Your organization is successful and your brand well-established. You’re forging ahead with a solid marketing plan, and even ready to level up.
But what about that trusty logo that’s served you well to this point? Is it time to refresh and modernize? How much of the logo should change? The color? The mark? The entire logo? Maybe your horizontal logo has created problems when printed in a small size and you just need a stacked version as an option.
This is where the questions come in. And there really is no right or wrong answer.
For most companies, however, a refreshed and modernized logo breathes new life into a brand while still preserving an established brand reputation. There are ways to modernize but still be recognized so you don’t lose traction in your market.
The big picture
We recognize brands by their shape and color.
For some iconic brands, such as Apple’s fruit icon and McDonald’s golden arches, we don’t even have to really see the logo; it subliminally registers in our brain to let us know what we’re looking at.
Let’s be honest, if a company changed the wording on a logo like IHOP did in 2015 when it removed the word “restaurant” in a downward curved red banner to an upward curved red “smile” without the word, would you even notice? Chances are, you wouldn’t. You were hungry, saw the IHOP letters, and ordered your pancakes.
Your business will go on whether or not your logo changes—except for a few, like Tropicana. When the marketing department at parent company PepsiCo introduced a new brand minus the recognizable straw in the orange in 2009, complaints were loud. Within the month, it saw a 20 percent drop in sales and the orange reappeared.
If desired, a robust awareness campaign can be created around the introduction of a new logo. When MasterCard announced its new logo in 2019—with its name removed from the iconic red and gold circles—it chose the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas as the backdrop. As an alternative, you can introduce more casually, like Slack Technologies in 2019 when it introduced its new look with a simple blog post.
Beware that when a new logo is put into production with no fanfare in a subtle approach, there is the danger it will be noticed and commented on with an organic awareness campaign. Who can forget Amazon quietly removing the “Hitler mustache” from its logo last year?
Depending on the size of your company, replacing a logomark can also have huge financial implications. According to Forbes, one of the top obstacles to rebranding is the cost. You can expect a full rebrand to cost anywhere from 10 to 20 percent of your marketing budget.
If you were to ask yourself why your logo needs a redesign, and your answer is “because it does,” that’s not good enough.
The decision to update your logo rests on several key points:
Your logo is outdated enough that your company is perceived as out of touch, think Kentucky Fried Chicken dropping the “Fried” and rebranding as KFC as consumers increasingly looked for healthier choices.
There has been a fundamental change in your business, think Facebook rebranding as Meta.
Your audience has changed, think Dunkin’ Donuts dropping the “Donuts” to move from a target audience of office workers to a lifestyle brand focused on beverages.
Your company is facing new competition, think Weight Watchers becoming WW to move beyond only weight loss to wellness amidst a body-positivity movement that brought increased competition.
You also need to decide, is it a simple logo refresh that involves brand discovery, visual identity, stationery, and website? Or is it a brand reboot that encompasses all that plus customer research, a brand audit, a brand strategy, and marketing collateral?
While it can be a good decision to just simply modernize your logo for many reasons—and over 75 percent of companies have done so since 2020—there are also reasons to not update your logo. Take Twinings Tea for example. The British tea company has used the same logo continuously for 235 years and is still going strong. Of course, it helps that the Queen is purported to drink a cup of Twinings every day. Talk about celebrity endorsement!
A clear + present purpose
Your logo is the graphical element to your brand, and your brand is a combination of all tangible and intangible aspects of your organization. Without your brand, the logo would have no real meaning. Without the logo, your brand would be hard-pressed to tell your potential customers who you are, what type of product or service you sell, or what benefit you offer. But because it’s a financial and time-consuming hit to your bottom line, it’s imperative you thoughtfully explore your reasons for wanting a new logo. There should be clear intent and purpose behind the decision.
So, is it time to jump on that bandwagon?
Let us help you explore that question.