Chain restaurants try to ensure that what you get at one location is exactly the same as what you get at every other location. This consistency minimizes the perceived risk in selecting a restaurant. The idea originated with McDonald’s and most others fail to do it as well as the golden arches. But six-year olds don’t know that. They do, however, know their logos.
When my six-year old daughter Cassie saw the Subway logo on a sign on I-80 somewhere in central Pennsylvania, and was reminded that she’d exclaimed just the week before, “this is the best turkey sub I’ve ever had!” about a Subway sub, we turned off at the exit and ordered the same turkey sub. She took one bite and ate no more. Though the logo had communicated a series of expectations about the product and level of service to be delivered, logos don’t actually select the quality of the turkey or flavor of mustard nor do they stand behind the counter making sub-par subs. It seems Subway is having trouble ensuring consistency from one location to another. This disconnect between the customer’s expectations and actual deliverables creates uncertainty at the time a buying decision is to be made – it makes the decision feel especially high-risk and it carries on forever. As a result, people avoid making the decision by going somewhere else. Some might cross the street to the A & W.
The big, brown logo at the A & W meant nothing to my daughter but my wife Shannon was transfixed as nostalgic memories from her childhood flashed before her eyes. Simply seeing the logo triggered positive feelings that drew her towards the restaurant. Convinced the modern version of A & W would not come close to meeting the expectations of her romanticized memories, I saved her from experiencing the painful disconnect that occurs when a company fails to meet the expectations set by its logo (I drove away). Later that night, Cassie pointed out the light fixture in the T.G.I. Friday’s was shaped just like a Chevrolet logo.
It’s clear logos take root in the subconscious at a very young age. As adults, logos instantly communicate to your customers and prospects the sum of every exposure to your company or brand and trigger a positive or negative reaction that helps determine whether or not to buy. How significant is the impact? Try to think about how you react to every logo you see while in the car today. Favorable or unfavorable? Think about how your customers and prospects might react when seeing your logo. And in eleven years I’ll reveal what kind of car Cassie wants to get – it just might be a Chevy (used).
For guidance in logo design, call 908.479.4231 or paul at eprmarketing.com.