Putting the Customer First in Business and Design

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One of the biggest mistakes that a business can make in logo design and branding is forgetting the customer. Ultimately, the customer is the most important factor in all marketing decisions. If you develop a logo that represents your products well yet presents no value for the customer, you have just wasted your time.

This may be the problem with the logo that Cigna has used for almost two decades now. Cigna is a company that offers health services such as insurance. It is based in Connecticut, which is a key part of the old logo design. The former logo features a tree, taken from an old New England quilt pattern. The teal color is calming and was quite stylish when the logo was introduced in the early nineties, along with a very corporate light gray. Trees convey health, growth and nature, making them ideal for a healthcare logo design. However, there is one key problem with this logo: where is the customer?

One of the problems with American health care is that people feel that they are no longer the focus of the system. Financial concerns and bureaucracy are the main priority, while the well-being of the patient/customer falls in a distant second place, if that. One important thing for a healthcare logo design to portray is that people are important to the business—that the customer is first. This can be an effective way of differentiating your business from the less customer focused competition. The old Cigna logo feels corporate. While it is an excellent representative of the business, the customer has been left out. Sure, it may be healthy, strong and growing—but why should I choose Cigna?

The new Cigna logo design is much better than the old one because it incorporates the symbol of the tree, but adds a person as the trunk. This gives the impression that the business is about health and growth, but that the customer is the core. The change in implication is huge even though the logo design retains the same basic shape. The color palette has been changed to one that is bright and inviting, although the logo is simple enough to be used in a single color where this is convenient, such as on stationary.

If you are running a business in an industry that customers view as intimidating, putting a human figure in your logo design can be very effective. This single image conveys the fact that you care about your customers (we hope that is a fact!). It makes your business feel more people-friendly, an impression that can make all the difference in whether people choose you over the competition. When combined with marketing and other branding strategies that create a people first feeling, these logo designs can be powerful indeed. In this case, Cigna is communicating that their customers are the basis of their company. They are not just saying it; they are showing it.