Brand Analysis: The Mark of Marky Mark
April 7, 2017
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I live in a sweet, historic New England town of Concord, MA. It’s a quiet place, with occasional bursts of visitors ranging from fall peepers to history buffs.

Concord is close to Boston and celebrity Boston natives are a big deal around here. It just so happens that this week Mark Wahlberg is in town filming a movie (Daddy’s Home 2). Several scenes for this film are being shot directly across the street from my 4 year old’s preschool, so I went famous people hunting and scored a few shots of Mr. Wahlberg.

Mark Walhberg, brand analysis
Got him! Hitting the streets of Concord, MA

What does this have to do with brand analysis you ask?

Well, it turns out that the Wahlberg family owns a burger franchise with a slightly confusing logo. In honor of our local celebrity visit, I’m going to use the Wahlburger logo as a case study for brand analysis.

In business, very little is as important as your brand. Your mark, use of colors, fonts and messaging, the emotional reactions that these components elicit must be taken into very careful consideration. As I cover these 3 basic points, think about your own brand and whether it’s ticking off all of the boxes.

Wahlburger brand analysis
The Wahlburger logo. Brand in question.


Form and simplicity

One of the basic hallmarks of a successful logo is its inherent simplicity. Simplicity is also one of the great challenges of logo work: how do you create an image or illustration that embodies all of the brand qualities within a simple mark? A simple logo that is also striking should be able to tell a story with just a few broad strokes. Establishing a clean graphic allows your audience to recognize (and hopefully connect with) your brand straight away at any size and in any setting.

The Wahlburger logo is simple and clean, yes. Unfortunately, the W doesn’t always read as a W to me. It’s encased in a sort of circular frame that I guess is meant to represent a plate. The solid, circular outline forces a disconnect between the written W and the name. Plus, as my 4 year old would be happy to report, “It looks like a butt”.


Color is incredibly powerful. We all know that certain colors lend themselves to specific emotions: red is passionate, blue is conservative, yellow is happy and so on. But the truth is, color is just too dependent on personal experiences to assign any one emotion to any one color. For instance, when I was a kid, I distinctly remember looking at something purple right before barfing up my breakfast. Boom. Purple = yuck for me. End of story.

However, a much for compelling argument is the concept of “color appropriateness”. In a study titled “Impact of color on marketing,” researchers found that up to 90% of snap judgments made about products can be based on color alone, depending on the product.

Upon considering the Wahlburger logo, it’s the color that I find the most confusing. Like many, I have a strong association with the color green: I associate this color with health, the outdoors, fresh produce, ‘natural’ products. The Wahlburger franchise is obviously featuring one item in particular: hamburgers. Not veggie burgers, not salads, hamburgers. When I see this green, booty-shaped logo, hamburgers are so far from my mind. In fact, I would even argue that a spritely green within close proximity to a hamburger may even be enough to curb one’s appetite.

Dramatic? Perhaps. But our reactions to imagery isn’t always logical or fair.

Researchers found that up to 90% of snap judgments made about products can be based on color alone, depending on the product.

Emotional Reach

The emotional reach of a brand is a bit more complicated and extends far beyond the look and feel of a logo. The emotional connection and consistency of a brand can be a long game for many businesses, and many have trouble maintaining stamina as a result. As you may have guessed, social media is a key ingredient.

The Wahlburger franchise has done a wonderful job of connecting to it’s audience. Of course 2 of the 4 Wahlbergs are superstars so they do have a slight advantage 😉 But in addition to leveraging stardom (and a popular reality tv show), the Wahlburger brand gives back to a number of causes that many hold hear: ALS and Autism Awareness for starters. When brands get involved in the community, donate to charity and give their fans a chance to engage and participate, the brand status becomes elevated and paying customers turn into brand advocates. In other words, nurturing and paying attention to your customers will turn them into fans for life!

So think about your own brand and how is measures up against this three-pronged analysis. Ask your friends for feedback and find folks who are willing to be brutally honest. And remember, a successful brand isn’t just about color and form, but about how you connect with your fans and members of your local community.

And if you see Marky Mark around town, tell him I said “hi”.

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