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Using symbols thoughtfully and strategically in your branding efforts can help your company stand out to customers and establish a more personal connection. — Getty Images/Johner Images

A new study by the University of Waterloo was performed to determine how well people remember symbols compared to words that mean the same thing. More than 1,100 adults were surveyed to uncover how symbols play a role in their memory. Each participant was shown a symbol or its word counterpart and tested on the number of symbols and words they could remember.

Researchers found that all participants memorized symbols bettter than words with the same meaning. This may be because symbols offer visuals to represent abstract or complex ideas. Think about it: It can be difficult to visualize wealth, but a symbol like a dollar sign or coin can represent it well.

Also, symbols might be easier to remember because they’re typically unique and often tied to one concept unlike words, which can have several meanings. For example, most people would interpret the triangle symbol on the YouTube logo as the play button, which would suggest to the individual to play the video. The word “play,” however, can have different purposes and meanings.

Make sure your symbols strongly connect to the mission, values, and personality of your brand.

So what does this information mean for you as an entrepreneur? Using symbols or emojis in your branding and marketing efforts can be very beneficial. If you do decide to incorporate them, keep these tips in mind:

  • Tell a story: The symbols you choose should clearly add to your brand’s story and represent your offerings. Consider what’s relevant to your audience.
  • Be intentional: Make sure your symbols strongly connect to the mission, values, and personality of your brand. Don’t just choose them because they’re colorful or pretty.
  • Think globally: If you sell your products and services abroad, remember that symbols can have different meanings in different counties. Your symbols should make sense for all your customers, no matter where they’re located.
  • Be consistent: Once you decide on the right symbols, apply them consistently across every marketing channel. These marketing channels can include business cards, websites, printed materials, social media posts, emails, and even the products you offer.

Unsure of which symbols to use? Here are several ideas to get your creative juices flowing:

  • Hearts: Hearts can show love, vitality, and enthusiasm.
  • Circles: Circles may represent cycles as well as wholeness and completion.
  • Roses: In addition to romance, roses can symbolize friendship, passion, and appreciation.
  • Trees: While trees are common symbols for the outdoors, they can also represent fertility and good health.

You can think of symbols as magnets that attract your current and prospective customers. As long as they’re implemented strategically, they may evoke emotional connections and potentially boost purchases and revenue.

Read more: [A Guide to Branding Your Business]

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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