How a Thousand Words Can Be Worth a Million Dollars

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Module 1: How to Position Your Brand to Sell
Section 3: How to Use Images and Colors to Sell
Post 1: How a Thousand Words Can Be Worth a Million Dollars

At a shareholder’s meeting in 2010, Nike co-founder Phil Knight answered a question about iconic “swoosh” logo. It went something like this:

[Questioner] I’m a new shareholder. What does the swoosh mean and where did it originate?

[Knight] When we started Nike 38 years ago, we had to have a logo. So we hired a graphic art student and told her come up with something that connoted speed. We paid her $75 at the time. When we went public, we called her back up and gave her 500 shares of stock. She never sold. Her shares are worth a million dollars today! Source: Counterkicks

We’ve all heard “a picture is worth a thousand words.” But it turns out – a thousand words can be worth a million dollars.

Nike has become an iconic brand. Its swoosh is one of the world’s most recognizable logos.

Here’s why that’s important to you:

  • Your brand is the foundation of your business.
  • Your name is the cornerstone of your message.
  • Your logo is the cornerstone of your image.

What a logo will do for you (and what it won’t)

So let’s focus on your logo. First of all, let’s talk about expectations. What shouldn’t expect from your logo? What can you expect?

Don’t expect your logo to… Do expect it to…
– tell your whole story – provide a visual cue
– fully explain what you do – reflect your personality
– create impact instantly – create impact over time
– do all your marketing – support all your marketing

What makes a great logo?

  • Relatable
    Your logo should resonate with your ideal customers. It may or may not do the same for you. This is a mistake many owners make.
  • Unique
    Don’t be a copycat. You’ll send a message that you’re just like them, only less creative! You want a unique image, so people instantly associate it with you.
  • Simple
    People may explore the deeper meaning of a work of art. But they’ll only spend seconds looking at your logo. It needs to convey a message at a glance.
  • Memorable
    It probably won’t happen instantly. But over time, your ideal customers should remember how awesome you are just by seeing your logo.
  • Versatile
    Your logo should work in the digital and physical worlds, in small and large spaces, in color or black-and-white. In other words, it should look great everywhere you may want to put it!

Your logo will help build credibility and trust. But remember – it’s the cornerstone, not the whole building.

You have to consistently and persistently market your brand, complete with your logo. Over time, it pays BIGG dividends. We’ll talk about this more in the third module – How to Promote Your Brand Online and Off.

Sample logo

Marketing is everything – from your logo to the colors you use, from your website to your physical space. They all come into play to create your image.

Along with your message, your image conveys to the world what your business is all about.

For example, your logo can make you look trendy or traditional. If your brand promises leading edge products or services, you don’t want a logo that looks traditional. If you promise stability, a traditional logo may be just fine.

Even then, it’s important to be aware of changing perceptions. There is a difference between traditional and dated.

The social web (aka Web 2.0) has changed more than just how we connect with people. It’s also altered the images we use.

Yet a lot of businesses haven’t updated their imaging from the early days of the internet. This is the case for web sites, but it extends to the real world as well.

Here’s a great example of a very successful pizza chain in our area. They changed their logo awhile back.

Monical's Logo_small

Logos property of Monical Pizza Corporation

What a difference, huh?

There’s nothing wrong with their old logo. It served them well for a number of years.

However, you’ll notice that the old logo looks two-dimensional while the new one looks 3D. The colors on the old logo aren’t as sharp as the new colors (something we’ll address in the next post).

The new logo is very much a Web 2.0 look. It looks modern. It’s more exciting. It sparks more emotion.

Yet this isn’t just about their web site. The social web is driving the bricks-and-mortar world too. So this is also about store signage, menus, delivery vehicles and everything else they do to convey their message.

It’s about their brand image!

Your image should be pleasing to your ideal customers. It ought to show whether you’re a low-cost or premium provider. It must convey your brand promise!

Then you’ll cut through the clutter. You’ll attract the people you want to do business with. It’s all part of a brand that sells!

Next Step

Take your pick: You can go to Part 1 of the Use Images and Colors to Sell Guidebook or go on to the next post. In this case, we recommend the latter. Surprise! 🙂

Also note – if you have any questions, email us at with “BTS QUESTION” in the subject line.