January 19 2015 2:14 PM
A logo is a symbol used to represent your company, so that your products or communications are quickly recognisable as being yours. The cost of developing these little pictures varies widely – from the $35USD paid to the student designer of the Nike swish, to the reported $211,000,000USD for the 2001 update of the BP logo.
So where should you be cutting back versus spending money? Is there a “right” amount to be spending? And what is it worth in the end?
Where to cut the frills
A common mistake when building a brand is trying to achieve too much through the actual design of the logo. On the one hand your logo represents your company and so should be a reflection of its best qualities, but on the other, the logo is part of a greater brand identity rather than your sole marketing tool.
Where to splash the cash
The press love to make a big deal about how much large corporates spend on their logos. What they often fail to mention is that the cost comes not just from the design of the symbol, but from everything that is needed to back it up: defining the brand values and positioning, deciding the wider design elements, creating a new website, a new advertising campaign, communicating the new brand.
When all these elements are taken into consideration, it becomes clear that the logo design is in fact only a small part of the bigger picture. With that said though, it is a very public and easily isolated part of the brand, so be prepared for it to be picked up on before anything else!
Finding the magic number
So with all that in mind, what is the ideal figure to spend on your new company logo? Unfortunately, as all companies will find themselves in a unique situation at the time they decide to create or refresh their identity, it’s not as simple as “one size fits all”. Let’s take another look at Nike and BP as examples…
The $35USD logo:
When Nike was founded in 1971 it was a one-employee company that had recently opened its first store, after previously selling imported Japanese shoes from the boot of a car. They had yet to create their first sneaker, had no reputation, and there were no expectations.
The logo was simply something they needed to stick on their labels, to differentiate their shoes from others in the small local market. It was a time before the Internet, and they were five years away from employing their first advertising agency, so the initial reach of the logo was never going to be large.
A $35USD symbol was all that they needed at that stage, and probably all that they could afford as a small start-up.
The $211M USD logo:
At the time of their rebranding in 2001, BP couldn’t have been in a more different spot. They were one of the largest companies in the world, with 100,000 employees in 100 countries, and had just completed a series of acquisitions worth $120BN USD. The eyes of the world were watching what their next move would be.
The reasons for recreating their logos were also far more complex. They were head-to-head in competition with behemoths such as Caltex and Shell, in a rapidly changing market. The sector had expanded from “selling oil” to encompass more environmentally aware energies, and petrol stations had evolved to be roadside convenience stations. In addition they had the task of merging four recently acquired companies into one.
The entirety of what the company stood for had to change, as did their competitive strategy, their values and their personality. They needed to ensure their employees embodied this new thinking, update the design of all their stores, and communicate this all on a global scale. It’s easy to see how the dollars could rapidly rise.
Ultimately, the value of your logo is not dependent on what it looks like, or even how much you spent on it. The value of your logo is reliant on the reputation your company has built up over time. If you’re known for your quality products, friendly customer service, and sustainable practices, these qualities will be inferred through your logo to whichever product or communication it is attached.
So, with all that in mind, what's your logo worth?