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Branding is Key

There is an old saying: “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.”

Branding is Key

Posted Thursday August 14th, 2014 in Analysis + Strategy.

There is an old saying: “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.” It’s a mantra that brands use to stay safe and sound in their current marketing, with no known cause for concern.

When it comes to automobiles and homes, we see great reason to cling to this adage. But, when it comes to branding, the worst thing a brand can do is stop innovating. History is riddled with brands who thought it best to play it safe – Microsoft and Dell come to mind. They are still chasing current technology trends today!

Rebranding isn’t just about staying current; it’s also about showing a boldness to the brand’s character, and an understanding of the changing nature of the core audience. We can’t begin to talk about rebranding until we tackle the penultimate element of a brand’s essence: its logo.

Logo evolution is an idea that has been successfully adopted by one of the largest industries in the world – the film industry. Think about it – companies like Warner Bros, MGM, and Universal have been around for quite a while, and they all have distinct, recognizable logos. Over time, these logos have seen great variations. For instance, Universal has always focused on the rotating Earth with their studio name appearing ahead of it – yet over time, the Earth became more detailed and more animation was added to reflect the growing industry trend towards enhanced visual effects.

Warner Bros. has almost always featured its shield with “WB” included in the center of it (save for a period in the mid 70’s when the shield was dropped for a different approach to better fit the era).

Every studio has at one time or another changed the look of their logo – it’s a necessary rebrand.

To this day, I can tell you without pause that Back to the Future and Jurassic Park were Universal films, Star Wars was a 20th Century Fox picture, Twister was WB, and the James Bond series was MGM. I know this not only because I was captivated by the movies themselves, but also because the logos are, for lack of a better term, epic. Even better, they are popping up in today’s films as if they were part of the sets. The effect surprises the viewer in the best example of logo-content integration that I can think of.

To many brands, the logo is the largest asset from an intellectual-property standpoint. Care must be exercised in logo transformation (think GAP), but nonetheless it is an important exercise whenever the company is experience a shift, pivot. Given that the studios clearly have a grip on the changing times, I for one, am very excited to see what they come up with next.

Logo rebranding is just one of the many ways in which we help customers with their changing identities here at GEM. When you’re ready, we’re here to fix it – broken or not.


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