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    “Are Irish SMEs satisfied with their logos?”

    McCann, Paul (2019) “Are Irish SMEs satisfied with their logos?”. Masters thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

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    Alan Alexander Milne once said, “Things that make me different are the things that make me.” (A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh – Piglet). Every person is different; this is what makes us uniquely identifiable. Likewise, visual stimuli like logos are all very different and they can create differentiation amongst the extensive visual noise poured upon us every day. Aligning logos with an organisation’s values not only contributes to the differentiation of its visual perception but it makes them unique and identifiable to their stakeholders. This is informed by research which has found that when organisations align their logos to their core values, then the organisation’s perception among its customers or others improves (Siegert and Hangartner, 2017). The aim of this study is to understand whether small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Ireland are satisfied with their logos. While different research has highlighted the benefits that organisations derive from logos, many SMEs fail to capture the attention and perception of their customers with their logos (e.g., Mahmood et al. 2018). In fact, as SMEs develop their logos, it is found that there can be misunderstanding between designers and SMEs in the development process, particularly in logos embodying or incorporating the organisation’s core values and in delivering a brand appearance that best reflects the organisation. In the Irish economy, SMEs employ about 68% of the entire workforce and account for approximately 50.3% of economic turnover (CSO, 2012). Logos can play a vital role in enhancing the brand reputation of Irish SMEs in global markets, the development of meaningful logos that resonate with consumers can be greatly significant for organisations (Abimbola, 2001). This research focuses on Irish SMEs as a test case, in order to evaluate the overall satisfaction SMEs have with their logos and looks at their strategic significance in international markets. This work is an exploratory study that involved both qualitative and quantitative research methodologies in understanding what lies behind the reported difficulties that SMEs experience in achieving a logo that achieves strategic benefits. The quantitative approach involved the utilisation of an anonymous online survey that was sent to over 1000 marketing managers or SME owners that had recently had a logo redesigned in the last 24 months with a 22% response rate of completed surveys. The qualitative approach incorporated the use of semi-structured questions with qualified experts. A small set of SMEs who had recently undergone logo development in the last 24 months and used expert designers were the source for this data. For purposes of reliability, the interviewees were identified through a combination of purposive and convenience sampling strategies, with the sample size determined using the principle of data saturation. Therefore, the study had a solid representation of all the participants whose responses increased the validity and reliability of the research findings (Bryman and Bell, 2015). Based on this, the following research question is proposed: Are SMEs satisfied that their logos are enabling strategic success? A related, secondary questions is also addressed, which is: Is there a structured logo development process used by SMEs in Ireland in the creation of a logo and does it make a difference if it is used or not? As will be presented below, these questions are based on the assessment that logos in the wider research literature can greatly benefit an organisation by helping them achieve strategic success. The importance of logos can differentiate a successful and less successful organisation; having a logo that fits within a larger strategy and that fulfils strategic objectives is critical for SMEs. Addressing these questions helps to better understand differences between less successful and potentially more successful logos as SMEs determine how logos fit within their strategic objectives. From the research findings 100% the interviewees were in agreement that it is essential to undertake market research activities and use a design process in the development of their logos. This helps in understanding and knowing what designers can deliver for purposes of a giving the organisation a competitive advantage. A general result achieved is that the research found that SMEs had a poor understanding of design processes used in logo development, as it was often left to the design professionals as to what would be delivered and how. Finally, owing to the diversity of opinions regarding what constitutes a satisfactory logo in regards to satisfying strategic benefits, this research proposed the use of a case-based approach and proposes a Delphi study to be used in future research to enhance the development of theoretical concepts around what organisations can pursue in developing more strategically beneficial logos that increase competitiveness (Okoli & Pawlowski, 2004). A key conclusion achieved in this work is that there is evidence that SME owners in Ireland are not fully aware of the benefits of logos that could potentially shape and address strategic interests. Furthermore, this affects criteria used in measuring a satisfactory logo, that is one that address strategic interests, as revealed by SMEs, which increases vulnerability to creating ineffective logos

    Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
    Keywords: Irish SMEs; logos;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Design Innovation
    Item ID: 13878
    Depositing User: IR eTheses
    Date Deposited: 25 Jan 2021 12:03
      Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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