In business, it is important to look at your competitors and see what they are doing – what’s working for them, what’s bringing them sales, or what’s helping them create a buzz. This is what you commonly call competitor analysis. Take this one step further, and you have what is known as benchmarking. Simply put, it means you’re taking something that has been producing results for others and emulating it so that the same success comes your way, too. While benchmarking for business practices is common, benchmarking logo can also work wonders for a company’s branding strategy.
What is benchmarking in business
Benchmarking is a systematic and strategic management process that involves comparing an organization’s performance, processes, products, or practices with those of its peers, competitors, or industry leaders. The primary objective of benchmarking is to identify areas of improvement, set performance targets, and implement best practices to enhance overall organizational efficiency and effectiveness.
Sometimes, people use benchmarking and competitor analysis interchangeably. But the key difference between them is ‘focus’. In competitor analysis, the data is collected from your rivals within the industry, but when you benchmark company logo, it gives a more holistic understanding and transcends the industry boundaries to get a broader view of what we call “best practices”.
For any company, the logo represents its identity. However, the process of designing a logo and then redesigning it is a constant and ongoing process. These changes are sometimes made to indicate a shift in priorities or to alter the company’s identity in line with the changing priorities and tastes of the targeted audience. Sometimes, logos are revamped as part of marketing strategies to rejuvenate the business.
Every major brand has tinkered with their logo from time to time. Some even have modified it more than once. In the past five years, 78% of major brands have undertaken logo redesigns to refresh their image and stay relevant in the market.
Why benchmarking is important
While looking for inspiration to design a logo or make changes to it, benchmarking is considered an ideal practice to help with the process. In this way, the company evaluates the process and sees the effectiveness, visual appeal, and overall performance of the logo relative to industry standards and competitors. This process is crucial for determining the logo’s ability to represent a strong and effective brand identity.
Benchmarking tools and metrics
Benchmarking tools and metrics are a set of parameters and strategies that help you compare your logo with that of your competitors. These tools and metrics offer a data-driven approach to logo benchmarking, allowing companies to make informed decisions about the logo’s design, performance, and its impact on the brand’s image. Some of these metrics are:
They are quantitative measurements designed to evaluate the visual appeal of a logo. These metrics take into account various design elements such as symmetry, balance, color harmony, and proportions and give a numerical score or rating to compare the logo’s aesthetics. One common aesthetic index is the Golden Ratio, which measures the harmony of proportions in the logo’s design.
Brand recognition metrics
These metrics assess the logo’s ability to create brand awareness and recognition. Tools like brand tracking surveys or recognition tests can be used to measure how well the logo is remembered and associated with the company. Metrics may include unaided and aided recall, where respondents are asked to name or identify the brand when presented with the logo.
Eye-tracking technology can be used to analyze how people visually interact with the logo. By tracking where viewers’ eyes are drawn to the logo and how long they spend looking at different elements, businesses can gain insights into the logo’s visual hierarchy and effectiveness in conveying the brand message.
Color analysis software
Various software tools are available for assessing the colors used in a logo. These tools can provide data on color contrast, color harmony, and accessibility. They help ensure that the logo adheres to best practices in color theory and is suitable for different contexts, including digital and print media.
Usability testing, typically used for digital interfaces, can also be applied to logos, especially when they are part of a website or app. Users’ interactions with the logo on a website can be tracked to determine if it effectively guides them to important areas or actions. Metrics may include click-through rates and user satisfaction ratings.
Social media analytics
In the digital age, logos are often prominently featured on social media platforms. Businesses can use social media analytics tools to track the engagement and reach of posts that feature their logo. Metrics such as likes, shares, comments, and click-through rates can indicate the logo’s effectiveness in generating online engagement.
The process of benchmarking logo
Define the scope
To start, you would need to identify the scope of the projects. Do you want to create a new logo or want to tweak specific aspects of the logo? This could include color, typography, design elements, etc. It also helps set benchmarking criteria for assessing different logos. Some would pique your interest with their color scheme, others might have fascinating typography or iconography that might inspire you. If you get into this process without defining the scope of your project, you’d focus on other elements that might not need to be changed, and it runs the risk of jeopardizing the whole process.
After determining the scope, the second step is to choose a competitor(s) for logo benchmarking. Research and identify competitors and industry standards to compare against. This could include analyzing logos of similar companies or organizations in the same industry. There are two types of competitors you can consider in your analysis: direct competitors and indirect competitors.
Direct competitors are those who are your rivals in the same industry. For example, for Starbucks, Tim Hortons is a direct competitor.
Indirect competitors are those businesses that offer different products or services but target the same customer base. For example, Apple’s indirect competitors are Samsung and Huawei.
