Building Billion Dollar Brands
What does it take to make a logo for one of the richest companies on earth? What color is best? Sans or Serif font? Type only or a bug as well? Most importantly, how would you make it stand out among the other giants of industry?
Lets take a look at what top companies in the world are doing brand-wise. Unfortunately Forbes hasn’t put out a simple 500 list since 2002, so we will use their new list Global 2000. This listing of 2,000 companies from across the globe is based on sales, profits, assets and market value.
We will only look at the top 100 and see what similarities and difference we can find in a simple logo analysis. This won’t exactly be apples to apples, as many on the list are not designed exclusively in english, several are larger companies that own multiple sub-brands and I am not using their official brand standards documentation – but a fun research exercise regardless.
The list was put out in March of 2011. The funny thing about a list like this is that so much hype is made surrounding it and who is on it, when technically it could (and should?) be constantly updated in realtime. There is no relevance or real purpose now for outdated business information, especially when it concerns financials. This type of information is being calculated across thousands of businesses daily and in real time. Forbes has an opportunity to make a real-time list, one that could be much more robust as well as market integrated.
So what? It seems the only real reason this analysis would actually be usable is if you wanted to create a generic looking umbrella brand. However, I would suspect, after hearing Paula Scher give a lecture on creating the Citibank brand which ranks in at #10 on the list of top companies in the world, that a considerable amount of time has gone into the research and somewhat sociological experiments to formulate a logo that they believe will be acceptable to their consumers. Then taking that a step further you could make the argument that if all of these companies did at the very least a minimal amount of research surrounding their logo creation you could derive from it common thematic principles that for the the most part would be true – as far as what world-wide consumers might expect to see in a logo that means success (or domination).
At the end of the day, branding and logos are complete and utter garbage if the products and companies they sell are not living up to expectations. Branding really began during the Industrial Revolution, as an attempt by companies to inform users of where their “out of town” product came from, and why they should buy into their product guarantee or promise. As companies grew and grew and outsourced more and more, product quality changed. Leaving many brands hanging onto the only thing they thought they knew which was marketing, and eventually grouping together, being acquired or merged into massive corporations to lower production costs even more. But now as more consumers have wised up, and with the ability to share product experiences on a personal level across the web – what counts more now is the personal story surrounding a product. A brand has almost become more of a quality check box. One, does this company have a realistic identity that I think I could even consider trusting, and two, do I know anyone or can I find someone who has experience with it?
Make a blue and black, san-serif logo with a box, and you are one step closer to world domination. And mediocrity.