Monday, June 1, 2009

Can a New Wamer, Fuzzier Logo Help Business?

I should have recognized the trend. I mean, I noticed that Wal-Mart had changed its logo. But I didn't notice Stop & Shop's new logo -- although, to be fair, I don't know that the signage at my local Stop & Shop has changed. (The Wal-Mart nearest me has not changed its sign yet to reflect its new logo, but I have noticed the change in its ads.)

According to the New York Times, Warmer, Fuzzier: The Refreshed Logo, more than eight national brands have changed their logos lately, and seem to be following the same rules in order to convey a new, down-economy impression: "non-threatening, reassuring, playful, even child-like. Not emblems of distant behemoths, but faces of friends."

Those changes include:
  • Toned-down type
  • Friendly flourishes
  • Happier colors
Check out the article for more details and insights into the changes.

Changing corporate identity is not something to be be done capriciously. New logos often accompany a new corporate name -- we've been involved in several corporate rebranding campaigns that involved new names in addition to the new logo. What's interesting is that only one of the eight companies profiled in the Times article also changed its name (Blackwater to Xe). The rest -- including Walmart (the logo removes the hyphen), Kraft, Cheer, and Stop & Shop -- are decidedly keeping their names.

In addition to the design and production fees, it costs a lot to change a logo: companies need new business cards, letterhead, collateral, signage on and in buildings, redesigned websites and uniforms, etc.

Will changing the logo t solve these companies' issues? Not if the changes the logos represent end with the new design. These companies need to make sure they reflect the "wamer, fuzzier" changes in their customer-facing culture.

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