You can even look out of your industry for benchmarking. Sometimes, the best inspiration can come from unexpected places. What if evaluating the logos of businesses in completely different industries could help you to come up with new and innovative ideas.
Analysis of competitors’ logos
Getting a hold of your competitors’ logos is easy. You can find these on their websites, marketing materials, social media pages, and even product packaging. Now, you can collect data on the logos and analyze it to identify strengths and weaknesses. This could include analyzing design, color scheme, relevance, uniqueness, typography, symbology, and scalability.
Design: While evaluating the design, you need to answer two questions. Is the logo visually appealing and memorable? Is it consistent with the overall brand identity? You’ll get your answers by looking at the balance, symmetry, contrast, and unity within the logo’s design. Elements like line thickness, shapes, and negative space also needed to be looked at.
Color scheme: Benchmarking logo will also delve into color assessment to understand the color choices because colors have a profound impact on how a logo is perceived and how it communicates a brand’s message. In color analysis, you’d examine the psychology of colors used, their combination, and consistency.
Relevance: You’d also need to see how relevant to your industry is the logo you’re benchmarking. For benchmarking examples, consider the M&M’s logo. It can work wonders on candy packets, but it’d be a bummer if pasted on Rolex watches. Right? So, the benchmark logo design needs to be relevant to your identity, the audience you’re catering to, and the product/service you’re selling.
Uniqueness: The logo you’re benchmarking should be unique. It must stand out from the competition. Otherwise, how would it help improve your design?
Typography: The selection of fonts and typography is also assessed in terms of legibility, appropriateness for the brand, and how well it complements the overall logo design. Here, you’d scrutinize various elements like font, kerning and spacing, typeface pairing and tracking, etc.
Symbology: Symbology is a critical aspect when evaluating and benchmarking a logo. The art and symbols used in a logo are a form of visual communication that inspires memorability and universal recognition. The logo you’re looking for benchmarking should be culturally relevant to your company and have a storytelling appeal that evokes emotional resonance among your customers.
Scalability: The need for availability is different for different companies. For example, an e-commerce app will have to consider logo scalability on multiple devices, while a plumbing company wouldn’t have to worry much about scalability. So, it is important to evaluate the logo’s effectiveness at various sizes and in different contexts while benchmarking. The logo should be analyzed for its clarity when scaled down to very small sizes and its adaptability to different mediums such as business cards, billboards, websites, and mobile apps.
Identify areas for improvement
After gathering data on the benchmarked logos, the next step will be to take a step back to assess your own logo. How does it stack up? Are there any areas where it could be improved? Now that you have a good understanding of the design, relevance, uniqueness, and scalability of your competitors’ logos, here are some questions you can ask yourself:
- Is the logo visually appealing and memorable?
- Is it consistent with the overall brand identity?
- Does it accurately represent the business and its products or services?
- Does it stand out from the competition?
- Will it look good in different sizes and on different media?
If you can answer yes to all of these questions, then your logo is in good shape. However, if you think there are any areas where it could be improved, don’t be afraid to make changes.
Here’s an example of the Airbnb logo redesign.
The old logo was visually appealing, memorable, and consistent with the company’s brand identity. However, it was not unique.
The new logo is more visually appealing and memorable than the original logo. It also uses a distinctive font and design elements that set it apart from other travel and hospitality logos. The new logo is also more scalable. It looks good in different sizes and on different media.
Once you have identified all the shortcomings of your logo, now is the time to implement the changes. It is ideal to hire the services of a professional design company and give them a brief of the results obtained from your benchmarking process. Tell them how you’d want your logo to be redesigned around these parameters. The professional designer of the company can aptly implement those changes and give you a logo that reflects the brand identity and values.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with different designs. The best logos are often the ones that are unique and unexpected.
During the redesign, make sure you are not violating any copyright and trademark laws. Your logo must not infringe on any existing intellectual property rights and should be culturally sensitive and appropriate for the target market.
After the redesign, it is important to gather feedback from internal and external stakeholders. It is an essential part of the benchmarking process. This involves surveys, focus groups, and interviews to understand how the logo is perceived and whether it effectively communicates the brand message.
After you have implemented the changes, monitor the impact it is creating among the consumers and whether your investment into branding is paying off or not. Keep track of different metrics and audience feedback and make changes to the logo if needed.
In modern times, when design and branding elements are vital in determining the company/business’ success, brands should routinely be benchmarking logo to determine its effectiveness and appeal among the customers. This process also helps to gauge the industry’s best practices and evaluate the expectations consumers might have with their favorite brand.