Logos are a powerful thing. A simple “swoosh” can tell an incredible story if you put the right branding power behind it. A good logo sets you apart from your competition and builds brand equity with your customers. That’s why it’s so strange that banks are so slow to update the symbol that represents their company. I still see banks with logos that were clearly developed in the 1970s. While it may be true that an “old” logo rarely (if ever) causes a customer to leave a bank, it might be harder to say that an old logo can’t sway a prospective customer’s decision. If a logo is the first impression you get, then it seems entirely likely that some customers – especially those younger customers that banks need to survive – would choose a financial partner with a “fresh” logo over one that is old-fashioned.
What is your logo saying to prospects when you aren’t there to give them the whole story (about your people, your services, etc.)? Here are some red flags that show up when your logo needs to be refreshed or replaced:
(1) Is your logo hard to recognize when it is small?
Even though smartphones are growing in size, the screen is still tiny compared to a TV or laptop or even a sheet of paper. When your logo appears at the bottom of a prospective customer’s smartphone screen, and it’s only 1/2 inch tall, does it still have impact? If not, you might want to rethink it.
(2) Is your logo hard to put on apparel?
Simplicity is always the best when it comes to a logo. Do you have to change your logo up to stitch it on clothing? If so, it’s too complicated, and you will probably want to consider an update that makes it more flexible to use.
(3) Is your logo challenging to use on social media?
Profile pictures tend to be square, so logos that are inflexible and overly horizontal can be troublesome. Modern logos usually have at least one recognizable element (perhaps an icon) that can fit into a square space. If your logo is too tiny to see when you put it into a profile picture, then it’s time to trade up.
(4) Does your logo reflect the bank’s personality?
If you want to appeal to a new audience, you almost always need a new logo. Remember, your current customers will stick around as long as you do a good job taking care of them. New customers are a different story. You need to appeal to them before you meet them, and a youthful logo will help you to appeal to a youthful audience.
Take heart – you don’t always need to abandon your current logo. A good designer can often modernize your existing logo or add an eye-catching icon. When done properly, your logo looks fresh but familiar at the same time. For reference, see how Apple’s icon has evolved slowly over time.
One last tip – don’t try to redesign your logo yourself. There is too much at stake. Hire a professional and trust them to put some new energy into your bank’s brand. It’s likely that you can keep your brand equity and still move toward the future.
Greg “Hal” Halliday is the president of Anchor Marketing, a branding and new media agency that specializes in successful differentiation and positioning. Anchor Marketing has spent nearly 20 years branding and marketing independent banks in Minnesota and North Dakota. Halliday is recognized as a Certified Financial Marketing Professional by the American Bankers Association. You can contact him via phone at 701-787-8230 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.