Logos that Tell Brand Stories

There is a new trend in logo design — logos containing visual elements that convey messages about what a company does or stands for.

For years, logos have conveyed a sense of brand. The particular chocolate color is recognizable worldwide, with or without the word "Hershey." The script used by Campbell's sets apart its soup. Ditto for Coca-Cola and its sodas. Now marketers and designers are striving for more from a logo. They want logos that tell brand stories. 

Perhaps the most dramatic redesigned corporate logo belongs to IBM, long the stuffed shirt of high tech companies. The "new" IBM logo supplants the pinstriped three-letter version with one that features hieroglyphs of an eye and a bee. The "M" remains in the old style to remind you this is actually the IBM logo, while the new icons hint at a major change in corporate culture.

The friendly eye and bee connote a more approachable kind of company than the familiar IBM logo designed in 1972. Interestingly, this logo was created in 1981 by the same designer, Paul Rand, who called this version a more relaxed alternative to the original. It seems the company is catching up to its creative side.

Blogs: Telling Your Own Story

If you want customers or stakeholders to know and trust you, you need to give them a reason. You need to tell your story convincingly and interestingly — and a blog is a perfect venue to tell it.

Great blogs share information unavailable anywhere else. That can include pictures, videos, tips on new products and back-stories. You can showcase individual employees or teams, share insider insights and create infographics that describe product or service innovations.

Companies and organizations with smart blogs personalize their content. They may hand over the keys to the blog to an individual or small group to act as the voice. They may concentrate their content on subjects intended to engage readers, instead of just informing them.

While some complain about the time it takes to brainstorm and produce content for blogs, the truth is blogging makes organizations more aware of themselves at a human level. You have to look around to find good stories, and they are inevitably all around you to find.

Blogging demands keen observation, like any other form of writing. You take notice of what's different or special in your operation or of a coworker who went the extra mile for a customer or client.

A blog is a license to unleash your imagination — and your curiosity. It would have been fascinating, for example, if Marty Cooper of Motorola had blogged about the thought process he and his fellow workers pursued in untethering phones from homes, offices and even cars, 40 years ago. It would be equally interesting if Cooper, who continues at age 85 to imagine the mobile phone as an extension of human capability with applications in medicine and education, could explain how he sees the future unfolding.