When’s the right time to reinvent your brand with a new logo

This year, major companies like Facebook Inc., Google Inc., StubHub and Airbnb have changed their logo and company branding. Is it time for your company to do the same?

By Eli Chmouni, Faculty Associate

Management

 

This year, major companies like Facebook Inc., Google Inc., StubHub and Airbnb have changed their logo and company branding. Is it time for your company to do the same?

Well, tread carefully, because history shows that your new business logo most likely will be disliked compared with the current version that is familiar to your customers. In 2010, The Gap Inc. enraged its customers with a new logo by replacing its iconic white on blue box. The retailer withdrew its update and reverted to the original one four days after rollout.

How about the big fuss caused by the new Airbnb logo? In it, the company saw a graphic representation of a key branding value: belonging. But others saw something else — a body part.
Is it the right time to update the logo? The answer is yes if:

  • Your business has expanded beyond the original offering and the new logo will reflect your new business model.
  • The logo has not been updated or changed for 10 years or more and uses old fonts, colors and designs.
  • The logo is not compatible with web platforms and social media networks.
  • The design is not appealing to your customer demographics.
  • You have the financial budget to roll out the new designs. A new logo not only requires the resources of a graphics and branding artist, but also the funds to roll out the new designs on all company materials, including business cards, fliers, apparel, envelopes, reports, websites and letterheads, to name a few.

After all this, if you decide to continue with the process, follow these steps:

Do some research. Look for branding and design inspiration from other companies in your field. Websites such as Behance.net, Dribble.com and logopond.com are great to find new creative ideas to ignite your imagination. Investigate the meaning of the colors and how they excite your customer to make a purchase.

Ask employees and customers to describe your business. Your business brand is not what you say it is, but what the customers say and how they behave around it. Listen to the keywords used by your team and customers to describe your business. If these words do not align with your vision for the company, your branding work needs to start in operations and not logo design.

Hire a professional. Just because you know how to use Adobe Illustrator does not mean you should design your new logo. There are many specialists that can create sample designs for you, keeping in mind compatibility with Web and print presence. Hosting a design contest on websites such as Freelancer.com and 99designs.com, allows you to collect a variety of designs based on a brief you write about your company.

Collect feedback. Do not fall in love with your new logo just yet. Share the top three designs with friends, family, employees and customers to collect the best feedback about what design is better. Some logos might look great to you, but they might appear completely different to some fresh set of eyes. Remember Gap and Airbnb.

Now that you have a new logo, make sure the fresh new design is coupled with a marketing campaign that reflects the feeling of the new image. The last thing you want to do is create confusion for the customers.

Eli Chmouni, a winner in azcentral.com’s 2015 “35 Entrepreneurs 35 and Younger” competition, is a faculty associate teaching entrepreneurship at the W. P. Carey School of Business. First published in The Arizona Republic, December 28, 2015.