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Logo Misses Are Signs of Missed Marketing Clues, and Here Are a Few

There's good marketing and bad. There are conventional ads and quirky ones-;that can work or maybe not.

When things seem to go badly, or when there's a change in management and the newly in are looking to prove themselves, often existing programs are targeted for an overhaul. One type in particular is often eyed is the logo.

But logos are funny things. It's almost like writing, where most people are sure they can do better than what they read. But often they can't.

A logo might seem easy. Just a little doodle with an obscure idea behind it. How hard is it to pull off? Pretty hard.

Here are a few examples where executives eventually found how readily they could cause a big stink.

Trust us, we use capital letters

When looking at companies, at least in technology, that continuously undermine the trust of consumers, it's hard to think of one that is worse than Facebook. The litany of broken pledges, contemptuous assumptions, and ineptitude is remarkable. The company has managed to make itself the target of regulators around the world and even human rights activists.

More than a bad day, Facebook is having a bad decade. So what did it decide to do? Rebrand itself as FACEBOOK. That must have taken a lot of creative time. But at least people won't continue to recognize it and all its various properties, " further distinguishing the Facebook company from the Facebook app," as NBC News quoted Antonio Lucio, the company's CMO.

And it will help regulators better recognize what they think should be broken up. Smashing move.

No-text zone

Mastercard has to be one of the most recognized brands on the planet. So much so that it dares you to remember the company's name by dropping it from the logo. Now there are just the two red and yellow circles.

Explaining this "brand evolution," a company press release quoted Raja Rajamannar, chief marketing and communication officer at Mastercard: "Reinvention in the digital age calls for modern simplicity."

Wouldn't real simplicity be leaving things as they, even though "increasingly, we communicate not through words but icons and symbols"? You can still expect plenty of text on your next bill.

You can't win

Addressing gender in products and marketing used to be simple, if ham-handed and often fraught with insensitivity. You know, blue is for boys and pink is for girls, except in the earlier 20th century, when it was the other way around. Keeping current with cultural demands is a challenge.

That's what Procter & Gamble ultimately realized when the company changed the logo for its Always brand sanitary pads. It used to incorporate the planetary symbol for Venus, which also is a sign for women and female characteristics. It lasted on the product for 35 years until, recently, people identifying as non-binary and transgender objected.

The company removed the symbol as an accommodation so that those who need the product but don't identify as female could comfortably purchase it. P&G felt the love and hate on social media from those who applauded and jeered the move. (Though, if you let social media drive your decisions, realize that you're responding to a non-representational 2 percent of the population. You have no idea what most people think or feel based on Twitter, which is where these things often play out.) And you're never going to please everyone.

One other consideration is that there will always be people who get triggered by things you'd never realize, often from traumatic childhood experiences. This is a case where it probably doesn't hurt much to make the shift (other than all the work to redo the logo and put it into production). But at what point do you like a tiny minority direct what you do? Sadly, you probably can't spare everyone, no matter how much you'd wish it. Sometimes there are no good choices, just less bad ones.

Was this the best they could do?

Often entrepreneurs think they're being edgy when, instead, a better descriptor might be crude, crass, presumptive, or-;frequently-;boring and self-indulgent. The Lovesac company makes furniture like sectional sofas, foam-filled chairs that look like beanbags, and more.

Holy 1970s, Batman.

Of course the double entendre of in the name was too much to pass up. Think of all the snickering that probably went on inside people's heads. They should have let it out and found another name.

Finally, a good reason for change

Just to be fair, there are cases in which a big logo change is an intelligent thing to do. At the beginning of the year, collaboration software vendor Slack provided an example.

It made a move from a multi-colored pound sign used in hashtags (and apparently called an octothorpe) to an arrangement of eight shapes. But, as the company noted, this wasn't change for its own sake. The original logo was a giant practical pain.

It was also extremely easy to get wrong. It was 11 different colors-;and if placed on any color other than white, or at the wrong angle (instead of the precisely prescribed 18º rotation), or with the colors tweaked wrong, it looked terrible.

Part of the mix of colors was meant to look like transparent overlays, complicating matters. The company had some workarounds for different contexts that weren't "cohesive," which is what you need a logo to be. And what they now have.

Good move.

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