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“Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room,” says Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon. The point of entry to your brand is your logo, and a successful logo can propel your business to new heights by instilling confidence in your brand. It’s then your job to deliver on the message and brand promise your logo creates.

So how does your logo measure up? Here are four critical questions you need to answer to determine if your current company logo design needs to be rejuvenated.

1. Do you have a custom logo design or is it clipart?

Although there are various online services offering a free logo design, grabbing a free design may save you some money, but what is it costing you in business? Clipart logos lack authenticity and will make it more difficult for you to stand out in a crowded pack of electricians all with the same light bulb or lightning rod logo. It can tell customers that you provide cookie-cutter services of low value, no better than the other guy or gal. If you want to attract customers who value your products and services, show them that your brand is valuable and worth the investment. You also need to be careful that you don’t inadvertently snag a logo from the Internet that could be copyright protected. Your best bet is to create an identity that is all your own, and get it registered with the trademark office.

2. Is your logo current?

Does it represent who you are as an organization today or who you were years ago? Is it relevant to today’s market or still caught up in the past? An outdated logo conveys that your products, services and mindset are also outdated. Such a brand message often leads to lost opportunities. Best to shine a light on what is most relevant to today’s market in order to see your business reap the rewards.

3. Can you grow into it in the future?

Your business has evolved and will continue to do so. Is your logo flexible enough to allow you to grow into it, or is it limiting? When you review your business plan and your marketing plan, don’t forget to include a review of your logo design to make sure it will properly represent your business as you grow into new markets and release new products and services.

4. When is the right time to update your company logo design?

Some business owners are concerned that changing their logo will confuse their customer base. While this could be true, an outdated design that doesn’t truly represent your business and your distinct value proposition can be detrimental to growth and make it more difficult to compete. There are added benefits to updating your logo — you get the opportunity to create a new buzz within your market by developing new marketing campaigns and re-introduce the value and benefits of your business to past clients as well as prospects.

Sometimes you need to change more than your logo.

While a logo design change can reintroduce your business to the market, your interactions with your prospects and customers need to reflect the new you, too. Some companies with negative images make the mistake of trying to rebrand their business, their products, and their services with a name change and a new logo without actually making any internal adjustments.

In some cases, changes to your logo design may be more functional, updating your brand to reflect the current you. However, if you are using a new logo and a name change as a way to improve your relationships with a dissatisfied customer base, make sure you make a holistic change that includes your corporate culture and customer service.

Dina Wasmer is President and CMO of Incite Creative, a marketing strategy and design firm that helps businesses and organizations get the most bang from their marketing bucks. She can be reached at 410-366-9479 or [email protected]