Some of the more perceptive of you (especially in the Norwegian crowd) might have caught that the Norwegian mobile carrier NetCom changed their logo last week. They, too, went from something widely recognizable to something that appears to have been bought cheap from one of those logo/template websites. Let me give you a shortened timeline of logos I’ve recognized for NetCom from their humble beginnings back in 1993:
Parents want to have everything, you see...
Granted, they probably wanted to align all their branding with their Swedish-Finnish parent company, TeliaSonera, but by doing something like this, to me, seems like an illogical choice. You’re basically removing the separate identity of a company and a brand, and you’re forced to start more or less from scratch when it comes to building a brand identity with your would-be customers.
I still don’t understand the need to spend a lot of dough to rebrand something that’s already doing well, both financially and brand-wise. I’ve covered this before when Telenor changed their logo. In time, I’ve managed to get used to Telenor’s new logo, but it took a few years before I did.
In recent years, there are more Norwegian brands that have changed their logos, for no particular reason, and not for the better. Let me give you a couple more examples:
Back in September 2008, the Norwegian postal service, Posten, defined their existing portfolio more clearly in their consumer-oriented segment, Posten, and their business-oriented service segment, Bring, and brought along a whole new brand design shortly after this change.
From the traditional post horn to.... two concentric circles?
They claim the new logos represent a modernized design of the post horn, but I have to look very closely to see this, even on a minor level.
And in April and May 2009, the Norwegian oil giant Statoil wanted to jump on the rebranding bandwagon as well, for no apparent reason at all.
From the famous oil drop to.... arts and crafts?
Representing the real arts and crafts since 1910...
They, too, got a lot of criticism for the new logo, in particular because this new logo resembled the logo for the Norwegian Folk Art and Craft Association (Norsk Husflidslag) too closely. You can probably see why. In a presentation accompanying the change at the time, claimed “it’s a star, a guiding star for a corporation that aims to be a pathfinder in oil, gas, and other forms of energy” (translated from Norwegian). I still don’t see their new design as something energy-related, though.
All of these companies have something in common: they were already quite successful companies and brands prior to the logo changes, and that includes Telenor, which I had mentioned earlier.
Rebranding costs money, from the actual designers, to several design suggestions (and actual design selection), all the way to removing the old logos and replacing them with the new logos on all stores, clothing, vehicles, signs, products and packaging, ads and commercials (including existing sponsorship signs and clothes), paper and envelopes, and everything else. And when you’re a large corporation with a few thousand stores and/or employees around the country and/or globe, this is far from cheap.
I can sort of understand if they gradually choose to modernize their existing logo, but not when they choose to replace it altogether. I understand it even less when they change it to something that seems rather generic.
To all other companies out there thinking about changing your logo, I have a simple advice: Don’t.
Instead, consider to slightly modernize your existing logo, so that it does seem fresher, but also in a way that it’s still recognizable to those who were your customers 10 or 20 years ago (if your company is that old). And when you do, don’t rush the logo out everywhere; replace the logo on signs and other stuff out there when it’s natural to replace them (ie. when they start to show signs of wear and tear).
You know who has actually been able to do that? Coca-Cola. They’ve been around for over 125 years, and have gone through over 10 design changes, each one resembling the previous one somewhat. And Coca-Cola’s logo today is quite similar to the original logo that John Pemberton’s partner Frank Mason Robinson created back in 1885.
In other words, you don’t have to rebrand yourself to stay successful. Just focus all that money on something else, like improving your products, services or even your customer service instead.