Sunday, March 27, 2011

Logo Change :Is It a Mere Touch Up??

As the saying goes, nothing but change is permanent, change is continuous too in both external and internal environment of a business and there is a dire need for an organization to revamp itself with the changes in the environment. In today’s operating industry, external environment is volatile, competitors are shifting, new brands are approaching, business cycle is unpredictable, consumers are evolving all the way and there is a change in the industry dynamics. It becomes critical for companies to stay contemporary and connected. As logo with its visual illustration seeks to arrest the intrinsic values of the organization it represents, a change in the environment invites a change within the company and resultant change of logo. Corporate identity, specially when manifest in symbol, gives tangibility to the communication strategy adopted by a conglomerate. As a symbol, logo plays an important role in the overall marketing activities of a company and helps organizations in their brand building exercises.

A growing number of Indian companies are repositioning themselves to be relevant in a cutthroat market, a trend set in motion in the recent past by banks such as IDBI Bank, Canara Bank and Axis Bank and business houses like Reebok India, LG India, Dabur and Godrej Industries have gone for a major facelift to reach out to one of the significant customer base- young Indians and give their customers a contemporary feel. Hence to capture the globe-trotting new generation’s attention span which is otherwise growing thinner, the re-designing efforts of telecom powerhouse Airtel and now the Mahindra & Mahindra’s recently announced campaign ‘Rise’ is on the rise

But how far is logo change justified? Is it a mere image touch up or a serious overhaul? Does it impact their customers at all? In the recent past the logo change has become a significant area for business. There’s a lot of brouhaha, acres of newspaper columns and heaps of e-comments over the recent makeover of the Airtel logo. The brand still continues to be Airtel; the only thing they have done is to change their logo; its typeface followed by some new advertising and their signature tune. Customers are not led away by the way an ‘a’ looks on crimson background. Also the paid “ooohhs and aaahhs” of filmstars does not add to the customer experience. As long as they respond to customers promptly, maintain great pricing, have no call drops and their mobile service is of high quality, the story is all over. Infact that is why a customer purchase a service / product. Do people buy more or less Colgate because of the way “CP” is written or because of their prior association with the brand? If Tata were written with lower case “t”, would customers stop buying them? On the global front,whether the customers of Starbucks are equally excited when the lady (logo or the Siren) goes for seductive makeover?
Even a huge cutover from UTI Bank to Axis Bank failed to discourage customers, may be because they had very little choice. Earlier in the mobile space, Hutch became Orange became Vodafone. Sure they crafted the changeover beautifully. And to be fair – the credit goes to the customers. They figured it would be a bigger headache to switch numbers, as MNP was not available in those days and in any case the Hutch/Orange/Vodafone service is as good as anyone else’s. Hence there are many relatable factors which effect and impact Brand choice – the least of which is the way the Logo and symbol looks. Certainly it is recognition, it is an evocative shortcut to such recognition – but it’s rarely worth the effort spent on it. It has much more meaning for its owners than for its audience or customers. Customers are a selfish lot – they will pick and choose what they want, when they have the opportunity. If they figure out rationally or irrationally what they want then a fancy logo, logotype or symbol is hardly going to be a reason for or against purchase.