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by Dr. William L. Haig
CEO Powerlogos Design
Co-author, The Power of Logos: How to Create
Effective Company Logos,
NY: Wiley, 1997 (fifth printing.)

The Source, The Message and The Receiver
March 2004

Do you recognize the words and how they flow in the title? This is the classic communication model we learned in Communications 101. They are as distinct in marketing as product development, manufacturing, distribution and sales. Each element has a different function.

Breaking down the parts as it relates to marketing communication might give you a new perspective to better communicate with your customers. I am talking more sales.

Let’s review each step in the communication process as it relates to marketing communication. In this case selling something.

The Source

This is you or your salesperson. It is also your company, or your Web site. Several studies have concluded that people attribute the same trust on companies, or any information source, as they do on people. In other words, the source of any information must be believable.

The Message

This is what the source (your company) is saying. It is usually about the virtues of the company product and why it should be purchased. Often motivational buttons are pushed here too.

The Receiver

This is the audience of the message. There are specialists who are hired to “reach” the right target audience through media analysis. There are others who make media buying almost a science: reaching the target audience with the best media buys and frequency.


Different Requirements

So, simply put, these are the three main functions of communicating or selling to someone. There are different requirements for each function. There are source responsibilities. There are message responsibilities. And there are receiver responsibilities. There are seams. There is feedback. But think of the basic premise of the model that the source influences the message to the receiver. Or the company influences the sales message to the buyer.


Source Credibility

An effective source must be credible. Research is conclusive that the more credible the source, the more certain the message will be accepted by the receiver. The first requirement, then, is that companies must be credible.

How does this work? In my best selling book, The Power of Logos: How to Create Effective Company Logos, NY: Wiley, I use the example of the computer wiz and the chef.

For example, we go to the computer wiz for advice on what software we should buy to eliminate computer viruses. We go to the chef for advice on great truffle recipes. We wouldn’t go to the computer wiz for great truffle recipes, nor would we go to the chef for the virus software.

Why? Because each has his expertise. One on software, the other on recipes. We want their expert advice, but on different subjects. (Assuming we trust each to be an expert.)

The credibility model is: Credibility = expertise + trustworthy. Translated to our communication model: Company credibility > better influences the sales message > to the buyer.


How Does Credibility Work in Creating Logos?

We symbolize the company business; this says that the company holds itself out to be an expert in this business. Like Joe the keymaker with a “key” in his shop front sign.

Looking trustworthy means to creatively give the content design motifs to display believability or trust. For example, an aerospace logo would look different from company selling vintage car replicas. One would be highly contemporary, the other dated. Both design motifs are appropriate to express the character of the company. In short, the design objective is to look like a company capable of its “expertise.”


Credibility Based Logo Design

We call this Credibility Based Logo Design. We pioneered this process. We trademarked and copyrighted it.

© William L. Haig, Ph.D. or Bill Haig, Ph.D. 2006

This is an original work of the author. All rights reserved. Copyright registration will be applied for. No part of this article may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic, mechanical photocopying, and recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of the author.

© 2007 Powerlogos Design. All rights reserved. 'Powerlogos Design', 'Credibility Based Logo Design', 'Logo Implementation Guidelines' and Logo Planning Report' are registered 
service marks of William Haig. Other brands or products are trademarks, service marks, registered trademarks or registered service marks of their respective holders.