Changing the Logo Won’t Fix the Brand.

The other day I was opining about Olive Garden’s twee new logo as part of its “time will tell how much money was wasted on a new menu, new concept” rebrand campaign. It was on Google+ so, I’m sure you didn’t see it. Budumptssh. (Sorry, cheap shot.)

Rebrand for Real. Or Go Home. resized_creepy-willy-wonka-meme-generator-a-new-logo-you-must-be-so-proud-79c6a9

Brands update their logos all the time. Sometimes people notice, complain so much that The Gap logo reverts back. More often than not it’s only us business communications types, Monday morning quarterbacking what we’d have done differently.

(FWIW As a designer and communications consultant not sure I would have changed the font, that was almost iconic. The ‘kitchen’ label seems a misnomer considering each location is designed to serve the exact same food the exact same way. The generic clip art scroll vine? Meh.)

The problem is – as always – a brand thinking about the how the rebrand helps the brand brand its brand.

Sell, sell, sell! Visions of stocks and market share and “omg, what does Wall Street think?!” dance in TPTB heads. Because a logo makeover is all it takes to make customers open their wallets for the same crap you’ve been selling all along. See also: why I have not set foot in a J.C. Penney in years.

Do More, Be More, Make More Money

A “where am I?” riddle: I’m buying a gourmet toffee latte. A fresh sandwich. And another losing lottery ticket. I had free WiFi. Am I at a new corner market or fancy new coffee shop? Nope. Hint: I also got gas.

Here in Atlanta we have choices: where to shop, where to spend our grocery dollars, where to dine. Where to get a hit of the last socially acceptable wonder drug known as caffeine. And gas.

Have you been to a new RaceTrac or QuikTrip lately? Wow. Clean. Organized. Convenient.

  • Room of cold beer. Check.
  • Counters for coffee, pastries, sandwiches, snacks, any soda you could want. Check.
  • Build your own yogurt bar, with a temptingly evil toppings station and rewards card for those of us sans willpower. Check.

They didn’t decide to build the same old gas station like everyone else and try to sell the same old crap. They asked: “how do we keep people coming back?” They reimagined – yeah, in the best buzziest sense – what the convenience store experience should be. For. The. Customer. Offer a good product, back it with good service, be more of what your customers want; that’s smart branding, that’s good PR.

What so many, too many companies get wrong is this: the wrapping on the package may be pretty, but it’s what’s inside that counts.

Tell me: does a new logo, a big label rebrand influence you at all? Is it a wasted effort or does a rebrand move you to take another look? 

Photo credit: too many memes out there, with many a search bringing up The Gap.

Comments (8) | Trackback

8 Responses to “Changing the Logo Won’t Fix the Brand.”

  1. Business keyword that shall not be named says:

    I agree I think that people get so caught up on making things look pretty that they forget about everything else. While a good front is important what’s even more important are the products and services offered. Exactly like that saying “Content is King” but related back to other business where the services is the content.

    [Reply]

    Davina K. Brewer Reply:

    Keywords and business names don’t comment; people do. Please refer to my comment policy if you have any questions why I removed your name, URL.

    That said, yes other things are much more important that just image or content. Better products, services, being a better business. FWIW.

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  2. You’re so spot on, Girl. And, you know what? On the flipside, a new client has no logo at all! I was surprised because it is one of the very first statements about a brand you can make. We had a discussion and she is a marketer who didn’t think a logo for a solo practice (with a website) was important. What’s your view on that?
    Jayme Soulati (@Soulati) recently posted..The Apple, Google, Intel, Adobe Antitrust Conspiracy And PR

    [Reply]

    Davina K. Brewer Reply:

    Thanks for dropping by Jayme! I am kinda funny about this, for myself. This IS me, WYSIWYG .. but it’s not the whole me. It’s like FB and everything else, I don’t want to be ‘defined’ by my relationship status or a job title. I’m so much more than the sum of the checkboxes, than what I choose to share online. That’s why I insisted on a biz name and operating under that ‘brand’ (w/ my DIY logo which I still kinda hate).

    For her, it’s about how she brands. She’s herself or a business name? Is there some stylized treatment of her name, something w/ initials or something that could easily become a logo on a biz card? Really, if it’s all about her and she’s got the cred and reputation that appeals to clients, and everything looks polished and professional, not sure an icon is all that important.

    Per the post, not sure the icon/symbol is all that important to ANY brand – if the company behind it isn’t walking the walk. I’ve hit that point now with potential clients (big or small business) that if they’re wanting me to just get sales leads, fix FB and some publicity, and not work to fix the Brand, make the Company better .. then I’m not interested. FWIW.

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  3. Frank Strong says:

    Completely agree, Davina. A logo isn’t a brand, and doesn’t mean it’ll ever be a brand, however as a military guy, the importance of symbolism isn’t lost on me; but it’s up to the leaders to get customers, employees and stakeholders to rally ’round the flag.

    [Reply]

    Davina K. Brewer Reply:

    It is a symbol Frank. Like we were talking about PR positioning, that Disney logo means something when you see it. It’s not just marketing or sales, there’s long-term investment in relationships, reputation. A logo can become a key part of a brand’s persona, but that starts w/ TPTB investing in the symbol AND in everyone, everything it’s meant to represent. FWIW.

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  4. Adrienne says:

    Hey Davina,

    If the company itself is in need of a makeover for whatever reason and they have improved their service then the rebranding can work. If they’re just changing their logos because they want something fresh then it might catch my eye because I’m not familiar with it but it won’t change my mind about the company itself.

    Funny how they haven’t figured that out or maybe they’re just doing all they can to hopefully be better. Sure hope so at least.

    ~Adrienne
    Adrienne recently posted..Repurposing Your Content – The Swiss Army Knife of Blogging

    [Reply]

    Davina K. Brewer Reply:

    Sometimes things just fall out of vogue, too much competition, too many choices .. so a rebrand can make customers take another look. But rebuilding reputation, to change someone’s mind and move them to act.. that’s the real deal Adrienne. Like you said, you have to make improvements on the inside (service, offerings) for any changes to the outside (logo) to work. FWIW.

    [Reply]

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