Like Nothing Ever Happened: Why Companies Change Their Logos

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As I’m sure most of you know by now, Subway had a pretty big scandal happen recently. Their former spokesman, Jared, got caught up in some pretty nasty business, and is now appropriately sentenced to a lengthy jail term. In an attempt to get past this, and to change their corporate identity, they changed their logo.

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Not to be confused with a 90’s recycling PSA

It’s shaped like an ‘S’! That’s very clever, get it?  The name looks different too. The colors are brighter, the lettering looks more modern, it’s like an entirely new Subway! That’s what they want you to think. Subway wants to remove any association that might have been made with Jared. An easy way to do that is to change the company’s symbol. After a change in marketing, it gives consumers new associations with a new symbol. But will it work? It should take more than just a logo change to influence people that you have moved past previous mistakes. It takes strong a strong marketing campaign as a whole to show people that you have changed.

But maybe it doesn’t always require a screw up for one to change their logo. Just recently UNCW underwent a change in their sports logo.

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There was nothing truly wrong with the corporate identity of UNCW. No giant scandal, or confusion, or misrepresentation of the brand, so why change it? Maybe it has something to do with just the look of the old logo. It’s not particularly attractive, and looks like something straight out of the 90s. There could be possible repercussions to this. Maybe people won’t like this new change, or possibly not even recognize it. People may not connect the new logo with UNCW, which could hurt the brand.

Recently, Apps have been taking part of this logo change as well. Both Instagram and Pandora have changed their corporate logos. Pandora did this in conjunction with the release of a new subscription service, Pandora Plus. While it’s no substantial change, it does obviously differentiate from the original.

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If there was a time to change a logo, it would probably be best to do so when you have something new to go along with it.  It provides consumers a reason to embrace your new company image and logo. It sets up a vision of success and  gives something for new and old customers alike something to be excited about. The only issue with this is Pandora obviously had to do this for a reason. With music streaming and downloading as easy as ever, Pandora has been struggling to keep pace with other music related business like Spotify. It will be interesting to see if the new logo and services help them keep pace with the competition.

Could this lead to new issues in terms of identity? Will people accept or reject the new logo, and in turn reject the new identity the corporation or institution is trying to project? Are people influenced by a logo change, or does it take much more than that? When is the best time to refurbish the brand and its logo?