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?

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10 thoughts on “Like Nothing Ever Happened: Why Companies Change Their Logos

  1. I use to think that it was crazy to change a logo of a company or brand, because of past issues, but after taking IMC one I realized it can be beneficial. Because of what happen to Jared, which I had no idea anything had happened, but I like the new logo and the new UNCW logo. I believe with both new logos it will create more buzz and business. In Subway’s case I think it will generate more customers, in my opinion because I have no idea what they symbol is, so I would be more likely to go into a store because I am curious. In UNCW case more of a Eye-catching logo they will draw students to the university and increase the appearance of there athletic team logos.

  2. Another one to think about was Uber. Uber received a lot of flack for their logo change, and honestly I was not a big fan either. However, it hasn’t really hurt them. It’s funny that they changed though, because I do not believe they were trying to cover up bad press (like subway), or their sales were down. Maybe they just wanted even more attention.

  3. Hi IMC Class!
    Great post! At school I am ashamed to say I am in a bubble and had no idea Subway was changing their logo. I knew about the scandal, but didn’t know about anything else. Personally, I hate it. It reminds me of something that would be on the side of a garbage truck for recycling. For UNCW, I get why they changed the logo for sports purposes. It seems more fierce than the other one, but when Dr. Persuit told our class how much we spent on it I was shocked. We did not need to spend that kind of money on a logo in my opinion. I liked your blog because it wasn’t too wordy, it used the perfect amount of sarcasm, your pictures went with what you were talking about, and your questions at the end made the reader think. My only advice would be to make sure you reread your posts because there was one typo at the beginning. You said “It takes strong a strong marketing”. Other than that great job and good luck with your competition!

  4. I have run into some similar problems with the new UNCW logo. My dad and mom both attended UNCW and for Christmas last year, they wanted stickers/magnets for their cars. At the bookstore they only had the new logos and it was only the seahawk head thingy. I really contemplated buying them because I wasn’t sure if my parents would even know what it was. They were so used to the old logo, being alumni and all, that they actually didn’t associate the new logo with UNCW.

  5. Very good read. I have noticed how a lot of logos have changed but instead of creating their own brand and separating themselves from the pack, they look even more like everyone else. Think about it. Especially on the IPhone with the various apps, the bandwagon seems to be having the logos in a very VERY simple design. Almost as if a child tried to draw the original logo and then that is what became the new one. It has something to do with little to no detail, minimal lines, and about 2 or 3 solid colors. Even subway has taken this route with a very simple design.

  6. This was really cool! I didn’t realize Subway had a big scandal, or Pandora changed their logo, so half of this was new to me. Especially for us this really relates to what we have been talking about this semester. This shows how much damage can be done by one person, and it really was time for them to change. Not sure if I like the new subway logo though, I get the concept but it is kind of hard to read! Great information and tying back to intro to IMC students.

  7. I actually had no idea that subway had even changed their logo, and I eat at the one on campus practically everyday! I never thought of the changing the logo in the case of overcoming bad press and disassociating your brand with it. I agree that brands show only stick to changing their logos when they have something new and improved to go with it, because otherwise it just leaves people wondering why the brand wasted their time doing that.

  8. This article is great! You hit a lot of thoughts I think about when I see a logo change. I think it is a great idea to change logos from time because everyone likes new stuff and a new logo may just up sales for you. We have a Bojangles in my hometown and they just built a new building across the street and I have never seen this restaurant so busy. They didn’t move far and their logo didn’t change but its a new building and something new for their consumers, I think this can work for logos too. I think something fresh more modern and exciting is something brands can keep changing and incorporating in their logo for continued success.

  9. I like how you pointed out that logo changes can both be in lieu of a crisis or just in evolution. I do think that, in reference to pandora and UNCW (especially pandora) it has to do with the change in times and the change of mediums. Specifically, when apple changed to its new style, Pandora was a little late to the party on changing their logo to fit the simplistic theme. For some reason (I think apple is to blame for a lot of it), simplicity is hot right now. It’s the modern look, and so far it works. It’s sleek, effective, and clean. I’m not entirely sure why it works, but it does. Subway probably included that into its logo change, but yes, the push for the change was most definitely the crisis with Jared.

  10. This was a very interesting topic! I definitely have noticed companies switching over to new logos. Recently, Instagram’s logo change caused quite a stir. From brown to rainbow, the new logo is a lot more colorful, symbolic of the diversity and creativity found on the photo sharing app. Like your article said, logos really can reinvent companies!

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