As a marketing person, I concede that the word “new” is powerful. “New” has always been in the list of most important words to use in advertising, like here and here. (I didn’t look very hard to find those, they came up on top in a Google search. My point is… that is the common view of things.) All things “new” are right up there with “free” in terms of impact. Right?
I’m not so sure. It certainly was true for a long time. I’m beginning to think we’re all getting a little tired of “new”. If the new “new thing” is something we want or need, well, fine. But changing logos, changing the NECN early morning news anchors, and change for no good reason — is just plain irritating. Fortunately there are people who agree with me, which makes me sound a bit less grumpy. Wharton just published an article on how people are responding to the NEW Starbucks logo. And the answer is: not all that well.
The Ford logo, like the Starbucks logo, has evolved over the years:
But, frankly, guys… during my lifetime and yours it’s pretty much stayed the same. Would I respond well to a Ford Motor logo change? I don’t think so. A logo is meant to persist in your memory. If it doesn’t do that, what’s the point?
Hey? (I had a Mercury Capri in a copper metallic color years ago that I had painted bright yellow. So I like bright yellow.) But still…
Early in a company’s history a corporate logo evolves. At some point a standard for the logo, including a color, is adopted. A longstanding, consistent logo becomes associated with a company and its products. When somebody decides to change it, they create an immediate cost to replace signage, stationary, and all printed marketing materials, as well as the cost to update all on-line appearances. Some amount of negative reaction among long term customers is to be expected. We all cope with a great deal of change in our modern world. (Way too much?) Being a point of comfortable stability for people can increase the value of your logo.
Something to consider: If you feel a crying need to modernize a logo, consider the minimal-change approach used by the NFL:
Now then, that didn’t hurt, did it? Modernized? Definitely. Negative reactions? Nope. Might not even have noticed. Contrast that to the Starbucks changes:
The newest Starbucks logo has the advantage of being a single color which reduces printing costs, but losing the company name as part of the logo would not have been my choice. I might not have put the corporate name in the logo to begin with, but once it was there, and the company was successful using it, I would not change it.
Does the word “new” still have advertising power? Probably, though that power may be less than it once was, due to an overabundance of change these days. And the “new look” of a logo may not be a good idea if it costs you a comfortable relationship with a longstanding customer base.