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Time to Rebrand or Refresh Your Logo?

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Did you know that the human brain processes visual information 60,000 times faster than text? Just think about your logo and the impact it has from a visual perspective!

Your logo is a unique symbol that graphically represents your product, service or company to the world! Oddly enough once it is created, it usually doesn’t stay the same over time.

As consumers, we are influenced by so many changing trends in fashion, music, technology and more! It all impacts our lifestyle. Many brands are updated to reflect these changes as a way to remain relevant and continue to capture market attention.

How Long is Too Long Before Updating Your Logo?

While a well-designed logo will stand the test of time, how long is too long before it requires an update?

Even the oldest brands that are household names, like LEGO®2, have changed. For almost 80 years, the brand has evolved to keep its appeal and be competitive in an oversaturated market of children’s toys.

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As you can see from the example above, LEGO®’s logo has progressed from its inception in 1934 until today.3

Red has been infused into the design as a primary colour which is appropriate for its young target market and the flavour of the font has changed to project a more fun and free-style personality—just like its product.

And there’s the ‘ah hah’ moment; it matches the personality of the product! So how do you know whether your logo still matches your company’s personality and if it’s time for a refresh or rebrand? Let’s take a closer look at each of these options and some assessment criteria you can use to get the process started:

If your brand is not positioned in the minds of your target market where it should be, it might be time for a rebranding exercise.

Here are a few considerations when evaluating whether to rebrand:

  1. Does your logo still match your company’s personality?
  2. Have you progressed past start-up stage?
  3. Have you changed from a mom and pop shop?
  4. Have you merged with another company?
  5. Has your business expanded into a new market?

Here’s a great example of The Bay’s rebranding:

We’re all familiar with the big ‘B’ script logo. The Bay, formerly known as The Hudson’s Bay Company, has gone back to its roots recently by using a traditional word mark or an option with the crest as their brand evolves to match the upscale image they have developed.4

This was their first major rebrand in 50 years. It was the right course of action because the old logo was no longer reflective of their offering and refreshing the logo would not have accomplished the desired positioning in the marketplace. A new direction was needed!

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Here is the original logo next to the new logo as an option with the crest or as a traditional word mark.

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Here’s another example of a successful rebrand with The Royal Ontario Museum. The logo had not changed in years. While it worked well from a design perspective, research showed that the ROM was not attracting repeat customers to the museum because the perception was that the exhibits didn’t change very often.

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To infuse new life into the brand, the logo was used as a vehicle to showcase each new exhibit. The base of the logo remained consistent, while photos were introduced through the ‘O’ as a lens looking into the museum. Brilliant!5

When is it Time to Refresh Your Logo?

There are times a logo just needs to be updated. These changes are not drastic and typically consist of a slight modification or enhancement. Visually, your logo will be different when compared to the previous one, but the changes are more subtle and the brand equities remain intact.

The key to an effective update is making sure your visual identity still matches the message and brand position you occupy or wish to occupy in the marketplace.

Here are a few considerations when evaluating a refresh:

  1. Is your logo’s colour palette current or hinge on a trend from many years ago?
  2. Is there a new font that better represents your brand or would be more appealing to your target audience? (i.e. edgier or more sophisticated)
  3. Are there some slight modifications you could make to your graphic(s) that would be closer aligned with your brand position?
  4. Is it the right time to do an update? If you are expanding into a new market, perhaps it’s better to wait and roll-out the update to capitalize on the momentum of a new initiative.

Below are a few examples of familiar logos that have been graphically refreshed and updated:

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KFC® 6 did a good job of updating Colonel Sanders to a more contemporary feel. He hasn’t aged a bit! In fact, he looks younger!

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AT&T7 transitioned to a lower case font which has a more youthful hi-tech feel, while the globe design has become more dimensional, rather than a flat 2D design.

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Ford’s8 approach has been to build brand equity and recognition over many decades by maintaining its signature font, while modifying the oval and colour gradients to keep the logo current.

Looking Beyond the Logo

As you work through the process of refreshing your logo or rebranding, you also need to keep in mind all of the print mediums your identity touches such as stationery, ads, packaging or brochures, and develop a plan of action to implement or roll-out your new look. Many times, logo use for digital mediums such as your email signature, website or social media profiles can be quickly and easily updated.

Is Your Logo Doing its Job as Your Brand Ambassador?

Your logo has an important job to do and works hard to represent your company or service in the best possible light. Take a look at your logo. Is it doing the job well as your ambassador? If not, it’s time for an update or make-over.

Whether it’s a refresh or rebrand, you will ensure your identity looks visually energized and current to your customer, while making your competition look twice.

The Fine Print

1http://www.agencypost.com/why-every-brand-needs-a-visual-story/
2 LEGO® is a registered trademark of the LEGO Group
3 http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2012/10/09/logo-life-life-histories-of-100-famous-logos/
4 http://www.marketingmag.ca/news/marketer-news/hudsons-bay-company-unveils-new-logos-73573
5 http://www.underconsideration.com/brandnew/archives/rom_goes_portal_on_its_logo.php
6 KFC is a registered trademark of KFC Canada
7 AT&T is a registered trademark of AT&T Inc.
8 Ford is a registered trademark of the Ford Motor Company.

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