You've heard it from me before that logos are not the most important part of your brand, however, they are a part of the experience nonetheless. With that in mind, it's important to get them right.
What are the core indicators of a successful logo? According so Sagi Haviv of Chermayeff, Geismar and Haviv (the identity agency responsible for the Chase Bank, MSNBC, Nat Geo, and Conservation International logos), it comes down to three things:
Simple, distinct, and appropriate.
Simple, meaning that it could be replicated at various sizes and applications without additional effort.
Distinct, meaning that it could be described after looking at it or perhaps doodled on a piece of paper and different from others in the same field.
Lastly, appropriate, meaning that you wouldn't have the same logo for a heavy metal band that you would for a cooking line designed to make people feel calm and tranquil. This doesn't mean tell the whole story, it means don't contradict yourself emotionally.
Simple, distinct, and appropriate. Logos that fail to meet this end up becoming blemishes wherever they are placed. The most elegant package, flyer, or product becomes tarnished with your hideous zit of a logo.
Take a look at your marketing collateral, your website, billboards, ads, business cards, etc.
Now ask yourself, do you have a logo or do you have a blemish?
You stare at a wrinkly grey wall from one inch away. You can see every porous cavity, every abrasion, every molecule, but you cannot see the whole thing.
Is it cement? Is it brick? You don't know. Why? Because you cannot see the whole thing in context, you can only see tiny details.
You move back five feet and realize you were staring at an elephant. What's the point?
Details are important in branding, but failing to provide context is a recipe for confusing customers. You need to give them a bigger picture first instead of bombarding them with details like price, features, etc.
Imagine an apartment. You see a living room with white walls, a tan couch, matching coffee table, and coherent artwork on the wall.
Now imagine another apartment. You see blue walls, a dark green couch, white coffee table, a poster of Sammy Davis, Jr. in black and white as well as a printed canvas of a beach scene.
Which of those mental pictures feels the most mature? How about most competent? Trustworthy?
Why? Because one of them looks intentional and provides a consistent feeling while the other is haphazard and mixed.
Treat your brand like the former.