Insight Marketing Blog

Owning a Phrase (or Word)

Burger King LogoJust do it.

Quality is job #1.

We try harder.

Healthy fast food.

It is entirely possible to “own” a phrase or a word in the mind of consumers. The above examples prove that – and it’s not just an option for big companies.

If you the phrase you choose describes what your brand stands for or cuts through to your brand’s core values, you can own that phrase. Being able to achieve “phrase ownership” is a quick way to communicate an idea to your customers.

Think about Burger King, they owned, “Have it your way.” Which, in essence sent the message to consumers that if they went to McDonald’s they couldn’t be sure if they could order their Big Mac with no pickles.

With Burger King, you told them what you wanted and they would  make it.

That one small difference was the reason their marketing campaign was very successful. They focused on the one thing they knew they could do better than McDonald’s, developed a phrase for it and delivered on their promise.

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Being First-to-Market Doesn’t Necessarily Mean You Win

Your brand must evolve.

Apple still has tremendous market share and even though you might hear about a bunch of new, start-up companies making computers but, no matter what, they just can’t seem to measure up to Apple.

If you’re first-to-market with a product, obviously you have an advantage, but that only lasts so long. After that, it’s how you maintain and execute within that market space. You can’t rest on your laurels.

For example, Xerox, came out with the first copier – they had a 14 year head start with no competition – but, eventually other companies came along with better technology. Xerox just seemed to sit on what they had done in the past and now they want to evolve as a document imaging company, but really they’re not anywhere new.

Going back to Apple, they came out as one of the first personal computers, but then they lost it for awhile, but when Apple made their brand come back, the brand had evolved to include the iPod. They led their come back not with a new personal computer, but something totally new – which ironically is now helping the sales of their personal computers.

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Why Companies Miss the Mark with Logos

The use of symbols in logos is not as important as many people think it is. Most businesses think they absolutely NEED to have a symbol in their logo. They just HAVE to have some symbol. What they don’t realize is that the symbol is actually a small part of a logo (until your company gets to be a certain size). What’s more important is selecting the right company name.

Once you’ve selected the best possible name for your company, it’s perfectly fine to add a bit of stylized text to give the logo a bit of extra “something” and use that as your logo.

However, there’s no denying that when you put a symbol on a product, it helps to set that product aside in the mind of the consumer.  So for example, if I were to draw a rounded check mark, you would automatically think, this:

Nike Logo

And, I were to draw a circle and put something similar to a “peace sign” in the middle of the circle, you’ll think:

Mercedes Benz Logo

The symbol, the more it’s used, certainly increases the chance that someone will recognize that symbol. But, the key thing to note is: OVER TIME.

So, if you don’t have a symbol in your logo right away, that’s acceptable. As long as when you finally do add a symbol, it’s appropriate for your company and communicates what you’re trying to communicate – and doesn’t look over-designed in any way or too complicated.  The best symbols are simple.

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