Route 52 near Cincinnati is an interesting drive– it follows the Ohio River, takes you through some cute small towns and, surprisingly, presents drivers with a stark marketing lesson. That lesson is to think like a customer.
On my drive, I first encountered a restaurant whose logo includes a whimsical mouse wearing a chef hat and handling your food:
If there is a mouse on the sign, isn’t it reasonable for customers to assume the restaurant has a lax rodent policy? Either way, a restaurant never benefits from an association with mice.
Next, I drove past a gynecology clinic featuring a mermaid on their sign:
I’m certainly not an expert in this field, but I’m not sure mermaids would even require a gynecologist.
When designing a logo and other marketing materials, businesses must think like their customers. It doesn’t matter how cute, clever or “different” the logo might be if customers are off-put by the concept.
Here are some marketing design tips to help you think like a customer:
- Understand your customer’s expectations. Would a customer think you are a better doctor with a mermaid on your sign?
- Consider common associations in our culture. Will customers have a pleasant impression of your restaurant when they associate it with a mouse?
- Be practical, then be creative. First answer the question, “What are we trying to say to customers?” Then, you will be able to create fun, interesting messages that resonate with customers.
- Ask others for their opinions. An outside opinion can be valuable to gain insights you might have overlooked.
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