Harnessing the Power of a Personal Logo

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A personal logo not only communicates your image in a single glance, it is also the glue that ties all of your marketing materials together. Your logo makes you memorable in your prospects’ minds, and that's why it's one of the fundamental marketing tools needed by today’s top agents.

May 2002, By Greg Herder

A personal logo’s primary job is to stimulate your client’s memory so that with just a glance, your identity is reinforced in your prospect’s mind. When done right, a logo gives you a powerful subconscious advantage in the mind of the consumers. It will make a good marketing campaign better and make your clients feel more comfortable calling you.
The question is, “How do you know what a great personal logo looks like?” Most agents struggle with the answer because they get confused about who they are trying to please. Yes, I know that in the end, it’s what the consumer feels about your logo that matters, but the reality is that what consumers think and feel about a logo is primarily shaped over time by how to use your logo to communicate your message to them.

The Check Mark That Changed Advertising

Think about the Nike Swoosh. When it first appeared, it was ridiculed by many that it was simply a check mark. But over time, Nike has turned into one of the most powerful logos on the planet. In recent study in the Journal of Brand Management, when a group of consumers were shown the swoosh and asked what image it brought to mind, they created an image of athletics, success, independence, winning, quality and many other positive adjectives. It’s still a check mark but the meaning and value are created by how you use a logo not in the logo itself.

So first and foremost when it comes to a logo, you must understand that art is totally subjective. What you see and what I see and what your prospects see are all very different. So the first thing to look for in creating your personal logo is something that resonates with you. The best personal logos are truly a reflection of who a person is, not what they do.

If you are a warm and caring person, you probably want to use earth tone colors and use a flowing font style and graphics. If you are more analytical, you may go with blues and more formal fonts and complex ordered lines. It’s also important to remember that simplicity is power. Don’t have too much going on in your logo. A single graphic element is almost always the best way to go.

Go With Your Gut

The real key when evaluating your own logo is not to think about what it means, but to get in touch with how you feel when you look at it. Thinking too much will only make the process painful and frustrating. One of my best logo artists recently told me about a client who continually asked what was her logic behind this or that element of the logo was that working on for them. When she told him it was because she got a feeling that it represented his personality, he almost became unglued trying to figure out the logic behind it. The secret is to accept that it’s simply a feeling.

That being said, there are some things that you need to avoid in a logo even if they feel right to you.

First, stay away from the overused images, like houses, doors, windows and sold signs. They have been so overused that will never differentiate you from your competition and are truly never a reflection of who you are as a person. Also, do not use your company colors in your logo or you will become totally invisible when used anywhere near your company’s logo.

The worst of all is using your picture in your logo. Photo logos were designed as a low-cost method of creating a logo that does not require any real creativity or thought, simply placing a picture next to a name. It has no more differentiating ability than an agent’s picture alone. Remember, your logo is a long-term identifier that should build value, goodwill and salability over time. Your picture will be outdated in a few years and then you’ll have to start over with a new logo.

Photo logos are great for the companies selling them because you have to keep buying a new one every few years. But each time you change your logo, it’s like you are always starting over. Also, if you use your logo in small sizes, which you will do, a photo logo does not reduce well, especially in full body shots, making your face unrecognizable. When you have ads with a great graphic element to draw the reader’s attention, a picture logo competes for attention and ends up making the ad look cluttered – especially if the logo is big enough to make the agent’s picture look good – thereby reducing the overall effectiveness of the ad.

Do It Right, Do It Once

Since your personal logo is a long-term identifier that you are going to use for next 20 years or more, start by hiring a personal logo artist that does them for a living. Not a graphic hobbyist who just loves to be artistic. Second, trust your gut. Go with the logo that you feel best about even if you cannot logically say why. Do not show your choices to other agents in your office, as they will totally confuse you, bombarding you with lots of statements about what your logo means to them.

The key to remember is that when anyone, including your clients, sees your logo for the first time, it has no meaning. Over time, through the consistent use of your personal logo, it will come to encapsulate the sum total of your image.