There seems to be an increasing drive from brands to actively use an identity change as an opportunity to engage with consumers or get PR.
While this is a step up from just putting a statement on the company website talking about how a redrawn lion or heart represents ‘innovation’ or ‘community’, these efforts are still on a relatively basic level.
With Philips, for example, you have a company that has been through a massive structural and organisational change recently – its ‘Accelerate!’ transformation process has seen it restructure its portfolio and earlier this year it dropped the word ‘Electronics’ from its name, becoming just Royal Philips.
However, stories around these deep and impactful changes being tricky to communicate to consumers, the company chose to engage them through a more tangible touchpoint – its crest.
There’s obvious logic to this of course, but the downside is that attempts to engage the general public through logo design generally meet with an apathetic response. In the run-up to the Philips logo reveal for example, there was only enough engagement from visitors to uncover around 30 per cent of the crest.
And then the design-savvy audience who would be interested in a logo-led PR campaign are often also the ones ready to pick apart any identity update in a methodical and often unforgiving fashion.
Philips should, to an extent, be congratulated on quite a canny initiative. The project was certainly a huge step up from similar recent logo-led engagement campaigns, such as Yahoo’s 30 logos in 30 days stunt.
The company had clearly taken what they saw as the most tangible aspect of a massive organisation change and tried to present it in an engaging, accessible and quirky way.
But huge questions remain around this sort of stunt. Does it really represent what a ‘rebrand’ is? Does it open a brand up to unneccessary criticism? And ultimately, do the consumers really care?