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Renault is planning to scrap its own name from the branding on its cars, relying instead on its diamond-shaped badge. Is visual branding such as this strong enough to stand alone?

‘Renault has the potential to do the same as Nike and make a relatively commonplace icon, such as a swoosh, the worldwide “spokesman” of its brand. As it is, the yellow diamond already stands alone on Renault car bonnets. The tone was set in the automotive sector by Volkswagen, which has recently starting using its brand icon as an advertising signature. But Volkswagen knows how to build on the value of its brand icon – it’s now up to Renault to do the same.’

Gabrielle Chêne, director, The Brand Company (France)

‘You need only to look at the London Underground or Nike marques to see whether visual branding of this type works. However, while there are benefits of a reposition of this kind [Renault], clients should not approach it lightly. They must consider the durability of their marque. In a rapidly developing market, is it flexible enough to withstand cultural and business changes?’

Ranzie Anthony, creative director, Tonic Design

‘A symbol can only support a name. It could be said that the brand is the name. As cars become increasingly visually homogenised, the brand name and the value that it represents are powerful differentiating factors. Mercedes has a symbol that is both strong and recognisable, but even this is underpinned by the name within the badge itself. Perhaps Volkswagen could arguably claim to have replaced its name with a symbol – the VW badge. While a symbol can represent a name visually, in written and spoken communication the name itself is crucial.’

Mike Booth, creative director, retail and leisure, Design House

‘The English longbowmen raised two fingers to their enemy. A single gesture said it all (and still does). That is the art of communication: clear, emphatic and superbly simple. In the car world, Mercedes Benz has cracked it – you won’t find its word marque on its product, just the famous three-pointed star. Can Renault do the same? Mercedes can do it because each and every product embodies and “speaks” its values. The same cannot (yet) be said for Renault.’

Tim Greenhill, managing director, Basten Greenhill Andrews

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