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Christmas and New Year is a good time to upgrade your company logo design. To add some spice to your website, and to convey to your customers the fact that you’re proactive in terms of branding, you can upgrade your logo to have subtle elements related to either Christmas or the New Year.

Although, strictly speaking, the logos you see on this page are not regular logos dressed up in Christmas garb, I thought showcasing logos designed for companies that provided services for the Christmas market segment would better help illustrate the points I want to discuss.

Along the way, we’ll reveal three powerful brand building tips you can put into use right now. Today.

Brand Building Tip: Listen to Your Customer

Brand can be a nebulous concept. It can be hard to pin down, but you know it when you see it. Reebok and Nike are both known quantities, but one of them is the stronger brand. McDonald’s and Burger King are both robust fast food brands, but McDonald’s is arguably the more popular of the two.

When you think about the brand you want to build, it’s important to think about customer experience as a whole. That means everything from your logo, to your social media experience, your website and your purchase process. It also means thinking about your customer service set up. All these aspects contribute to brand.

In other words, you can boil ‘brand’ down to how your customer perceives you. If you doubt this, just see this case study on Zappos, an e-commerce shoe company that built their brand almost entirely on providing stellar customer service.

But many small businesses and startups don’t take the time to think about their brand at this macro scale. What makes one brand stronger than another? One thing that can differentiate between two companies is the degree to which each is willing to listen to their customers.

Listening to your customers means first understanding who they are.

Your ideal customer is the person most likely to buy from you, and you need to identify them as soon as possible. Your brand will mean something to these people, and you can learn a lot from them.

Increasingly, social media is becoming an important tool for business owners. You can use social media tools, such as Google Alerts, Mention, Hootsuite and Buffer to actively listen to your customers—and your critics. This can prove invaluable because it provides you with a way to gather feedback from customers that doesn’t rely on surveys. Surveys are great, but if you provide customers an incentive to participate, your data won’t be wholly objective.

But when you monitor social media strategy for your brand mentions, you gather organic, unsolicited feedback. Over time, you can use that feedback to inform your brand strategy and product development. This doesn’t mean, of course, that you should avoid using surveys, but it does mean you should add social media monitoring to your toolkit.

In the case study, Improving Customer Relationships with Social Listening, the authors make the case that social media provides a myriad of opportunities to listen to customers. In particular, according to researchers, social media comments can identify friction in your customer service process that may be affecting customer retention. By hunting for these social media mentions, you can address small issues before they become large issues.

Over time, preventative measures like these can help you build brand substance more quickly.

As the late Australian entrepreneur John Ilhan put it, ‘This may seem simple, but you need to give customers what they want, not what you think they want.’

Another case study,  Are You Missing Opportunities to Listen to Your Customers?, makes the case that social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram can be potent customer relationship management tools. Both case studies are well worth a read.

Companies like Armadillo Christmas Bazaar and Little Bear Tree Farm don’t just speak to their ideal customers in their logo design. They do extensive research into what their customers actually want, and then they deliver that.

Brand Building Tip: Your Brand Is Your Identity

While your logo is only one part of your overall brand, it’s still a crucial element. You need to give careful consideration to the colors, fonts, graphics and language contained within. There are five aspects of effective visual expression.

#1 Simple

When you set out to create a logo, simplicity and clarity should be your top priorities. Customers won’t take the time to examine a busy, crowded logo, and they certainly won’t remember it. Simple is always better.

Overly complex logos can leave your audience confused. They don’t convey professionalism.

A simple, purpose-driven logo design, on the other hand, projects confidence.

#2 Relevant

A stellar logo is more than just a cool design. A successful logo sends a message about who you are and what you offer as a brand. To create a relevant logo, make sure that it’s on target. Another way to think of this: every visual element within the logo must serve a purpose. There’s no room for superfluous design elements.

In writing, there’s a saying: kill your darlings. The same goes for logo design. Adding a design element to a logo that serves no purpose is indulgent.

#3 Versatile

Your logo must serve many roles. It’s the anchor of your website. It will also appear on brochures and business cards. Heck, it may even need to look good on t-shirts, too. Throughout the design process, it’s important to keep these uses in mind.

A good rule of thumb is to assume that your logo will need to work at a very large size—like a billboard—and a very small size, like a web page or pen. This means, among other things, that you’ll need to give careful consideration to fonts. Some fonts, especially script fonts, don’t look so good scaled down.

#4 Unique

This goes without saying, but if you use one of those contest sites—they shall go unnamed, but you know the type—to source your logo, you run the risk of coming away with a copycat design. You want your logo to set you apart. If it doesn’t, you’ve wasted your time and money.

#5 Memorable

This last one ties into uniqueness. The entire point of a logo is to create a design that customers will remember. Your logo forms a sort of nucleus in the mind of the customer, the way a dust particle forms the core of a snowflake. It’s the seed around which brand substance forms over time.

In other words, customers will come to associate your logo with your brand and the positive—or negative—experiences they’ve had with you. If they’re about to make a purchasing decision, and your logo evokes more positive memories than a competitor’s, this can be enough to sway them in your favor.

When perusing the Christmas logos on this list, note how each is simple, versatile, relevant, unique and memorable.

Brand Building Tip: Your Brand is All Encompassing

Your logo is certainly important, but it’s far from the only aspect of brand. It would be a mistake to neglect other brand elements. Your brand is evident in all of your communications, too. It’s present in your corporate identity. The way you present yourself to the public informs it. How your employees interact with your customers plays a role too.

Realizing that so many elements go into forming a brand can be scary. Especially if you consider how many of these are outside of your immediate control.

But if your goal is to build brand substance, you can’t afford to focus on only one aspect of brand strategy. You’ll need a broad approach.

Bush Brothers & Company has dominated the canned bean game for decades, but they don’t let that success lull them into complacency. In the case study, Bush Brothers & Company, Bean Counting is Easier with Quality Data, the authors illustrate how the company raised its brand profile by proactively providing customers with detailed product data. By taking active measures to give customers want they wanted, they ensured that their brand remained top of mind.

The company went out of their way to provide their customers with quality product information, going above and beyond what the U.S. government requires. In so doing, they generated goodwill with customers. Recall that a logo can serve as a sort of seed in the customer’s mind—in their mental real estate.

The next time the customer sees the Bush’s logo in the grocery store, they might not consciously think, I like them, but they’ll feel like they do.

That is the power of brand.

As you can see, Christmas logos don’t have to be typical or cliched. In fact, there are many ways to keep them interesting without adding too much clutter to a logo. If you think a Christmas logo may be best for you, talk to a professional logo designer today.

* Unless otherwise stated all copyrights to the top 10 logos shown above belong to their respective owners. SpellBrand has not designed any of these designs unless explicitly mentioned in the review itself. These images have been taken from the public domain.
Mash Bonigala

Mash B. is the Founder & Creative Director of Logo Design Works. Since 1998, Mash has helped thousands of businesses express their brand messages through creative and award winning logo designs.