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The Beginner’s Guide to Logo Design.

Part Three

Positioning—the first step to designing your logo.

If you’ve read the first two parts of this series, you’ve learned a bit about whether you really need a logo (and if you’re still with us, you probably agree that you do) and the power that a great logo design can have.

Now let’s take a deeper look at the ideas, feelings, and experiences that you want your customers to associate with your business. This is more marketing than logo design, but if you stick with us, you’ll be more prepared to create a great brand.

Positioning: the battle for your customer’s mind.

The concept of positioning comes from an article written by Jack Trout and Al Ries in 1969. They wrote about how products and companies can hold an important “position” in the minds of the people who use them.

Let’s look at some examples of what they meant:

Which car do you think of when you think safety? For most people (almost certainly those who remember the 80s and 90s), the answer is Volvo. Volvo has done a very good job of holding the position of safety in the market for automobiles. Many consumers believe if you want a safe car, you buy a Volvo.

Here’s another:

Which laundry detergent is best for protecting colors? If you said Cheer, you’re not alone. Tide (the leading brand in the US) is known for getting whites whiter. So Cheer took all of the other colors. It worked in all temperatures and thus protected your colors. They even called it “all-tempera-cheer” in one campaign. Cheer has worked hard to hold this position in the minds of laundry detergent buyers, who believe if you want to protect your colors, you have to use Cheer.

Last one:

Which shipping company do you choose if it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight? FedEx, of course. There are lots of shipping companies (and the postal service), but FedEx is the company known best for holding the “overnight delivery” position in our minds.

Here’s the most important thing about positioning: can you name another car company that owns the idea of safety? Or a laundry detergent that’s best for colors? Can you name a second shipping company that is known for overnight delivery?

Probably not.

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And that’s critical. Because our brains have evolved to remember only the most important stuff. We don’t need five solutions for overnight delivery. Or for washing colors. So we remember just one.

Do you know how many shampoo brands there are? Hundreds. But chances are you only remember the names of a few of them (or even only one). Because those are the brands you need or use. There’s no point in remembering a brand you will never buy.

Choosing a unique position for your product helps customers remember it.

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Positioning your product. Now think a bit about your product or service.

What does it help your customer do? How does it benefit them? Who uses it and what do they like? Who buys it and why? What emotions are associated with your product—is it serious?

Is it whimsical? Does it bring relief? Does it need to be trustworthy or playful or adventurous or extreme?

How does your product or service compare to your competitor’s? How is it different or better?

Is there an idea that represents what it does? Is there an idea that you can “own” when referring to your product? Is it the safest? The oldest? The best technical solution? The most effective? The first of its kind? Does it have the most power? Is it the softest?

Find the idea that your product can “own” and use it to set your brand apart from the competition.

This is your product position.

What’s the point of all this?

You may be thinking, “Why am I worrying about this? What I really need is a logo. Let’s get on with it.”

Okay, on the next page, we’ll talk about what kind of logo is best for you.

But in order to get a truly great logo, you need to know how you want to position your product or service. Knowing your product’s position will enable you to choose the right icon, a good font and even colors that will help customers recognize you and come back for more.

So ask the questions above. On the next page, we’ll start the design process.