Strategies & Insights

Study examines the power of logo placement

Posted: September 18, 2014 by
Linda Casey

This article shows how marketers can capitalize on their brand's standing in the marketplace through strategic logo placement on packaging.

Companies often place their brand logo high on their packaging as a means to increase brand visibility. However, the results of the current research suggest that this strategy may not be effective for all brands, especially when it comes to brands that are not perceived to be powerful players within their specific competitive set. Researchers have found that because people intuitively associate power with height, consumers prefer the packaging of powerful brands (e.g., Apple; Starbucks) more so when the brand's logo is featured high rather than low. Conversely, consumers prefer the packaging of less powerful brands (e.g., Seattle's Best Coffee; Gateway) more so when the brand's logo is featured low rather than high.

The researchers designed three experiments to evaluate the effectiveness of logo placement in relation to a brand's category standing. People saw the same brand with its logo either strategically placed above or below a central image on its packaging. The brand's standing in the marketplace was captured by measuring the market share of existing brands and by manipulating brand power of unknown or fictitious brands.  Consumers were then asked to indicate their intention to purchase or willingness to pay. The analysis appears in the September issue of the American Marketing Association's Journal of Marketing.

Lead author, Aparna Sundar, explains that "when a powerful brand's logo is seen on top, the packaging makes sense to consumers because they intuitively associate power and height. The same can be said for a less powerful brand when the logo is placed low on the packaging." Importantly, the logo of a powerful brand on the bottom or a less powerful brand on top of does not show the same effect, which results in reduced brand preferences.

"This research suggests a simple way to leverage a customer's existing brand knowledge through strategic packaging design," says coauthor Theodore Noseworthy, Associate Professor of Marketing at the Schulich School of Business, York University.

SOURCE: American Marketing Association: