Tag Archives: logos

usa yesterday

In July, USA Today underwent a redesign. (For the rest of this blog post, I’ll try to avoid the phrase “rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic”.)

But while we could talk alot about the news / journalism implications of the redesign and even how the print design is meant to evoke more of a web feel, I’m stuck on the new “logo” (use “airquotes”)

USA Today’s new logo — a large circle in colors corresponding to the sections — will be an infographic that changes with the news, containing a photo or image that represents key stories of the day.

This “evolving logo, but not a logo” idea was tried by AOL back in 2009.  Basic business lesson: Don’t copy AOL ideas.

While logo does not equal brand, the logo is the main visual anchor of a brand. Visual brand identity does need to evolve with the brand, but it needs to be a gradual process, not a daily one.

The USA Today’s troubles run deeper than the logo. What if hotels stopped dumping them at guests’ doors? Circulation would go down by 97%.

Seriously, the USA Today still has the same 2 major brand problems it’s had since 1982. It’s a McPaper about a mile wide and an inch deep and it’s owned by Gannett.

In the end, I guess the real reason I’m a little disappointed in the redesign because it’s no longer “delivered by satellite” (cause that’s SO high-tech).

municipal branding comes home

In many posts in the early years of this blog, I was (and still am) an ardent opponent of the idea of municipal branding. Municipal branding is the crazed idea that is sold by branding consultants to government leaders that just slapping a logo and a tagline on a location somehow makes it different.

This phenomenon has now raised its ugly head in my backyard as an area of downtown Bowling Green is now supposedly known as the milquetoast brand of “City Center“.

(The name somehow reminds me of Delta City in Robocop.  I’m also fairly sure the City Center folks in Las Vegas may have some legal questions for the downtown BG folks.)

If I may be so bold to quote myself from Brand Zeitgeist

…While visual and tactile representations like logos and colors are important, the real significance of a brand is not something that can been seen or touched.

At its most basic, a brand is a relationship between something and an individual. A brand is a promise that past performance will be an indicator of future results. A brand is shaped by a customer’s positive and negative interactions with the brand. You might see a brand as something only related to a company or other structured organization. However, anything can be a brand: a product, a service, an experience, a person.

Your brand is your most powerful asset, but it’s also an asset that you don’t really own. Branding is not developed from the top down. It’s developed from the bottom up. The consumer, not the company, dictates what the brand image is for any product. The frustrating reality of branding is that while you can provide the tools and platforms of a brand strategy, the brand actually exists only in the minds of the public, the same as the zeitgeist….

I totally concur that visual representations of a brand like logos, taglines, etc are important. They provide visual shorthand for what the brand means. But the real key to building a memorable brand is to provide positive customer experiences and build on the brand equity that is already there (downtown Bowling Green has existed since 1798).

I stand my my mantra: “Marketing is best built-in, not slapped on

brand mutiny aboard the Pequod

The basic question is: Do you know this mermaid well enough for her to carry an entire global brand?

starbucks new logo

Even though you may have seen her everyday for the past 40 years, I don’t think anyone has really noticed her. The Starbucks logo is being revamped and she’s the siren(not mermaid) who has quietly sat in the middle of their logo since 1971. But she’s now front and center. And alone without the words “starbucks” or “coffee”.

It’s a fact that logos need to be updated (or you’d still be looking at the nipples on the original woodcut version of the Siren while sipping a Caramel Macchiato).

starbucks logo evolution

But logo evolution, like all forms of brand evolution, needs to be a very slow and incremental process. I can see dropping the “coffee” out of the logo; but not the “Starbucks”. After all, Starbucks customers don’t go there for the coffee. They go there for the CUP.

In any case, it’s a treacherous time to be messing with a logo. (just ask GAP).

does not rhyme with orange

tropicana new and old packaging

Back in with the old and out with the new for Tropicana?

The whole Tropicana fiasco fascinates me. While the new image looks very modern (and generic), it turns out people don’t want trendy OJ packaging. They want to be able to quickly pick up their favorite orange juice at the grocery.

My big question is: what was broken about the “straw in the orange” look that needed fixing anyway? The straw/orange is a nearly perfect metaphor for OJ.

It never ceases to amaze me how companies trash years of brand equity and customer familiarity just because they’re tired of the way the living room furniture looks and want to remodel.

Maybe it’s because Pepsi (who owns Tropicana) got seduced by the siren song of creatives who are more concerned with image than reality. Just a few weeks ago Arnell Group CEO Peter Arnell was singing his own praises about “the work” that is now being scrapped. Of course, these are the same people who basically just did a redux of the Obama logo and then sold it to Pepsi packaged with this garbage.

Most everybody is laying the flop at the feet of the brand team. But let’s not foget the other glaring failure of this Tropicana incident: the research. This move was run by the focus groups and had extensive market research. But then again, so was New Coke.

no such thing as bad press?

Marketing Tip — Always put your logo on the buoyant end of the plane.


btw– Supposedly this was the first pic of the event taken from an iPhone and immediately uploaded to Twitter using Twitpic. The MSM then interviewed the citizen journalist nearly a half hour after he broke the story.

Other reports say that Sean Connery was standing near the crash mumbling something about Charlemagne and armies of rocks and trees and the birds in the sky.