Thing 1 and Thing 2 visit the Logo Zoo


Photo by: M.I.S.S.Y. from Flikr

                                       “But if I ran the zoo,”

                                 Said young Gerald McGrew,

                                “I’d make a few changes.

                                 That’s just what I’d do….”


“I’d make a few changes. That’s just what I’d do…”  Were these the words uttered at GAP recently?  It appears so, and based upon the social media uproar this change has brought attention to the brand. Was it the attention the company wanted? Was this the change they planned for?  Change is one of those words that is uttered often, every politician is going to bring change, every new product will change your life, even David Bowie sings about chchchanges. My personal pet peeve is that change and growth have become interchangeable in our modern vernacular. I could, and may in the future, do a whole blog post on that very thought process.  Today though, the purpose of this post is to focus on the changes made recently with logos.  There’s a very timely example with GAP, but they are not alone in the world of logo changes. There are several examples such as Tropicana, Pepsi, and now the United and Continental merger have them considering their impending logo change, to save the United “tulip” or not?.  Thing 1 or Thing 2 what to do? Several of the logo changes just mentioned have been very costly to the companies. There is the initial cost and expense of creating a new logo, and with some companies there is a large loss of revenue from lost sales if the logo is not well accepted.  Tropicana is the glaring example, after their new design was released on the packaging of their Pure Premium line of OJ in January 2010, they saw a loss of 20% between January 1st and February 22nd 2010.  By February 23rd 2010 Tropicana announced they were scrapping the new packaging due to the consumer outcry.  They went from Thing 1 to Thing 2 and back again in less then 2 months.

Thing 1, or Thing 2 ? something new, or a redo ?

There appears to be an assumption that change is good, any change.  I disagree, I believe well thought out and researched change is best. When Hertz decided to change their logo, part of the process included a 25-30 minute survey including live chat, all focused very specifically on logo design and how the customer felt.  Some companies, ad agencies, and marketers believe they know best. I recognize there is a belief among some very talented ad agencies out there that take a gamble, because they believe they know what the next best thing will be.  They create ahead of the customer, showing them what they did not know was possible to see and feel about a company through creative logo design. A belief that I see weekly with a character named Don Draper.  When you watch Mad Men, (if you haven’t yet you should), you will see an ad agency based in the United States in the 1960’s.  An ad agency that existed in a time that was very Amerciancentric. Now in the year 2010, everything is a world market, or at least a viral world market, an opinion and a surge of millions of opinions is literally a click away.

Whether utilizing crowdsourcing as GAP is now doing, or surveys and live chats like Hertz did, or placing your customers and employees fingertips on amazing research technologies like the Perception Analyzer, the access to input is here, you simply have to ask.  Possibly the modern Don Drapers who create ahead of the curve may want to listen first and change after.  Or as Mark Hansen, President of Gap Brand North America stated Octover 11th, “We’ve learned a lot in this process. And we are clear that we did not go about this in the right way.Market Research is an investment in knowledge of your customer, your employee, or end user that can save you millions of dollars, the right way.