Logo chainsaw massacre
Often in a brand’s life cycle we see a need for change. Most often it’s to the brand touchpoints and usually to highlight a positive shift and/or a re-evaluation of values. Sometimes it’s merely to combat consumer fatigue with perhaps a packaging and Point of Sale overhaul or even the re-styling of a store interior or reception. Whilst it is extremely impactful to an organisation and does signify evolution to the consumer experiencing the change, we see the action as minor on the brand re-frame monitor.
Don't clown around with brand evolution
Let us explain with an example or two: McDonald's have gradually made a massive overhaul of their consumer experience with the introduction of softer, more 'urban style' interiors, losing the clown colours associated with fast food, they've introduced the ingenious touch ordering in many restaurants and made an inspired move of sub-branding their 'molten lava temperature' coffee into McCafe©. What they didn't do is take a chainsaw to the golden arches.
Solid research is essential
Brand 'ownership' is a delicate subject. McDonald's should be applauded for their approach. Unfortunately we can't say the same for everyone. Cue calamity Gap and their Bosch AKE 30 Li (it's a chainsaw ;) )
One day in history
06 October 2010 Gap unveiled a new logo. On 11 October 2010, following a massive negative backlash (mainly on digital platforms) from consumers, they withdrew it and decided to ask their loyal following to design a logo that they loved. Turns out they love the original mark. Go figure! More bad press resulted in the company finally settling back with the original design.
There are many examples where major brands made tweaks to a logo. Stepping them forward rather than radical change. Often to a cry of “I could've done that” from naive laypersons. It reminds me of the popular business coaching story of the plumber who charges for hitting a pipe, the gist of the story is you're paying for him to know where to hit it.
The moral of our story
A logo is not a brand but it is visual prompt of everything that brand stands for. If your consumer makes an emotional connection to everything you stand for (to the point where they become advocates of your brand and will proudly wear you on their chest), significantly changing a logo mark can be like taking a chainsaw to a major artery connected to the heart of your organisation.