Is it time to redesign your logo or not?  When it comes to a brand’s logo, that is the question.  In fact, the marketing power that a logo can hold is so well-accepted that even geographical areas occasionally use new logos to try to breathe new life into local economies.  But is it the right move for a particular brand at a particular time?

The consumer outrage that followed after logo changes were introduced by well-known American brands Gap and Tropicana was reported nationwide.  After rolling out its more modern logo on packaging in 2009, Tropicana saw sales fall by 20 percent, prompting a quick switch back to the familiar image of a straw stuck in an orange that generations of consumers had grown to identify with.

Gap’s new logo, on the other hand, did not get so far in its lifespan.  Within one week of announcing an updated logo on its website consumer response via social media was so strongly opposed that the company reverted back to its previous logo. While these cases make it clear that updating a logo is not always the right choice for a brand to make, nor is attempting to play it safe by sticking with the same logo forevermore.

So, how often do I need to update my logo?

In fact, for every well-publicized case of rebranding gone wrong, there are many more examples of brands that fizzled out when a new logo may have been just what the marketing doctor ordered.  Failure to act in those cases might have put the final nail in the coffin of cultural irrelevancy.  Think of Miller Light, whose vintage-inspired logo redesign, rolled out in 2014 as part of a movie tie-in, saw sales increased by 18% in some markets.  The company made no other changes except for the new logo.

Considering the two drastically different possible outcomes, any brand manager would be right to wonder, “How often do I need to update my logo?”  Below are 4 signs that it’s time to redesign.

1.  There are technical problems with the logo.
Logos that are too intricate for consumers to view as intended on mobile devices or in other small-scale scenarios have to go.  In this case, what worked in the days when billboard and television advertising ruled will not be able to carry a brand well into the 21st century.  Likewise, a company looking to scale down marketing expenses or redirect funds into another area may have to say goodbye to a logo filled with so many colours that it has become too costly to print.

2.  The logo fails to capture attention.
The negative ramifications that fell on Gap and Tropicana after new logos were revealed were because those brands have become iconic.  Few consumers who view those logos in pre-update form struggled to identify the brands.  For other brands, however, a logo redesign can make the difference between a dull unidentifiable product image and the potential to enjoy a future as an iconic brand.  If a current logo has bot produced iconic status and fails to excite or attract new consumers, it is time to redesign.

3.  The company is expanding into new product categories.
When Starbucks made the decision to remove the words “Starbucks Coffee” from its logo in 2011, it was because the company wanted to remove the identity limitations that came with the words.  With expansion in products sold that has included pre-made healthful snacks and meals, breakfast sandwiches, music and, in some markets even alcohol, the logo change helped the company move in to its new identity.  For any business considering the addition of products beyond what its current logo implies, a logo update should be on the agenda.

4.  The logo is antiquated.
Outdated should not be mistaken for iconic.  While brands such as Coca-Cola and Gucci enjoy status as classics whose customers identify the traditional logos with a rich dependable history, a less successful or lesser known brand should not make the mistake of believing its own outdated logo to carry the same positive messaging.  Rather a logo with a font, shapes or other antiquated aesthetic can be a detriment to such a company, showing it to be behind the times and out of touch with the current technological culture.  If this is the case a redesigned logo should be a priority.

To talk about whether the time is right for an updated logo, or anything else, please contact us.  Thank you.

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