Just as the New Year spurs personal reexamination and corresponding goals, it can be an appropriate time for an assessment of your most critical brand element – your organization’s logo. First, let’s make this clear: changing your logo is a big deal. In terms of an analogy, a logo change is more like major facial cosmetic surgery than a simple hairstyle modification. You’re tweaking your organization’s DNA and how you’re viewed in the marketplace. It’s not an issue to be taken lightly, but it may very well be a necessity that you need to confront.
Aside from a name change, the most common reason for logo redesign is out-of-date styling. Logos are often the forerunner of significant shifts within the ever-changing world of design. At the cutting edge, they’re wildly creative and fun. In conservative fields, modifications are typically subtle and cautiously approached. Chances are your organization is somewhere in between, but if your logo has become contrary to the image you wish to present, then it’s probably costing you more than you think.
Pepsi-Cola has undergone 10 noteworthy logo changes over the past 116 years (see image). Each of these logo redesigns required a sizeable investment, including new signage, ads, business cards, billboards, letterhead, invoices, etc. Those investments paid off, though, as Pepsi consistently maintained freshness with regard to its brand.
If your logo hasn’t changed in a decade or two, there’s a considerable likelihood that it’s time for a redesign or refreshing. But how do you know for sure? Chances are good that your personal bias and viewing frequency prevent you from seeing your logo as others do. That leads us to a great starting point: a focus group. Whether from an informal Facebook or web-based poll or a full-blown agency review and study, you should solicit opinions from nonstakeholders who meet your target customer demographics.
Questions should be directed at gathering meaningful information about the impression your logo presents. Avoid yes or no questions, offering multiple choice answers instead. (e.g., What attribute do you most associate with our logo? A) Strength B) Predictability C) Peace D) Elegance). Target at least 50 qualified opinions and see what trends are recurring.
Using survey software or websites, you’ll be able to easily view percentages and trends in answers. If there is a significant disparity between how your audience views your logo and how you want them to view your organization, you need to seriously consider a change. If the opinions gathered coincide with your intended brand image, then this probably isn’t the year for a new logo.
Happy New Year!