To a lot of people outside the marcoms world, the word 'brand' basically means 'logo'. And as a result, as far as the general public are concerned logos often form the core of what they perceive as brand messaging. Just look at the furore over the London Olympics 2012 symbol when it was first announced in 2007 or what happened to fashion retailer Gap when it changed the typeface in 2010.
A brand is of course much more than that, but logos still make the news. And for retail brands, a recognisable logo can make all the difference in the world. We recently carried out some research that showed that among 1,000 UK shoppers, the top three most recognisable logos for technology brands were Microsoft, Apple and Intel. They were identified with certainty by 92.7 per cent, 86 per cent and 85.6 per cent of consumers, respectively.
Social media brands filled up the remainder of the top five: 78.8 per cent of shoppers were certain that they recognised the Facebook logo (81.8 per cent of women vs. 75.7 per cent of men), while 73.9 per cent (again, more women than men) identified the Twitter logo.
That’s probably much as you might expect. However, there are a lot of growing tech and digital brands out there – and our research found that several don’t have the level of 'immediate logo recognition' among consumers that they might desire. For example:
- Only 50.4 per cent of consumers definitely recognised the Skype symbol
- A mere 7.8 per cent were certain they knew the LinkedIn logo
- Less than half (47.9 per cent) were certain of the Google+ symbol, even though it contains a 'g+' in the centre
- Only 12.3 per cent definitely recognised the MySpace logo
- Around one in five (22.4 per cent) were sure they knew the BlackBerry logo, as opposed to almost a third (32.4 per cent) for Android
- Although 20.8 per cent knew the Tumblr logo, only 10.8 per cent of shoppers knew the Flickr symbol and only 3.6 per cent correctly identified Pinterest
- iTunes tops music logo recognition: 34.4 per cent of shoppers knew the symbol immediately, against only 21.5 per cent for Napster and 16.2 per cent for Spotify.
It also seems, unsurprisingly, that many tech brands are best known by those in the capital. Our study found that Greater London scored highest for definitive recognition among all UK regions for logos such as Skype, Google+, Flickr and LinkedIn.
The research also looked at the 'instant recognisability' of other symbols that UK shoppers might come into contact with on a daily basis. It found that 36.3 per cent of shoppers knew what a QR code looked like and 69.4 per cent recognised a barcode.
In addition, shoppers were asked if they recognised certain retail/product brands from their logos alone: 96.9 per cent identified McDonalds and 76 per cent knew the Pepsi logo, while 39.5 per cent identified Fairtrade. However, only 9.6 per cent identified the Amazon symbol and 5.1 per cent (rising to 6.7 per cent among women) correctly identified Waitrose from its logo.
Given that technology companies live and die by the strength of their brand, particularly in hard-fought sectors such as mobile and social media, our research suggests that several brands still have a way to go to be instantly recognisable to the UK man or woman in the street.
Admittedly, it’s rare that a shopper will see only a logo with no other clue to which brand is involved, but a recognisable symbol can help underline brand credentials and allow shoppers to identify something when they only have a moment for it to catch their eye. And in today’s cutthroat retail environment, whether on the high street or online, a moment is often all you get.
Mike Nicholson, head of planning at OgilvyAction