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  Logo change qualifies as rebrand

Brand Culture Talk – Logo and Brand are not the Same Thing


I understand the premise that 'a logo is not a brand' but this idea is only useful as a guiding principle for handling brands. The idea serves to remind organisations that cosmetic changes do little to transform those organisations.

It's not that a logo is not a brand. A logo is a brand but the point of the premise is to reveal the notion that if the brand is all about the logo then there is not much to the brand.

Most people who engage brands care little for the marks of the brand until aspects of that brand become important to them in rich and meaningful ways. This is usually the case when a brand meets many of the requirements necessary to intervene in a particular activity. All that's really under scrutiny in most discussions about brands and branding is why, and the degree to which, people care about those brands. And then, how the marks of the brand, including the 'logo', reflect the experience on offer.

Tony Spaeth's use of the term 'rebrand' to discuss the development in the Starbucks brand identity is no grave error. The term 'brand' is very broad and hugely forgiving. Evolution, refinement or complete brand identity overall, whatever the sub-category, each type of brand identity change can be referred to as a rebrand without too much of a problem. And, by my argument if an organisation changes their logo then they are rebranding. However, it should be clear by now that if all that changes is the logo then the rebrand is nothing more than a vanity exercise and probably a wasted effort.

There is an overt strategic purpose behind Starbuck's brand identity change; this should be clear from Howard Schultz's presentation. Starbucks is not just changing the logo, it's repurposing its brand identity to meet the challenges of the upgraded brand strategy.


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