Radical Logo Redesign May Cause Consumer Resistance

December 23, 2010

Small Business Thursday Tip of the Week.

Be careful when you make sweeping brand change and always listen to customer feedback.

Take care when making brand changeThe internet and particularly social networking is a two edge swords for companies and gives as well as takes. While the internet lets any company reach a much larger audience it also lets groups of people band together to resist change or to comment on what they feel are corporate misdeeds or as in the case of the Gap Logo to kill the new logo and reinstate the old.

Businesses are learning that:

a. surprising customers with large changes is not always the best idea and
b. that customers online and particularly those connected to social media networks tend to be loud when something rouses their ire.

Gap got smart and removed their new logo within a week of its release. This sneak attack may have engendered the consumer resistance to the logo change or perhaps it was the fact it suddenly appeared on their home page with no media announcement no fanfare just a quick change. However much or little a logo may mean to a customer, changing one is a big step and must be done right as many companies have learned to their chagrin. The internet has just made consumer response quicker to assess.

While most companies take their logos very seriously, Gap simply pushed the new logo on to their site almost as if ashamed of the results which can lead the consumer to believe maybe they were not all that sure of it themselves.

Even minor brand changes usually prepare the consumer for the change but in the case of Gap, it wasn’t there one day and was the next, and this is usually bad strategy for any business. Perhaps the worst of the debacle was that designers were in an uproar over the new logo and Gap asked that community of professionals to fix it for them.

Perhaps one mistake would not be fatal but multiple errors of such magnitude sunk the Gap logo before it even launched properly.

Pushing the envelope with your branding may not always be the best idea… Can you think of any other examples of big brand change the backfired? How about examples of changes that worked?

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