Show it or say it: how brand familiarity influences the effectiveness of image-based versus text-based logos

Carter Morgan, Tatiana M. Fajardo, Claudia Townsend

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Some companies use image-based logos (e.g., Pepsi and Apple), while others use text-based logos (e.g., GameStop and Kohl’s). This research examines the influence of brand familiarity on consumers’ responses to these distinct logo formats. Four studies show that when consumers are familiar with a brand, they respond more favorably to image-based logos than to text-based logos. However, when less familiar, consumers prefer text-based logos over image-based logos. Studies include secondary data analysis on the real-world performance of several hundred global brands with logos of varying image-to-text design ratios. Three controlled experiments then identify processing fluency as the mechanism underlying the observed effects. Together, results provide insights for logo design optimization across companies and over a brand’s lifetime, identify brand familiarity as a key consumer-based determinant of logo design effectiveness, and reveal a novel moderator to the common empirical finding that images are favorable to text.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of the Academy of Marketing Science
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • Brand familiarity
  • Brand image
  • Brand logos
  • Image and text stimuli
  • Logo design

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Marketing

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