When the creators of Nike asked a Portland State student 40 years ago to design a logo, the swoosh that she created, which has become the symbol of the apparel giant, didn’t elicit much of a response.
They asked Carolyn Davidson, the part-time graphic designer they paid a whopping $2 an hour to create a logo, “What else you got?”
Eventually, they settled on the swoosh because it was Davidson’s favorite. It was like settling for Marissa Miller. Could you even put a price on the design they settled for? Because, honestly, would Nike be what it is today without that simple and sleek swoosh? Would the company even exist?
The Oregonian caught up with Davidson last week 40 years after the creation of the swoosh and told the story of how it came to be.
That got me to thinking a lot this week about how brand identity and something as simple as a logo can make or break a startup, which 40 years ago is exactly what Nike was.
A couple weeks ago our CMO named one of our new products BuzzMeDo, which evoked a reaction similar to the guys at Nike. Ummm… is that the best you’ve got? Buzz Me What?
I just didn’t get it. I asked a couple coworkers if they liked it. “Meh” was the typical reaction. Then our awesome designer Rick sent over a proof of the logos he had created, and BuzzMeDo immediately started to grow on me. It even started to make some sense. Well, I couldn’t explain it, but it just sounded right.
Still, I wanted to know what was behind the decision. How you stare at a blank screen or a blank piece of paper and come up with a name or a logo is extremely interesting to me. I loved the Nike story.
So I did what any employee who doesn’t enjoy job security would do, I asked my boss, “How the hell did you come up with Buzz Me Do?
“I had a mild seizure from dehydration as I was typing Buzz Me When (apparently what the product was almost named). Why? You got a problem, word monkey*?”
*Word Monkey… I’ve been called worse. I actually kind of like that. In fact, should that be my title? Hi, I’m C.J., the Word Monkey at Red Nova Labs.
I have no idea whether BuzzMeDo, which is still in the R&D process, will actually succeed, but if it does, we’ll have an awesome story to tell about how the name and the logo came to be. The logo could become as synonymous to BuzzMeDo as the swoosh is to Nike.
If there is a theme to the links this week, it is the importance of a symbol and the importance of telling stories that intrigue your customers and make them want to use your product.
The other theme, as will always be the case, is randomness. (For those of you that missed last week’s first edition of Sweet Linkage, here it is with a description of what this weekly post is all about).
Onto the linkage….
- AdAge does a feature each week with the best advertorial viral videos, and this week’s No. 1 video tells a story that almost anyone can identify with and pulls at the heart strings a bit. It made me feel bad that I didn’t make my dad a Father’s Day card, and I’ll probably be using Tiny Prints to make him a card next year.
- I still have a flip phone so I cannot participate in any of the cool mobile marketing campaigns these companies came up with (once there’s an App for doing my laundry and mowing the lawn, I’m all in). These are some great ways to get your customers engaged and excited about using your product.
- The Knight Foundation has funded academic research, software tools, citizen journalism projects and other projects it deemed worthy the past few years through its Knight News Challenge. Poynter’s Jeff Sonderman looked back at some of the successes and one of those successes was programs that support hacker journalists. I wouldn’t classify myself as a hacker journalist, but I have benefitted from learning some code the last year, and to be a successful journalist , blogger or marketer in 2011, you’re going need a little nerd in ya.
- The Social Times made an info graphic for the best times to post to Twitter and Facebook. Buddy Media has done a similar study and I even wrote about it on our blog. Everyone has a differing opinion. The best thing to do is study up on what everyone else says and then experiment yourself to see what works best for your company.
And now for the links that have absolutely nothing to do with startups or our company…
- Remember when your parents told you not to believe everything you watch on TV? Well, I look forward to someday telling my kids not to believe everything they see in the social media sphere. This guy created a fake twitter account and recruiting blog and actually had people believing he was a legitimate source. If you’re a sports fan and like reading stories about recruits or if you can appreciate a good prank, be sure to check this out.
- For my Kansas peeps, this was the best news I’ve read this summer. (I realize that’s not a ringing endorsement for my state, but anyone who travels through Kansas should appreciate this.)
- If you’re in an office and it would be awkward if you laugh out loud out of nowhere, click this later.
- And instead of linking to the best thing I’ve read lately, this is the coolest collections of photos I’ve seen in a while. A photo is another way to tell a story and these images do an excellent job of doing just that.
Thanks to coworkers Mia Iverson and Lesley Latham for sending me some sweet links this week. Be sure to check back next week for some more sweet linkage.