Changing your logo? How to avoid logo panic

Logos change. It’s a fact of marketing. But every time they do, consumers and the media ready the pitchforks and light the torches.

Starbucks unveiled a new logo yesterday and the backlash has already started.

And a few months ago, the Gap revamped its decades-old logo. And then they promptly switched it back after public outcry about the change, along with a major corporate mea culpa.

Around the same time, technology blog TechCrunch was about to present 50 TechCrunch logos over 50 days, but stopped on day two because social media site Reddit just did the exact same thing a few weeks prior.

The furor over designing or re-designing a logo can be overwhelming. It’s understandable. Logos are accessible and ubiquitous and everybody has an opinion.  As comedian Stan Freberg wrote in a song 50 years ago, “everybody wants to be an art director.”

But TechCrunch, Reddit and even Google all bring us to an important point: your organization is not the same thing as its logo. All three demonstrate that you could probably change your logo every day, as long as you back it up with good product and service.

Same person, different glasses. Just like your new logo: same organization, new logo.

To loyal customers, a company with a new logo is like seeing an old friend with new glasses.

Sure it may take some getting used to, you might not even like the glasses, but over time, you get used to them and — after all — your friend hasn’t changed. Just her glasses.

Same goes for a nonprofit and its donors. Or an association and its members.

So, how do you quell logo anxiety?

  • Implement it quickly. Make sure that you don’t leave lingering logo relics of your old logo on your website, advertising, letterhead or offices. To make sure you’ve scoured out all of the old logo, consider organizing an employee scavenger hunt to see who can find the most appearances of the old logo.
  • Don’t panic. Even if some individuals in your audience react strongly. As long as you’re comfortable that you’ve done due diligence and the new logo is aligned with your brand identity, odds are good that your audiences will slowly adjust to the new logo.
  • Don’t lose focus. Logo-talk can go on forever if you let it. And it can distract from your core mission and functions, which is what people really associate with your organization.

Logos are important. Logos are a big part of the brand identity that people unconsciously create when they think of your organization.

But your logo isn’t your organization any more than you are your new eyeglasses.

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