Does Your Logo Tell a Story?

The Cabot Creamery dairy cooperative makes fabulous cheese–have you tried their Horseradish Cheddar?–and they’ve also done a great job building a collective brand for their 1200+ family farm members.

The Cabot brand, launched in 1984, had a 4.5% share in the Boston market in 1990; by 2009, it owned 30% of the Boston market. At the 2013 Harvest New England conference in February, Cabot Senior VP of Marketing Roberta MacDonald shared how Cabot built its brand through creativity and smart collaboration, not big bucks. The key to success? “Share your story, share your love.”

Over the years, their logo has smartly evolved to reflect their brand story. In their initial logo, the green map of Vermont proudly reflected the company’s Green Mountain State roots, but that’s about all. They’ve changed their logo a few times since then.

The current logo uses the same typeface for Cabot. The map’s been replaced with the image of a farm, but by using the same green, the logo conveys continuity with the past. The words “Since 1919,” and the tagline, “Owned by our Farm Families in New York & New England” have been added. Now the logo really tells a story: when you buy their products, you’re not only getting a great cheddar, you’re supporting family farms.

As an avid reader of Parade Magazine (I can’t resist the celeb gossip in Walter Scott’s Personality Parade), I was excited to see their new iPad app, dash EGGS!. The mouth-watering photos and playful text are appealing, but I’m afraid this app is not all it’s cracked up to be. Given that it’s an app, not a print magazine, there were very few interactive features. Instead of running pictures of how to set up an Easter Egg hunt, why not create an online game? And despite numerous prompts, I found the navigation confusing and inconsistent.

Far more disturbing, however, was their sponsor, This consumer marketing campaign by the American Egg Board is funded by large egg producers. While some of the member farms are family owned, their values and farming methods are the opposite of the type of small family farms that Cabot represents. Personally, I find Parade magazine’s association with that sponsor to be–shall I say?–distasteful.

Sorry to stand on my egg crate and lecture you! But the company you keep–your corporate sponsors, funders and partners–reflects on your brand. Be thoughtful about the folks you choose to work with.