Every entrepreneur's dream is to create a brand that stands the test of time - one whose logo evokes intensely positive emotions or memories of a great customer experience.
Apple is obviously one of the most illustrative examples here. When the iPhone first came out, the general public was floored by its technology and enamored of its design. Even though numerous mobile technology companies have since come out with comparable technologies, when we see that Apple logo on boxes or billboards, it's almost instantly synonymous with innovation and quality.
But if you think about it, that Apple product's design is actually quite simple. And that's precisely the point: simplicity is often the key to creating a lasting brand. Some other examples are the Nike swoosh, the McDonald's golden arches, or Google's simple name in rainbow letters. Each of these logos are entirely uncomplicated.
In my marketing consulting days with startups, I used to find that many first time entrepreneurs would want to opt for very elaborate logos. These tended to be the same folks who couldn't explain their business in under five minutes. It was during this time that I got to know the deeper meaning of Albert Einstein's famous phrase, "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough." I would use this mantra regularly whenever we were hashing out our marketing materials.
So if you're just beginning your brand or looking to re-brand, here's my advice: use elegant simplicity. Remember, the average person's attention span is a miniscule 8 seconds - you want to grab your audience's attention immediately. If they can't immediately figure out what you do, chances are, you will lose them.
Michael Rader, founder of Brandroot, a dot-com marketplace for domain names, is constantly advising do-it-yourself-branders. Here are 4 ways he suggests keeping it simple, elegant, and enticing:
1. Choose a Brandable Name
What do Twitter, Skype, and Facebook all have in common? They're memorable. Even though they're completely unique - that is, the word "Skype" didn't exist before the advent of the videoconferencing service of the same name - they've still managed to quickly gain traction.
Why? There are several common threads that tie these names together. For starters, they're short, at one or two syllables each. They also "roll off the tongue" in that they're easy to pronounce. Further, they're brand new words, devoid of harmful connotations - which evokes a sense of uniqueness and invites the customer to discover something new.
Most importantly, of course, they're attached to great products - products built with beautiful simplicity yet powerful functionality.
2. Create a Logo Captures the Emotion of Your Business
Your logo isn't a picture of the product you offer: rather, it's the gateway into the culture of your business. Therefore, its purpose is to incite wonder in your customers, driving them to want to learn more about your product.
We all want that "aha!" factor to jump out from our logo, but if it's not simply and quickly conveyed, it will only distract your visitors and detract from your product.
Like a good brand name, a good logo evokes simplicity and curiosity, and is easy to remember: use straightforward elegance to entice your customers and create a design they'll remember.
3. Keep Your Tagline Short
Remember Einstein - when you truly understand what you're selling, you should be able to explain it in one sentence. The fewer words you use, the better. Don't go crazy and use so few words that it doesn't make sense - but play around with your tagline (one sentence business description) and see how short you can get it, while keeping it interesting and informative.
4. Use Web Copy in the Voice of Your Audience
If you want to relate to your audience, you need to talk like them. And unless you're selling scientific equipment - stop looking in your thesaurus and using words that people don't know the meaning of! Your job is to educate your audience in an enjoyable way.
As entrepreneurs, it's easy to get bogged down by details - to create a flawless product, to write perfect copy, to design a beautiful website. But when it comes to your brand name and logo, less is more: elegant simplicity is the most promising way to leave a positive first impression on your prospective clients. By keeping things short and sweet - in terms of your brand name, your logo, your tagline, and your web copy - you'll maximize your chances of turning potential customers into paying ones.