Question: Why does my brand need a logo at all? Why can I not go for the “No-Logo” approach? It’s not like no one ever succeeded without a remarkably well designed logo.
Answer: While that is true, times have changed drastically. Brands often forget that the logo speaks for them. That it builds the relationship between the customer and the company bit by bit. Therefore altering it unrecognizably or completely getting rid of it for a simpler one, is never a good idea. Keeping this idea at the back of our minds, let’s see what the “No-Logo” movement was all about and why it vanished.
In 2011 Starbucks changed their logo drastically by dropping both the words “Starbucks” and “coffee”. Instead, they enlarged the mermaid icon to fit the entire logo. This was met with intense dissatisfaction among some customers.
GAP met with the same fate.
Source – ries.typepad.com
So what was the “No-Logo” movement about
Naomi Klein in her book No Logo spearheaded the movement of the same name around in 1999.
Dividing her book in to four parts she dissected the ad campaigns and branding attempts, which she felt did no good to the society.
- No Space: She felt brands were motivating our lifestyles and advertisements were encroaching our private spaces. Brands, according to her were selling a lifestyle and not just their products.
- No Choice: In this part she points out how small companies, very unfairly, go out of business due to the big ones.
- No Jobs: Raising the issue of the marginal paying scheme of such companies, Klein establishes how this causes frustration among the youth.
- No Logo: Here she finally provides reasons that back her anti branding campaign.
Relevance of the “No-Logo” movement today
It’s been fifteen very long years since Klein’s book was first published. The brand world, which recognizes change as the only constant, has safely locked up Klein’s ideas in a rusty old box and left it somewhere they can’t even remember now.
While Klein projected brands as the biggest bullies, citing that brands consume us, people now want to buy a product because of the brand. The last decade has seen different advertising and branding strategies. While some came to stay, some got lost with time. Very naturally the No-Logo movement did not make it big. Ironically, brands took it up as a challenge to rebrand themselves and this became an advertising trend in its own right.
‘De-logoing’: What does it entail
It was during the 90s that Tommy Hilfiger really started making great development. What began as a small clothing company, slowly made its presence felt all across the world. With the belief of merging the classic with the chic, Hilfiger’s garments became the ones that were most sought after.
Feeling the need for a makeover, essentially to compete with brands like Gucci and Prada, Hilfiger rebranded his undertaking. Like the latter European brands, the former wanted to look more peppy, fashionable and “cool”. In this attempt Hilfiger absolutely forgot the “classic” part of its brand identity. No wonder the company saw tremendous losses and successive setbacks in 2000. Reflecting on the reason behind this sudden dip in sales, Hilfiger himself said that his changing the brand logo did not sit well with his customers. They could not identify with it anymore.
Trying to make things better, Hilfiger went back to its good old logo with the bold blue, red and white colors, with Tommy Hilfiger etched on it clearly.
Here are the major lessons that Tommy Hilfiger’s mistake taught us:
- Getting blinded by a little success is never a good idea. One should never forget what their brand stands for.
- A little competition never hurts. But one mustn’t go overboard to compete with rivals illogically.
- No matter what your logo is, do not be ashamed of it. Don’t try to change it because you think the new startup down the road has a better one.
Why logos still matter
Karl Lagerfeld once famously said that “Logos and branding are so important. In a big part of the world, people cannot read French or English–but are great in remembering signs”.
- Target audience: While you may personally love the idea of a minimalist or no logo, you have to first think about whether your prospective clients would like the concept. Rolex watches don’t cost a fortune for nothing. So suddenly if someone was to take away the name off the brand, would people endorse the idea? I hardly think so.
- Reliability and trust: People often say while buying clothes that they’d rather buy branded items once than compromising with quality by getting something of the flea market. For all we know, both items might be equally great in terms of quality. But trust is a factor that consumers always take into consideration.
To remove the logo thus deprives the brand of this personal association. If you feel your brand is avant-garde and you desire that no-frills image maybe you can experiment with the no-logo trend. If you want to build a classic, favorite brand maybe the logo still has a long way to go.