Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Brands & Logos - minding the Gap but don't fix it if it's not broken

A lot of pundits have been crowing over the short life of around a week where a new logo for GAP was launched and withdrawn after an on-line onslaught. They returned to the 20 year old logo.

I guess it shows the power of social media campaigns and how consumers have more control over the brand than just a few years ago.

Brand identity is a tricky one to play with when you are an established brand such as GAP.

When Buyers were asked in the Buyers' views survey 2010 ( B2B sector)what it was about the Suppliers' offering of their last significant purchase that they liked the following elements were cited:-

Track record and past experience 34%

Company Buzz and social proof from other people talking about it fewer than 5%

Company Reputation Case Studies 38%

Recommendation / Referral 12%

Approved Supplier Status 7%

Brand 16%

Click for free summary of the TACK Buyers' Views Research 2010 research.
If you do want to freshen up your logo design it is probably best to do it in gradual steps.

A brand is a name or symbol which is used to identify the products/services/identity of a specific firm.

Strong brand names can enhance the image of the parent company and strengthen the consumer acceptance of new products introduced under the same name.

The brand name provides implicit assurance that the quality will remain unchanged over time. Brands make buying decisions easier for customers. They ensure that buyers can repeat orders of products they prefer - evidence of brand loyalty.

Brand images also help to differentiate from the competition. Consequently, price comparisons become less critical in consumer decisions and other differences enter into the evaluation process.

The UK's biggest brands today have kept things familiar and seemingly unchanging. Messing about with fonts is generally something they avoid.

HSBC's identity has been little changed since the group's formation of 1991.

Shell's logo has stayed pretty much the same since the young Marcus Samuel picked up a shell on a beach holiday in 1839
(Fossil Scallop Shells gift from Shell to Festival Hall 2007 from France c. 18 million years old)

Mark Ritson in Marketing Week 14th October suggests that "one has lost the branding plot and mistaken the peripheral and unimportant elements of identity for the real and very crucial strategic elements of brand strategy."

Years ago when I worked at Beecham Products on the soft drinks side, I remember they had an archive library of sample bottles ( Lucozade does have a certain colour!) from each subtle alteration of the logo and lettering.

These were days long before social media but Beecham were aware how customers were loyal to their brands.

Today's generation X and Y might be surprised how the energy / sports drink they know as Lucozade used to be sold in one litre bottles wrapped in crackly yellow cellophane and given to patients in hospital as a pick me up. That brand change involved a massive advertising campaign and endorsement by the Olympic decathlon Gold medalist star Daley Thompson.

I wonder if that rebranding exercise would have gone so smoothly if twitter,on-line forums and crowdsourcing campaigns of today had been around then.

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