We are bombarded by around 3500 marketing messages a day. Yet according to the Guardian, 99% of these make no impact on us. Marketers and brand owners strive to become part of the 1% that engage audiences and get us to look up from our busy lives.
However, sometimes it’s important to be careful what we want. Many famous brands have their marketing messages scrutinized, thanks to their logo design fails.
Logos are not just pretty pictures that accompany a brand. They are visual representations of the brand’s values. A re-brand can therefore be treacherous. We are fickle beings. The wrong design can lead your customers to abandon your product, causing devastating losses in profits.
Though many seek advice from successful business logo design companies and do succeed at creating wonderful, engaging logos, many fail. So what brands have endured logo design fails in the past, and what can we learn from their misfortunes?
Our first logo fail takes us all the way back to 2009, the year of Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face” and of the even more infamous new face of Tropicana. Tropicana’s logo, once a bright, juicy orange with a straw plunging into its core, was replaced with a clinical looking glass of orange juice. The picture was synonymous with the type of beverage you might be offered after giving blood.
The aim was to modernize the product with a surprise re-brand, but instead customers fled from this new design. Tropicana’s sales dropped by 20% instantly. In just two months, the brand was down $30 million in sales, not to mention the $35 million spent on the re-brand itself. The company had no option but to revert to its original, much-loved design in an attempt to appease its alienated customers.
After Juice-Gate of 2009, it would make sense that other brands would not follow in the insane footsteps of Tropicana’s overnight re-brand. However, this was not the case. 2010 saw Gap undertake a shocking re-brand that took customers by surprise once again.
Gap had a long-standing identity that their customers recognized from the past two decades, and the company’s audience responded terribly to the launch of the new Helvetica font logo. This typeface is one of the most common fonts used globally, and incorporating it into the face of the brand diluted any visual uniqueness Gap held. Unlike Tropicana, Gap did not last two months with its new logo. The company lasted six days, with an estimated $100 million lost in the process.
Of course, it’s not always re-brands that lead to logo design fails; we can be left sniggering at original designs too. Our journey continues to 2012 with the Olympic Games, a world event that London had the coveted honor of hosting.
The intention was to represent the youthful outlook of the city: bold, spirited, and vibrant. However, the internet did not agree with this metaphor.
People instead likened the logo to an X-rated image, and the picture soon took on viral status. The logo cost £40,000 and took a year to design, but all that remains is the memory of the controversy.
What Can We Learn from Logo Design Fails?
Communication Is Key
Typically, the stronger our emotional attachment to a brand, the more negative our reactions are when companies change designs. Tropicana and Gap failed to let their audiences know they were re-branding, which was their crucial mistake. We internalize brands we love. When we see the face of the company change, we automatically think the brand is changing too – and not taking us with it.
Before undertaking any logo redesign, it’s vital to communicate with your customers. Tell them what is happening in order to make them feel valued.
Test Your Logo
Logo design can often become all-consuming. Make sure the design is tested methodically with the demographics that are going to engage with it. This is where the Olympic 2012 design failed and ultimately left the design team embarrassed.
Logo design has the ability to resonate deeply with your chosen audience, but the waters are murky, so always remember to tread carefully. And if the design seems self-indulgent, it probably is!
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