18 comments

  1. Colin – I’ve been checking out your site for a while now and really enjoyed your writing so far, but I have to say this latest post represents only one side of the story. It’s true that some logos or brands have come to represent a certain social banding or status (check out the Burberry chavs in the UK) but many high-end, premium products also carry a logo. I note that you say that there is nothing innately wrong with wearing a logo but I disagree with it harming your personal brand. If a product looks good or performs well it can only enhance the effect created by personal branding, and by wearing it you’re saying “Hey, I look fantastic in this”. If I write with a Montegrappa pen I don’t want to associate with other people, ideas or iconography created by that brand, I just want to use a beautiful and technically excellent writing implement! Same goes for good clothes or equipment. In this respect it’s a shame premium brands carry a logo at all, but I guess that’s all about building their own brand awareness…

    PS – check out your About page for some serious logo-flashing on the ubiquitous Mac… ;-)

  2. @TimB: Thanks for the great comment, Tim. While it’s true that brands can help your social status, and that excellent products can give you that ‘cool by association’ status, my main issue is with using logos to replace the effort it requires to have a brand of your own.

    I’m speaking here maybe especially of premium brands, as they tend to rely on this audience a whole lot. You know the person I’m talking about…the one who wants the BMW, not because of the high quality car, but because if he’s driving a BMW then he feels that it will make him better, without having to do anything to better himself (other than make the money, I suppose, but there are lots of ways to make money).

    I personally have many brands that I respect and admire, and as you mentioned Apple is one of them. That being said, I’m not someone who would wear a shirt with a great big Apple logo on it in order to borrow some of their prestige. They make great products, and that’s that. I don’t want that shortcut to public acceptability.

    But I digress. You’re right and make a very good point, but I hold that many people (too many!) use logos as replacements for real personality or earned prestige, and I think that’s sad.

  3. Colin this is a great post, and is funny because this has always been a problem I’ve had for many years, why should I advertise someone else’s brand instead of my own. I’ve been seriously considering starting my own clothing line of sorts with my own personal branding on it to wear and possibly sell to others if they ask about it.

    With that in mind I’ve tended to avoid branded items but I do have a few of my own, North Face (prior to them being so popular), Nike (they do make great shoes), Apple iTouch & Macbook, but at the end of the day they are high quality products.

  4. I am a conscious logo wielder. I do not wear clothing with brands all over, or buy bags with logos as the decoration, or whatnot. I remove tags, patches, and refuse to advertise what I don’t support. However, I will proudly wear a t-shirt from the place I work, or put the apple sticker that comes with the computer on my car, because I believe in the product and the quality and am proud to support them. I’m not trying to associate myself with the brand and seem cooler by association, it’s much more the reverse: if people think I’m cool, they might like some of the things I support as well. True, a massive company with millions of dollars in advertising doesn’t need my support, but the t-shirt I wear with the logo of the drumming studio is crucial to getting people around here to know that we exist, and it’s a statement that you’re part of something you really enjoy and think others might like as well.

  5. @Andrew: Haha, I did exactly that. Most of my shirts come from my own designs, here (though if others wear my logo shirt, is THAT the same thing? For you to decide!)

    @jenna: Good point, switching it around like that. Though they build the brand they want through clever advertising and high value products, the people who buy their products (you and me) are as big a part of the brand as anything else. If you’re a strong enough personality that YOU shine through, rather than fading into the background, I imagine you have nothing to worry about.

    @Tim: True, but these are tools that are on all the time and we, unfortunately, are not.

  6. Very true.

    I just read you ebook on branding. It is awesome mate. I am creating my own branding course and will probably give it out to people on that. Let me know if you have any issues with that.

  7. Colin – I’ve been checking out your site for a while now and really enjoyed your writing so far, but I have to say this latest post represents only one side of the story. It’s true that some logos or brands have come to represent a certain social banding or status (check out the Burberry chavs in the UK) but many high-end, premium products also carry a logo. I note that you say that there is nothing innately wrong with wearing a logo but I disagree with it harming your personal brand. If a product looks good or performs well it can only enhance the effect created by personal branding, and by wearing it you’re saying “Hey, I look fantastic in this”. If I write with a Montegrappa pen I don’t want to associate with other people, ideas or iconography created by that brand, I just want to use a beautiful and technically excellent writing implement! Same goes for good clothes or equipment. In this respect it’s a shame premium brands carry a logo at all, but I guess that’s all about building their own brand awareness…

    PS – check out your About page for some serious logo-flashing on the ubiquitous Mac… ;-)

  8. Thanks for the great comment, Tim. While it’s true that brands can help your social status, and that excellent products can give you that ‘cool by association’ status, my main issue is with using logos to replace the effort it requires to have a brand of your own.

    I’m speaking here maybe especially of premium brands, as they tend to rely on this audience a whole lot. You know the person I’m talking about…the one who wants the BMW, not because of the high quality car, but because if he’s driving a BMW then he feels that it will make him better, without having to do anything to better himself (other than make the money, I suppose, but there are lots of ways to make money).

    I personally have many brands that I respect and admire, and as you mentioned Apple is one of them. That being said, I’m not someone who would wear a shirt with a great big Apple logo on it in order to borrow some of their prestige. They make great products, and that’s that. I don’t want that shortcut to public acceptability.

    But I digress. You’re right and make a very good point, but I hold that many people (too many!) use logos as replacements for real personality or earned prestige, and I think that’s sad.

  9. Colin this is a great post, and is funny because this has always been a problem I’ve had for many years, why should I advertise someone else’s brand instead of my own. I’ve been seriously considering starting my own clothing line of sorts with my own personal branding on it to wear and possibly sell to others if they ask about it.

    With that in mind I’ve tended to avoid branded items but I do have a few of my own, North Face (prior to them being so popular), Nike (they do make great shoes), Apple iTouch & Macbook, but at the end of the day they are high quality products.

  10. I am a conscious logo wielder. I do not wear clothing with brands all over, or buy bags with logos as the decoration, or whatnot. I remove tags, patches, and refuse to advertise what I don’t support. However, I will proudly wear a t-shirt from the place I work, or put the apple sticker that comes with the computer on my car, because I believe in the product and the quality and am proud to support them. I’m not trying to associate myself with the brand and seem cooler by association, it’s much more the reverse: if people think I’m cool, they might like some of the things I support as well. True, a massive company with millions of dollars in advertising doesn’t need my support, but the t-shirt I wear with the logo of the drumming studio is crucial to getting people around here to know that we exist, and it’s a statement that you’re part of something you really enjoy and think others might like as well.

  11. Logos are tools. Tools help us out when used correctly, but tools aren’t everything.

  12. Good point, switching it around like that. Though they build the brand they want through clever advertising and high value products, the people who buy their products (you and me) are as big a part of the brand as anything else. If you’re a strong enough personality that YOU shine through, rather than fading into the background, I imagine you have nothing to worry about.

  13. Haha, I did exactly that. Most of my shirts come from my own designs, here (though if others wear my logo shirt, is THAT the same thing? For you to decide!)

  14. Very true.

    I just read you ebook on branding. It is awesome mate. I am creating my own branding course and will probably give it out to people on that. Let me know if you have any issues with that.

  15. Interesting post… but in my situation, I have no logo. And I think having some sort of quick little logo would be helpful. As opposed of course to not having one.

    So I continue my quest for a logo.

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