A company logo is an essential component of a company’s brand image. Logos distinguish companies from their competitors and give consumers a way to identify and remember them.
As trends come and go, some companies decide to alter their logos. However, it is important to understand that a logo is a symbol of the relationship between a brand and a consumer. The symbol represents a shortcut to purchase that makes consumers feel comfortable in buying. Accordingly, changing a logo can result in a disconnect in this crucial relationship.
Below are three examples of logo changes that represent changes for the better…and the worse.
Earlier this year when Starbucks announced that the company logo would no longer contain the words “Starbucks Coffee,” customers were outraged. The company blog post by the CEO of Starbucks, Howard Schultz, received nearly 900 comments, most of which contained negative feedback. Starbucks defends the change claiming the Siren has remained consistent for the company over the past four decades. The CEO believes giving the Siren a small yet meaningful update will ensure that Starbucks continues to embrace its heritage while remaining relevant and poised for future growth.
Despite the abundant consumer backlash, Starbucks remains at ease, and rightly so. Their fiscal third quarter report highlights a total net revenue increase of 12 percent.
One reason to change a company logo is the desire to simplify. When Nike first introduced its company logo in 1971, the text and iconic swoosh overlapped, making it difficult to read. Although the original design was somewhat illegible, it only cost the company $35 to design, and it provided the foundation of what would later become the company’s renowned symbol – the Swoosh. Four decades later, Nike’s legendary logo is recognized by consumers globally. So as you can see, simplicity worked for Nike’s logo.
Why simplicity worked for Nike (and not Starbucks) is because the Swoosh is bold, simple and has remained consistent in all versions of Nike’s logo. The Starbucks image of the Siren has changed drastically, which causes a disconnect with consumers, who prefer consistency.
Another reason to revamp a logo would be a fundamental change in the company. In 1865, Nokia was a paper mill located off the Nokianvirta River in Finland. Since then, the company has shifted focus to telecommunications and cell phones, making it necessary to evolve its original logo, which featured a fish, to a more generic image. In the past, Nokia sold a variety of products including televisions, shoes and car tires. Since this company has experienced dramatic shifts in production, evolution of Nokia’s official logo over the years has been essential. After all, it is doubtful that consumers would associate a logo containing a fish with a telecommunications company.
Though there are negative consequences of a change in company logo, there are also positive results Simplicity can give consumers a straightforward way to identify a company. Other times, a change in logo is necessary in order to correctly communicate to consumers the company’s purpose. So if your company is trying to decide whether or not it wants to change the logo, learn from the mistakes and successes of other companies and make sure you are doing it for the right reasons.