Choose Carefully: Logos can Promote or Destroy a Brand


Regardless of whether you’re creating a brand’s very first logo or redesigning the current one, logos are a crucial part of a brand’s identity. A recent Harvard Business Review study states that logos can, “help pique the interest of consumers, differentiate brands from competitors, facilitate brand recognition, influence investors’ decisions, and convey what a brand is all about.” Logos are often the first part of a brand consumers will see and can affect how a customer will view that brand.

There are two types of logos:

  • Descriptive: includes textual or visual elements that reflect what the brand offers (such as Burger King’s name in a bun in its logo)
  • Non-​descriptive: includes textual or visual elements that don’t indicate what the brand offers (such as the McDonald’s golden arches)

Descriptive logos were proven as the more effective of the two logos by Harvard research conducted on 597 company logos. Consumers view descriptive logos as more authentic, favorable and understandable than non-​descriptive. They also help positively drive consumers’ buying decisions. These results were especially apparent for consumers who were unfamiliar with the researched brands. They were more apt to favor the brand associated with the descriptive logo. 

While descriptive logos are most effective overall, the Harvard researchers discovered a few instances when these types of logos had a negative effect on consumers. When businesses that offer necessary, but not desired products or services, use descriptive logos, they can actually repel potential customers. For example, no one wants to see an overly detailed logo for a funeral home. In cases like this, brands should keep their logos simple and non-​descriptive. Remember that logos may have the greatest effect on consumers who fall into the New To The Market audience. Their profile on AudienceSCAN on AdMall by SalesFuel contains demographic, purchase intent and marketing information that can help you design the best-​looking logo for your clients, one that’s certain to bring in new customers by the masses.

Rachel Cagle

Rachel Cagle

Rachel is a Research Analyst, specializing in audience intelligence, at SalesFuel. She also helps to maintain the major accounts and co-​op intelligence databases. As the holder of a Bachelors degree in English from The Ohio State University, Rachel helps the rest of the SalesFuel team with their writing needs.