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Take a look at Google’s branding from 1998 to the present.
The change between the 1998 logo to the 1999 logo was very visible, but if you look at the four times the logo changed since then (1999, 2010, 2013, and 2015) it’s hard to spot the differences if you don’t look closely.
Google changed the font and the texture of the letters, but the colors, name, and overall style remains slightly similar to someone who isn’t very picky with these minor details.
Google’s not the only one to make minor changes to their brand.
Everyone knows what the letters in KFC stand for, but until 1991, all of the restaurants were still branded “Kentucky Fried Chicken.” The same goes for British Petroleum turning into BP and Apple Computer now simply known as Apple.
But why is it necessary to change when it’s already a popular household brand?
Technology Is Changing
As time passes and technology changes, so do the way businesses adapt to the technology they can use to further their business. Look at the slogan of Amazon,
“Word Hard. Have Fun. Make History.”
Today, Amazon is the most popular go-to place for online shopping in the United States.
But, prior to 1994, nobody really thought an online shopping experience like one Amazon provides would be possible, let alone an online store that ships all over the world.
Amazon didn’t create online shopping, but it innovated and changed the way people shop online today.
With globalization making the world smaller and more connected and the internet booming with online stores for businesses to cut back on the fixed costs of physical stores, the way business worked 50 years ago is no longer a viable business strategy.
Technology has streamlined processes that could take days.
And because of this, businesses will also have to change.
Why Change the Branding, Too?
But why does a business have to change its branding, especially when it’s popular?
It’s a big risk businesses are taking.
Apple’s rebranding went successful and is still popular today, but when Tropicana tried to do the same and revamp their old brand, consumers didn’t like the new look and sales dropped 20 percent.
A company’s logo is arguably the most important part about branding.
It’s recognizable and has had a powerful impact on consumer behavior.
From the shape of the logo, the lines, and other aspects of the design, a logo can affect how consumers decide between one brand and their competitor.
A 2013 study from Psychological Science found that things like price and warranty are not enough to get the consumers on a certain brand’s side.
And because of the changes in technology, the internet, and the market, for every major change the business is undergoing, the branding will also have to adapt with it.
There are many reasons a business can choose to rebrand.
First, there is a change in the company’s proprietorship. If a company is bought by a bigger company, their logo does not have to necessarily match the color or look of their new parent company, but there has to be a similar style.
Back in 2005, YouTube’s original logo was very bulky. After it was bought by Google, you can notice how the slight changes in the logo – from a change in the type of red used for the box, to making the box smaller, down to just making the logo just one simple box with a play button – matches the simple but sleek design evolution of Google’s own logos.
Second, there’s the possibility that the original branding is memorable, but it doesn’t fit with the nature of the business years after it launches.
If you look at Google and EBay original logos, they’re colorful, but it looks less serious and not as modern.
Because they wanted to look more modern, professional, and a tool serious businesses would use (sellers for EBay and digital marketers and other similar professions for Google), sometimes it is necessary to change a logo that doesn’t fit in with what the company wants to become in the long run.
Google changed its logo to match its expansion and how it would cater to modern digital and mobile consumers.
On the other hand, EBay’s logo retained its color but looked more modernized and sleek to match the current marketplace behavior.
What Does This Say About Business?
When a simple logo change can mean the difference between customer loyalty and losing thousands or millions in sales, business owners and their employees must think smartly whenever they make a big move that affects their company.
From deciding to rebrand, going public, or hiring easy outsourcing solutions, a simple decision in this day and age could change the way a business operates or how consumers see a brand.
But is this a good thing, or is this a huge risk for most businesses on the brink of change?