Monday, July 25, 2011

Logos – who do you represent?

The small company I have worked for over the last decade was recently bought by a very large company, Caterpillar. Lots of things changed significantly in going from an entrepreneurial organization with about a dozen employees to a global Fortune 50 mega-company with more than 100,000 employees. A small part of the package was a set of shirts I was sent with the Caterpillar logo on them.

I was surprised to find out how this seemingly small token has significantly impacted my travel realities. No, it is not about getting perks because of the big company. The real change has been the notoriety of the logo. Now fellow travelers frequently ask me if I work for Cat and then launch into a discussion that deals with something of interest to them about this company that has one of the three most worldwide recognized logos.

Today in a hotel elevator in Washington DC, a Saudi Arabian man saw the logo and struck up a conversation about purchasing Cat® equipment in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. This is quite far afield from the safety consulting focus I truly represent for Caterpillar. However, this recent circumstance and many other similar ones brought to mind the consideration of just who do I represent to others? A little thought about the origin of the word “logo” led me to the Greek term for knowledge.

The current knowledge of the Cat brand for this Saudi man and the others comes from the people who built the brand. However, once they begin a discussion their knowledge of the brand and its logo is adjusted by their impression of how I represent the image behind the logo. So their last impression is a result of my personal logo and how it fits to the company logo.
And that led me to consider what my personal logo truly is as I somewhat subconsciously communicate my logo to others. Their perceived knowledge of me is a result of my actions with them. And that has led me to rethink some of my actions to improve my brand in areas that were a part of my blind spots.

How is your personal logo? Are there any blind spots that may have tarnished your otherwise shining star?

The Doc

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