Making a good first impression

A consumer’s first impression of a brand, especially a theatrical one, is incredibly important. The first time they see a flyer, website or the social media page for a show will be enough to decide whether they want to see the show or not. And what is at the front of almost all initial consumer interactions? The Logo!


First impressions are always important because it is when the consumer will decide whether they are going to engage or distance themselves from the show. And while there will be some audience members who you can win over after they have decided not to go, it is much easier, quicker and cheaper to win them over from the beginning. (Seriously, you have to throw a lot of money at them if they are going to turn!)

And what is the first impression that most consumers get of the brand? The Logo, because it is at the front of every marketing communication that a show releases; Programs, T-shirts, Flyers, Billboards, Media Releases, Pictures, Website, Facebook/Twitter page etc. etc. etc.

As a result, the logo plays a large role in determining whether an audience member will fork out $120 for a seat, and it is probably an area that you should spend a lot of time developing.

The catalyst for thinking about logos came to me when I received a letter from Optus today. Now, the first thing that you see on the letter is the logo in the top left corner . . . and it has changed. Gone are the days of professional, clean lines and bold colours. This new logo has decided to use a childish font with pastel colours and indistinct letter outlines.

Now, it is all good and well to go for a fun look. But only if that is what your product exemplifies and only if that is why consumers choose you over the other options. For telephone providers, I want someone dependable and reliable to give me good coverage. Whereas at the moment if I were to think of the Optus brand as a person (as we were encouraged in Marketing 101 at university!), I am currently picturing an unemployed 25 year old who surfs waves all day and is often heard saying ‘No worries, man’ but not following through on anything.

Check out their new logo below and leave me a comment to let me know what you think.

Optus Logo

This is equally important in the theatre. Especially when getting it wrong means turning off consumers from purchasing a ticket initially and then throwing large amounts of money into marketing and discounting tickets to get them to come. So, learning from Optus, there are a couple of things to keep in mind when designing a logo:

  1. Make sure it exemplifies your brand (E.g. an Annie logo should have a child on the front)
  2. Make sure that it matches what consumers are looking for (E.g. Probably the reason why Hands on a Hardbody failed because a pick-up truck doesn’t really appeal to theatre-goers)
  3. Make sure that it stands out against the competition (E.g. Kinky Boots features a logo the colour of red sequins, something which stands out against all other shows)

A particularly good one is the Matilda logo. It is clearly appealing to children (but doesn’t deter adults), represents the ‘magic’ at the heart of the story and catches your eye.


And remember, it is easier to get consumers on board at the beginning rather than trying to change their minds. I mean, even though I don’t like the new Optus branding I am already on board and am not considering changing. But if I was in the market for a new network I wouldn’t even consider it!