Mountains and Molehills

Posted by on October 1, 2012

How much do your name, logo and color scheme really matter?

A schmuck falls off the balcony on the 30th floor.
A putz is the guy he lands on.

A putz is passively stupid; ridiculously unlucky.

Could a company succeed with a name like Putzmeister?

Could a company win if its logo was indistinctive and boring and literally gray?

Putzmeister was founded by Karl Schlecht in 1958. Today it employs 3,900 people that produce more than $ 1.5 billion in annual sales in 154 countries on 5 continents, name and logo and color be damned.

$1.5 billion, by the way,
is fifteen hundred
times a thousand,
times a thousand.

Fifteen hundred million. 

Just sayin’.

Wal-Mart may have the dumbest name in the history of the world. “My name is Walton, so I’ll call the store Wal-Mart.” Really? And yet he became so rich that just six of his descendants are worth more today than the combined net worth of 30 percent of our nation. That’s right, a tiny company begun in 1962 with an idiotic name and a drab logo and an unimaginative color scheme became the most successful retail empire in the history of the world in less than 30 years.

And they never bothered to change the name or the logo.

I meet Chicken Little advertising people every day who squeal, “the sky is falling” over names and colors and logos.

Color is a language. It definitely matters. A little.

Shape is a language. It can contradict or reinforce your choice of colors. Shape matters. A little.

Product and company names are words that carry conscious and unconscious associations. They absolutely matter. But what matters most of all is what matters to the customer.

Customers who buy from your competitors aren’t choosing your competitors because they have better logos. Your problem is something else entirely.

Customers care about things like products and procedures and policies that might affect them. They care about your offers and assurances. They care about the experience you create for them.

Will your prospective customer be glad they chose you? Yes? How are communicating this? What do you offer as evidence? Testimonials are suspect. Bold promises sound like Ad-speak. What are you doing to give your prospective customer real confidence that choosing you is the right thing to do?

You need a consultant because you have a blind spot.
(If you knew what it was, they wouldn’t call it a blind spot.)
You’re on the inside, looking out. It’s hard to read the label when you’re inside the bottle. Your consultant is on the outside, looking in.

If your marketing people talk a lot about colors and logos and layouts, you’re dealing with graphics artists posing as marketing consultants.

If you’d like to talk about how to take your company to the next level for real, my partners and I are ready. Are you?

If you’re a person who is interested in marketing and would like to expand your skill set, Wizard Academy was built for you, for today, and for the challenges you’re about to face.

Come. It’s time for you to rise up to your full height. You, we, have work to do.

Roy H. Williams

One Response to Mountains and Molehills

  1. Peter Brown

    Thanks for this. I had to laugh when I saw Karl’s last name. On top of founding Putzmeister, his last name is German for the following words depending on context: bad, lousy, poor, decayed, wicked, evil, foul, stale, sinister, vile…you get the idea. Talk about being born into bad branding names!

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