Marketing based on your target audience’s problems and your solution to those problems is a hot topic these days. The basic theory is that you should make your prospects feel their own pain more intensely by telling stories that “paint a picture” about the problems that they could be having, or the fears that they are experiencing – and that this imagery can help bring more clients in your door.

Occasionally, I get a client who’s heard about problem-based marketing and who wants to apply that to their logo. And, while problem-based marketing can be a really effective tool to base your marketing materials on, I don’t recommend that you actually use your logo to show your customer’s problems.

Your logo will appear on each and every piece of marketing that you put out about your company. Just imagine that your prospect has seen one piece of your marketing, with their problems screaming from it, loud and clear. Then, they decide to come to your site and learn more. There’s the problem again! They request more information in the form of a brochure, and when they get it, the envelope has the big, scary problem on it again, and so does the brochure inside (of course!). If they’re not petrified by this point, they sign up – and there’s the problem on the invoice! And throughout the product! Oh, no! You’ll either scare them off or numb them to the problem, which isn’t the goal.

What if you have a couple of different target markets with different problems? Do you then develop a couple of different logos, with the different problems? Make one super-complicated logo that illustrates all of the various problems in one place?

Speaking of complicated, most problems have quite a lot of details. The ideal logo is simple, straightforward and clear – if you try to illustrate a logo with all of the elements of a problem included, you’ll wind up with a logo that doesn’t scale well and that looks like a jumbled mess.

Instead, a positive logo that tells the story of your business – who you are, what you do, and what makes you different – is a better approach. You want your logo to create good feelings and a feeling of connection and attraction in your ideal client – you don’t want it to scare or repel them.

The best way to do problem-based marketing is through your photographs in your Visual Vocabulary, and by using vivid imagery in your text to walk your prospects through creating their own, private picture in their minds. That way, the specifics of the situation that each prospect paints in their minds will be unique. Allowing your customers to create their own picture often results in stronger, more personalized imagery. This will give the picture a greater emotional pull for each client than presenting them with a logo or photo that may not have any personal meaning, and may not connect as well with their hearts.