This Article is About
eastman kodak co
eastman kodak
several good reasons
harsh realities
photography companies
corporate symbol
large corporations
prospective customer
Why Should You Defend Your Logo?
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Why Should You Defend Your Logo?

You have probably seen the questions asked as to whether you can use a well known corporate name in your business and whether a logo is worth defending by these big companies. In other words, if you use the word Sony(R) in your domain, you're are probably going to be just fine because of several good reasons, good things you are doing for that particular company. And so many positive things come to mind!

1. You are promoting the company's name to your fairly wide audience. In other words, you are giving that company good, free publicity. It's all good, right?

2. You are actively promoting at least one of the high end products of the company in question.

3. You are actively searching for more customers in niches that the large corporation would not be able to address in its own promotions due to the relative narrowness of the niche. Large corporations survive and prosper by targeting, huge mass markets worldwide.

Let me give a little insight into how large corporations view their logos, their Corporate Identity, based on my prior work experience.

I worked for 30 years in the international marketing operations of Eastman Kodak Co. when that company was at its height in terms of market performance. Harsh realities brought about by the advent of digital photography have totally changed the outlook for the traditional silver photography companies.

Even so, I do not believe this has changed the corporate outlook and policies towards their brand identity.

When I was at Kodak, there were special training courses conducted on a regular basis to educate employees, especially those who would be most likely to come in contact with Kodak customers, or prospective customer. Kodak had an elaborate set of rules, and signage to be used by the Corporation, another set for processing labs, another set for dealers or retail stores. Each of these sets complimented each other, with the sole intent of strengthening the main corporate symbol or corporate identity.

Did Kodak really care how some dealer (retail store) half way around the world used the Kodak signage?

You bet your bottom dollar that they did.

To begin with, Kodak had either subsidiary companies, that were little Eastman Kodak Cos. or exclusive distributors that were responsible for the Company's operations in that country. What was one of the responsibilities of these local Kodak units? It was to manage the proper use of the corporate signage and corporate logo.

If a little retail store down some back street in Manila (where I spent three years) was using the main corporate sign, we would immediately visit them and take the wrong sign down, and replace them with the correct signs for a retailer. This was usually done at Kodak expense so as to maintain good will, but the corporate signage and logo usage were set up correctly.

Usually pictures of the before and after scene were taken to be used in training sessions.

You may think that Kodak was paranoid. But actually, through this vigilance, Kodak maintained a worldwide corporate identity that was equaled by few companies.

So, I ask you, would I use the corporate name of Sony(R) in my domain name? Not on your life!

It may be that nobody would find out about it. But if they did, you would have corporate lawyers or their representatives knocking at your door with some cease and desist court order for your reading pleasure.

What does this have to do with making money online?

You see more and more successful IMrs that are preaching and using brand identity. It may take time to achieve, but when you have it, it becomes a very valuable marketing asset to be promoted and protected.

StreetArticles has it own very distinct, and I think very effective logo: the capital S on a green medallion. Once you see it a few times, you learn what it is, and you recognize it at a glance. Now, that's powerful communication!

Many individual IMrs, myself included, have used our own image. I didn't like that at first because I don't like seeing my mugshot all over the place, but I've changed my mind now that I can recognize certain people's picture at a glance. They wanted their identity recognized quickly and they succeeded.

Bottom line, you have to make yourself known, and some form of visual identity will put you way ahead of most online marketers.


Street Talk

Sherry B.  

Great article, Juan! I never realized that Kodak did that with their signs and logos. What a great idea for them to correct the problem of others using the wrong signage by replacing it with the right one. No bad feelings and the small retail store could continue to promote them in the right way. Good way to do business, in my opinion. I also see many IMers asking about whether to use a company or brand name in their domains. Very good advice you pointed out to stay away from using them. Thanks for sharing :)

Reply
  about 6 years ago

Thanks for commenting Sherry...it's understandable that IMers would be tempted to use a corporate logo, but those corporations spend mega bucks to build and preserve their corporate identity.

Reply
  about 6 years ago

What a great way to manage international marketing! Giving a correct sign in exchange for one that improperly shows corporate logo stuff is brilliant. No wonder Kodak has such deep goodwill. Using before and after photos in training sessions is fascinating. You guys turned a problem into way more than just a solution. You build solid processes that in and of themselves promoted the company with anyone who got touched by the problem or needed to know in the future. Bravo! Great article too;)

Reply
  about 6 years ago

Thanks Cynthia for the kind comment. I learned a lot about corporate marketing while at Kodak, but some of this knowledge is applicable to our relatively small online businesses. The power of branding is truly great. My wife is almost fanatic about the little geko in the insurance company commercial. We've been with another company that has served us well for some 25 years, but she keeps bugging me about changing to the little geko company...the name escapes me, but if I see that little geko I'll know instantly who they are!

Reply
  about 6 years ago
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