Maybe You Don't Need to Change Your Logo

Posted: Updated:

The graphic symbol representing your company has been in place since the early 1960s, when your great-uncle started the business, and your new advertising firm insists that it has to be replaced. You want to trust their counsel, but you're just not sure.

"You need a new logo" is one of the first things companies often hear after they’ve hired a new advertising agency or a graphic design firm. When the company presses for a reason, they’re typically given a variety of reasons. The logo is old-fashioned. It may have reflected the business a decade ago, but it’s not appropriate for what you are today. It’s not "visionary." It's not "attractive."

Most of the time, companies give in to the request, whether eagerly or reluctantly. After all, these people are experts. We’re paying them for their knowledge. They’re looking out for our best interests, aren’t they?

Sometimes, the answer is yes. But all too often, the reason that companies receive the recommendation is that logo design (and its frequent companion, the graphic standards manual) is a particularly profitable piece of business that carries a hefty price tag.

Developing the new logo is only the beginning of the investment. Now that your company has a new symbol, you’ll have to replace all your signage, truck graphics, business cards, letterhead, brochures, the website -- even the shirts you hand out at golf outings. After all, they all bear that obsolete image.

The term “advertising agency” includes two elements. Everyone’s familiar with the first: advertising. When you hire a firm, it accepts responsibility for your advertising, marketing, sales promotion, and similar activities. Less obvious is the second element, the word “agency.” In its purest legal form, it obligates the firm to act in the best interests of its clients. If the client really doesn’t need something, the firm shouldn’t recommend it, no matter how profitable it may be.

We’ve worked with companies who have heard the “you need a new logo” spiel each time they’ve hired a new advertising firm, which may be every few years. Most assume they’ll hear it from us, too -- some apologize for their logo early in the process -- and they’re shocked when we recommend they stick with what they have.

Case in point: several years ago, we began to work with a manufacturer that sells its product globally. The company’s logo was designed by a member of the sales team decades ago, and I can’t imagine any graphic designer calling it a thing of beauty. Some would even say it’s on the homely side (although our client is quite proud of it).

Our client is known for making equipment that’s beyond durable. Equipment they manufactured in the 1960s is still at work every day in plants around the world. It may need a tune-up or a replacement part now and then, but the core product is solid. And every piece of that equipment bears that familiar identity. To people in their industry, from Thailand to Toronto, that logo is as recognizable as the symbols for Apple and Starbucks are to today’s American consumers. They don’t see it as an art element. To them, it’s a symbol of toughness and reliability.

What do I think of that logo? Doesn’t matter one bit. I’m not one of the customers who buys the company’s equipment. My role is to keep that name and logo out in front of those customers and make sure our agency doesn’t do anything to compromise that hard-earned reputation. Along the way, we have taken steps to standardize it, and we’ve recommended adjustments to make its color more powerful and less likely to fade.

Our client has built up tremendous equity in that logo, and changing it for the sake of change, or for our firm to earn a few more dollars, wouldn’t be in their best interests. That’s the definition of agency in action. We’ve built up significant trust with our client, and if I walked into the CEO’s office tomorrow and said, “You really need to replace that logo,” they’d probably give me the green light. But I wouldn’t make that recommendation.

The next time someone insists that your logo or something else your company holds dear needs to be changed, ask them for a rationale. If the reasoning makes sense, it may actually be a good idea. But if the answers make you wary, ask yourself if there may be an ulterior motive.

Deborah Daily is co-owner of Buckaroo Marketing.

  • Perspectives

    • Seven Steps to Overcome Your Fear of Writing

      "I hate to write!" While that phrase is music to my ears, because it ensures my income will persist, it also saddens me. Far too many people dislike writing, largely because they’re intimidated by the process of knitting words into sentences and sentences into paragraphs. Nearly everyone needs to write from time to time, and the ability to assemble words in a coherent way can impact your success. Whether you have to write reports, proposals, memos, or even emails...
    More

Subscribe

Name:
Company Name:
Email:
Confirm Email:
HTML
INside Edge
Morning Briefing
BigWigs & New Gigs
Life Sciences Indiana
Indiana Connections
INPower
Subscribe
Unsubscribe

Events



  • Most Popular Stories

    • Hoosier Companies Among 'Most Admired'

      Two Indiana companies are included in Fortune's 2019 list of the "World's Most Admired Companies." The list was determined by a survey of nearly 4,000 executives, directors and analysts who rated companies in their own industries based on criteria such as investment value, quality of management and ability to attract talent.

    • Books & Brews Acquires Flat12 Bierwerks

      Indianapolis-based Books & Brews has announced its acquisition of Flat12 Bierwerks, also based in Indy. Financial terms of the deal are not being disclosed, however Books & Brews says it will continue to operate Flat12 under the same brand name. The acquisition is a continuation of an existing partnership between the two entities. Books & Brews says Flat12 has been a brewery partner for the past two years, brewing all of B&B's flagship and seasonal beers.

    • Hoosier Companies Among 'Best and Brightest'

      Two Indiana companies are among more than 500 selected by the National Association for Business Resources as the 2018 Best and Brightest Companies to Work For in the Nation. The winners were chosen by an independent research firm from more than 2,400 nominations.

    • Indiana Liquor Group to Buy Save-On Liquor Chain

      Indiana Liquor Group LLC will work with the Indiana Alcohol & Tobacco Commission this week for final approval of its purchase of Save-On Liquor stores. Our partners at The Herald Bulletin report Phillip E. Miller agreed to sell the 31-location package store chain to ILG last month. 

    • Cook: Location, Funding Among Eleven Park Questions

      Several ambitious economic development projects are already taking center stage this year, particularly in central Indiana. Indianapolis-based KSM Location Advisors Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook and President Katie Culp say efforts like Eleven Park, which would include a new stadium for the Indy Eleven soccer team, and a potential casino in downtown Indianapolis are among the key projects being talked about. On the (i) on Economic Development segment on Inside INdiana Business...