Logo logic

The recent Bharti Airtel logo change has started a worldwide debate, reheating the brand logo vs positioning.

Let’s find out which is more important for a brand- creating a wave in the market or securing a safe seat in the minds of the end users.


Logo makeover and compatibility

Changing logos and adapting to a new concept is much easier for standalone companies who do not rest their spine on a retail network. All they need to do is position the new logo and market it through the right communication channel. But in case of companies that operate on a multi- franchisee or retailer model, they have to please more stake holders than one. And with the social network system sprucing up each coming day, no one’s’ displeasure can be pushed under the carpet. Here’s a take on the Logo makeovers and its compatibility with the retail space, in terms of image, convince and a constant effort to bring sustainable change.


Spot the need

What was the major need that led to the complete overhaul; and was the logo change actually worth all the trouble and revamp (that costed Rs 300-crore for the new campaign) of the largest telecom service brand in the country. Talking to one of the newspapers, Rohit Ohri, Managing Partner, JWT India and the man behind revamping the Airtel Logo said, “It’s young and vibrant. Above all, there’s a change in positioning, from a voice company to one that provides data. It enriches lives in other words. This shift had to be conveyed, which is why a recast of the identity was felt necessary.” The task of spotting change lies in identifying the shift in consumer preferences and revamping at the right time to stay ahead of competition.


Acceptance is chief proposition

“The key to gaining acceptance is to follow the route of incremental changes and not dramatic ones, because the later, if one is mapping the trend don’t go well with the consumers,” proposes Devangshu Dutta, chief executive officer of retail consultancy firm Third Eye. He further feels that it is very important for the company to school its consumers into accepting the change. Another way of creating acceptance is increasing the visibility through a multifaceted advertisement exercise. “With familiarity, acceptance will also grow, unless the idea is at compete logger heads with the brand proposition,” advocates Devangshu Dutta.


Playing safe and staying steady

It’s pretty safe for established companies to stay put and not experiment with their logo, for they have spent decades and many million dollars in getting it to the spot where it currently rests. For it is the recognition factor and the brand association that the symbol draws, making the logo impressive. It is this reason in the backdrop that can be trailed to very subtle changes being made over a period of time in major brands like Nike (changing only font); Windows (adding 3D effect and colour); Apple (making changes in colour and texture).


They are doing this to stay sustainable and by making changes, they are maintaining their adaptability with the changing technological environment and varying style quotient that is reflected in the overall aesthetics of the logo. This also helps in adapting to the corporation’s current marketing focus (target market/ consumer segment). But It’s also worthy to note that they ‘modified’ their logos, rather than scrapping the look and recognition they had already achieved.


Going back to the old school

But there are still many who have gone completely over the top, and revamped the whole logo. Some out of them, created a fad and the others had to go back to the old horse. Recently, when GAP introduced its new logo and called it “a more contemporary, modern expression”, the retailers and customers were not so happy about it. The backlash against Gap’s new (and now defunct) logo was intense. Beyond the thousands of tweets and Facebook status updates deriding its design, people found other creative ways to protest the new logo.


While social media wasn’t the only reason that Gap felt compelled to revert to the old logo, it definitely was a major factor. Social media mobilized and spread the word about the logo change. In this case, the company listened to its customers and avoided a consumer backlash- something what Pepsi Co faced with Tropicana package/logo change (even they have reverted to their age old logo and package design).



An over view of the needs, reasons and challenges that are faced by a brand over a long period of time, brings to front the fact that change is continuous, conspicuous and crucial. But the way the change agents work around a concept is also given privilege while measuring the success of a venture. Thus any change or new idea should be positioned at the right space- that is vacant and waiting for a new idea- this can be to overcome a crisis, revamp company motto or aimed at targeting a whole new range of market segment.


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