When is a logo more than just a logo? To answer that question I believe we first have to define the exact function of a logo, before we can explore if a particular design transcends its purpose.
If we exam the objectives of a logo and then apply that to the two Steemit logos we've had, it is clear that the design had to change simply because the change allows the Steemit logo to operate as a fully functioning brand identifier.
What's more, it helps the Steemit community create user-driven marketing that works. The ways it does that at first seem subtle, however will become more and more apparent as time wears on.
Judging A Book By Its Cover
The primary function of any logo is to announce your brand to the masses. Without some kind of unique design stamped onto your brand, it is impossible for people to tell your product apart from the next.
Labels also have another primary objective. Believe it or not, a label lifts the cognitive load off your poor little brain.
As modern humans we have thousands of decisions to make a day. From the extremely mundane and banal, to the important and necessary. Whether it's deciding when to go to the toilet, or what to wear for a job interview, our brains are never free from decision making.
All of these decisions use up brain power and create what we call cognitive load. Our minds are constantly looking for ways to lighten our cognitive load, and labels can help with that.
A label can convey all the perceived information about a product in one fell swoop.
For instance, why are Krispy Kreme donuts more popular than any generic brand doughnut? Because the marketing that goes behind the logo tells us; yes, those are tasty, me wan't now!
This is why in a lot of consumer industries, we have a couple of top brands, whom everyone has agreed are the best. In any given example, that assertion may or may not be true, it only matters if enough people agree it's true.
OK, so a logo acts like a brand identifier, allowing you to market your product and helping consumers with choice. So what? What has that got to do with Steemit?
It is no great secret that in the past I have been quite critical of Steemit.inc's marketing efforts. My gripe was that there didn't seem to be a cohesive and concerted effort to market the platform and leverage the great PR we've had in the past.
These criticisms I felt were not only valid, but were made in a constructive way. Whereby I wasn't just negging out for the sake of it, I was attempting to offer solutions.
Now however I see that perhaps some of the answers I got back from Steemit employees and the community at large, had more merit than I originally gave them credit for.
Back then, I didn't really see the bigger picture. I guess I'm a ready, fire, aim kinda guy.
However the other day as I watched a Steemit documentary about the excellent Steem Park, in Brooklyn, originally set up by @hitheryon
@voronoi, and @hansikhouse. The documentary was released by @sndbox and the whole Steem Park project can only be described as an absolute triumph.
The film is, I believe the first official marketing promo that uses the new logo, @ned was so impressed sponsored the documentary.
That's when it hit me that the new logo with all its rules about its use, can end up being the brand umbrella that ensures a high quality and targeted marketing campaign.
Out With The Old In With The New
Whilst Steemit inc. is a centralised private entity, it was built by and for people who believe in decentralisation, and community driven initiatives.
The nature of the wider cryptocurrency community, meant that community led marketing was always going to be a factor. However it is these very values that meant marketing Steemit always had the potential to be uncoordinated and sporadic.
From the very bad to the very good, from billboards, to Steemfest, we've had it all, and the feeling was; anything goes.
Now however with the new logo and the new rules, we have a chance to take community-led marketing to the next level and beyond.
Guerrilla Marketing On Steroids
Now that we have a defined brand logo that cannot be used in marketing without the authorisation of Steemit inc. we can really start to focus our efforts.
@voronoi, @hansikhouse, @hitheryon, and @sndbox have set the bar very high. The documentary is well shot, edited and presented. Most of all it is highlighting a great and worthwhile community project, that shows Steemit in a favourable light.
I believe @ned has sent a subliminal message to the whole community. By sponsoring this documentary and supporting he is essentially saying;
If you come up with quality marketing initiatives, we will give you permission to use the logo and maybe even fund you.
This is very powerful, it means that any authorised use of the logo, makes the promo in question become part of the official marketing strategy.
First we have the idea:
Before the new logo, if someone had an idea about how to market Steemit, they just went ahead and did it, in some cases they hoped to get some kind of backing from Steemit.
Now we can start to build a set of rules and guidelines to help shape our ideas. The rules will form organically, the approval of @ned and the powers that be at Steemit inc. will act as a kind of guiding algorithm.
So for instance we have the Steem Park documentary. We can say that that is the first rule of many to come.
If we break down that idea, Steem Park was promoted in several posts on Steemit, and they asked for nothing more than votes, with the promise to put all SBD and Steem towards the building of Steem Park.
They achieved their target budget, and made good on their promise.
Fast forward to the present day, and they decide to do a documentary highlighting the project and covering the opening of the park.
So in the first instance we have a park that provided a community space and at the same time promoted Steemit. Then we have a documentary shot to promote that fact.
The key thing for me here, is that Steem Park is a physical manifestation of the benefits of Steemit, which educates people who come into contact with it. Whilst the film spreads that message to an even wider audience.
So for now perhaps, if you want sponsorship for your ideas and permission to use the new logo. It is best to think along those lines, and produce a really high impact, and high quality public promotion of Steemit, that somehow benefits the very people it is promoting to.
Who knows? It's a total gamble and shouldn't be done solely for this purpose, however if Steemit inc. like it, they'll give you their blessing and perhaps some cash to back you as well. Even if you don't attract official endorsement and/or sponsorship, you will still have produced quality marketing which is on-message, effective and will promote Steemit positively.
Or of course maybe you are a rule setter and not a follower, and you'll come up with a brand new idea, that will pose another set of rules for others to follow.
A Bright Future
As we go forwards on Steemit it is not unreasonable to imagine a time when we have gathered many different types of user generated marketing that follows a clear and concise brand message.
We are all different, and there are Steemians located all over the globe. This will give us an international flavour, and could have the added benefit of each country having a specific type of message that works best for that territory.
The best thing about all of this, is that it will be decentralised and user-driven, it will simply be guided by the algorithm of approval. Which as efforts grow, won't just rest on @ned's shoulders, approval will start to come from others who have proven their marketing worth.
This way we're all singing from the same song sheet, pulling in the same direction to make Steemit the number one social media platform.
As we organically grow the Steemit.com marketing effort, so too will we grow the Steem ecoshpere and Steem the currency, thus fulfilling @dan's original dastardly plans for world domination!
Stay strong, and Steem on!
WHAT ABOUT YOU; DO YOU HAVE IDEAS TO MARKET STEEMIT.COM? DO YOU LIKE THE FACT THAT STEEMIT THE COMPANY IS CLEARLY DEFINED FROM STEEM THE CURRENCY NOW? WILL THE NEW LOGO DO WHAT I SAY; OR DO YOU THINK MORE IS NEEDED?
AS EVER, LET ME KNOW BELOW!