. That’s not what we do, not what we’re about. If we wouldn’t do it in the arena, we aren’t going to do it on Twitter.”