Yes, they should! I initially wanted to center the title around company logos only but i thought of keeping it more generic. A company logo and/or the marketing material is probably the most critical aspect of brand discovery or recall.
There are umpteen articles around designing company logo’s and also whether nameless logos work better than logos with company name in them. The jury is out on this and there is the whole creativity and thought-process that determines what kind of logo works best.
I am sure that like logos, all the marketing / promotional material that gets created also goes through the same scrutiny. I wanted to approach the question in the title primarily keeping in mind the Brand / Company discovery aspect. To a certain extent brand recall is a later stage activity where the logo and/or the promotional materials have already established themselves.
The thought triggered with the news of Aston Kutcher name-dropping his startup investments in the popular show Two And A Half Men. Dennis Crowley of Foursquare captured the snapshot from the show with Aston Kutcher’s laptop flashing the stickers of some of the coolest startups.
A publicity goldmine for the startups and something that would otherwise require millions in advertisement dollars!
Here is the snapshot from the show:
Phew! Lot of logos there. Now obviously there was a specific audience that Aston Kutcher would have had in mind while deciding to pull this on the show – The not-so internet savvy mass audience watching the show.
For those who keep abreast with technology and internet would in all probability be aware of the companies and the logos slapped on the laptop, wouldn’t it.
So, its safe to establish that the name-dropping was interested to serve the brand discovery purpose more than brand recall to a totally new albeit mass audience.
Now, lets assume ourselves to be one of the targeted audience and try to discover brands. I see Foursquare – I Google it to find out. I see Chego- I Google it to find out. I see Hipmunk – I Google it to find out.
Err, there are more logos there but how do it find out which company do they refer to? Oh, there is GroupMe there for sure (the # and the smiley) but how on earth do I find out unless there is a search engine that lets me search by uploading images (There are engines like TinyEye but hey who is going to take that much pain and there are fewer people who know something like Tinyeye exists in first place).
Now are you with me when I say that the company logo and its marketing/promotional material should have the company name slapped onto it by default!
Again this might be a one-off case and in all likelihood no startup or company can really plan for such publicity especially during the whole design process. But, Foursquare and Hipmunk really stood out and became more discoverable by the simple fact that the stickers had the company name (even thought it may not have been by design) .
In the online world, this may not be as critical since in almost all cases, the logo / sticker can be linked to the URL which makes it easy to drive an action. But, in this rare case of offline promotion the company name is the only option to ensure that a good percentage of those millions of eyeballs had the chance to discover a new product / service.
What are your thoughts on this from a user or a design standpoint? Does it make sense to have the company name a key element of the logo and marketing material?