Posted on September 9, 2015, at 6:00 p.m.
by Taylor Shelnutt.
It was a Tuesday — perhaps the least threatening day of the week. Business execs began their online searches for financial reports while soccer moms looked up recipes for dinner. Suddenly, they all noticed something was different. The classic rainbow letters on the stark white screen had changed. And we all know change is the enemy.
After Google introduced its new logo last week, the buzz was so huge you would’ve thought the tech giant had claimed bankruptcy. The problem was that most people hated the new look and weren’t afraid to say it. Online debates were rampant as some Google fans loved the cleaner, sans serif font, and others longed for the return of the older, wiser-looking footed letters. Google stuck with its claim that the redesign of its brand identity allows for space optimization across devices and platforms.
Verizon followed suit a few days later and confirmed its logo change was also on the way. Gone are the overarching red checkmark and the red “z.” The new look once again takes on a simpler, all black typeface with a small red checkmark as an afterthought.
So what’s the big deal? Here are three takeaways from the recent rebrands.
1. Consumers identify with a brand. We are innately opposed to change. If you’re going to change your look, you better have a good reason for it. Have there been successful rebrands? Absolutely. But changing your logo inherently means you’re changing what your brand stands for at first glance. The reason behind a redesign has to justify the potential of upsetting the proverbial apple cart.
2. Less is more. The rebrands also make it pretty apparent that our marketing culture is moving toward a more simplistic outlook. We tend to appreciate and respond better to approaches that don’t overwhelm us with helter-skelter typefaces and an amalgam of colors. Simplicity often equals sophistication, and in a world where business competition is fierce, brands need as much finesse as they can afford.
3. Google will do what Google wants to do. People aren’t going to stop using the world’s most popular search engine because they don’t like the new look, and Google knows it. Gradually the logo will become familiar, the buzz will die down, and we’ll forget why we even cared in the first place. Then the next rebrand will come and we’ll scream about that. But we’ll still keep using Google. The same goes for the other rebranded giants.
I think a large part of the issue is that consumers want to be included in the rebranding decision. We love surprises if those surprises agree with our tastes. If not, we’d rather be let in on the secret so we have time to voice our opinion before the change is permanent. But doesn’t that seem just a little greedy?
Company execs know the strategies behind business moves, including design changes. That’s why they’re paid the big bucks. Let consumers loose with the decision, and we’ll have a marketplace that looks like the Candy Land board. I think I’ll stick with Google’s new sans serif, thank you.