Thoughts On Florida’s New Logo
You only have one opportunity to create a first impression.
Your brand logo is its calling card. Often, the logo is the first introduction a person has to your brand. It is the rough equivalent of a business card.
When I think of both logos and taglines, I think of them as a short hand way to communicate your brand promise. In fact, when I was running brands at P&G I actually insisted my team avoid the term tagline and instead refer to it as a brand line. My rationale was that too many times Agencies lose sight of the lines strategic purpose.
So what makes a great logo and tagline?
Let’s look at each in turn, although in final execution they need to be synergistic.
If you research the characteristics of a good logo design, the overwhelming consensus is it must meet five key criteria.
- Versatile (scalable)
However, I would add a sixth criterion. It must be “on strategy”. The logo must be a visual expression of your brand promise. If it fails to do this, in my opinion the other five criteria are meaningless.
Whenever I want guidance about taglines, I visit one of my favorite websites – TAGL!INEGURU. Eric Swartz provides excellent insight into the most effective use of taglines in brand building. In fact, I think his company tagline says it all “It’s your brand on the line”.
“Its who you are. What you stand for. And why the world should care. It’s what makes you tick and your customers stick. It reflects a vision and evokes an experience. It’s the embodiment of a cherished wish, a fervent hope. It tells a compelling story. It’s a calling card, an invitation, an ambassador for all seasons. It’s the reason you’re in business, expressed in a few choice words. You see, it’s not just a tagline. It’s your brand on the line.”
As you can see, both Eric and I elevate the line to a level of high strategic importance.
Eric sets four objectives for a good tagline. A tagline must:
- Leverage your key assets, attributes, and advantages.
- Reflect your brand vision and core values.
- Promise an authentic brand experience for the stakeholders you serve.
- Elevate your brand visibility and reputation.
Florida’s New Logo and Tagline
Enterprise Florida recently introduced a new logo and tagline to promote the state for business attraction, retention and expansion. It has received a lot of media coverage, and Enterprise Florida will be relying on it to help communicate that Florida deserves to be on the short list of locations for any site selection decision. But, is Florida’s new logo and tagline capable of doing the job Enterprise Florida needs it to do?
Let’s Try To Evaluate It
From a design point of view it is certainly simple. The color scheme is similar to the Florida Lottery logo green and orange, so there is some visual continuity. The type font appears to be a variation of bender, designed by Jim Dore; but is likely a custom font designed specifically for Enterprise Florida. Whether you like the font choice or not is simply a matter of personal taste. However, the font helps establish your brand character. To me this font suggests “fun”. Florida already has a challenge in business attraction because of its exceptionally strong image as a tourist destination. I would have avoided a font that reinforces that established perception. Undoubtedly, this was a point of discussion among the leadership team that made the final decision.
I think you could argue it is memorable. Certainly the green and orange color is associated with Florida, in part thanks to the wonderful branding of the University of Miami.
The choice to use a tie in place of the letter “I” is definitely clever. I think it helps with memorability, but is potentially off-putting. A tie carries a strong gender association in the world of business. It will be interesting to see if the tie becomes problematic in communicating with female executives. On the surface, this may sound like a far-fetched concern. But, there is already some concern being raised in the press about the business logo being sexist. Time will tell if this concern is a tempest in a teapot or not. To be honest, if it were my call I would not have recommended Enterprise Florida take the risk.
I think you could argue either way on the criteria of timeless. For the foreseeable future, as long a tie is a symbol of business, then it can be considered timeless. But, fashion changes and many businesses and entrepreneurs are rejecting ties as required dress code. Even P&G is business casual. I don’t know for a fact, but I strongly suspect most companies operating in Florida are business casual as well.
The logo is certainly scalable, within practical reason. It can be read whether small or large. And, since it uses the state name, I’d argue it is appropriate.
It is hard to evaluate taglines without being able to look at the brand promise statement. So, I took a look at the Enterprise Florida website page – Why Florida – for insight into what the brand promise might be.
“The Perfect Climate For Business” is a clever play on the existing perception of Florida having great weather most of the year (ignoring hurricane season). The reader is meant to believe the business climate is just as sunny.
Using Eric’s four criteria, the tagline –
- Fails to leverage key assets, attributes or advantages. Virtually every community competing for capital investment makes the claim of perfect business climate. As a consequence it is not differentiating.
- You might be able to argue it communicates the vision of Florida to deliver a perfect business climate, but I don’t think you could argue it gives any insight into the brand values.
- Fails to describe an authentic experience. Positioning Florida as the perfect business climate is puffery. It is an exaggeration. No state business climate can be perfect for every industry. CEOs know this. Like any other state, there will be business challenges to overcome. The climate may be considered better than some others states. But, not perfect. I think IEDC says it best – “While no business climate is perfect for every kind of company, certain attributes of the regional or local economy allow investors to find fewer risks and higher returns when compared to other places.”
- Fails to elevate the brand reputation, uncertain on elevating visibility. A generic brand statement as a tagline is a throw away, particularly when it is a blatant overstatement. In my opinion, “The Perfect Climate For Business” provides no relevant point of difference for CEOs to associate with Florida.
I’d love to hear your assessment of the new Florida logo and tagline. As you know, an opinion is like a belly button, everybody has one. I’ve offered mine and would be interested in yours. To be clear, the proof of whether the logo and tagline are good or bad will be based on the actual economic development results Florida delivers. There are advertisements that break every rule and end up being crazily successful (e.g. VW’s Think Small campaign). Maybe Florida’s new logo and tagline will turn out to be the next exception.
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