Last Thursday, eBay revealed its new logo. Like every redesign in branding history, it’s generated lots of feedback, with reactions from everyone from marketers and creative designers to users and non-users. Almost all of the comments have focused on the physical redesign – whether it looks more generic, has diluted its brand personality etc.
However like most creative aspects of a brand there are in fact two set of questions to think about: yes, the executional questions, but before that come the equally important strategic ones.
The public focus on the execution made me think further on the strategic issues of eBay’s redesign of its identity – and in particular, the timings of this. So without wanting to add to the design commentary, let me say that I think that on a strategic level, the timing is about right.
From my perspective, companies should consider refreshing their brand’s visual identity and/or logo when one of the following is happening:
- When the brand visual identity starts looking outdated and not in line with current context
- When it no longer fully represents what the company does or the brand stands for
It’s important that you avoid a disconnect between who you are, what you do, and what you look like. This may be because your business has taken a new direction or has a new focus. You may have added different products or services, or developed new brand extensions.
- When the company or brand wants to reach new audiences
- And of course you may need to do this at times of merger and acquisition
What companies should not do is to change or refresh their logo or visual identity just for the sake of it. There should be a strategic business purpose behind it.
Changing a company’s visual brand identity has its risks. Not only can it affect brand familiarity or recognition, but it can also affect consumers’ esteem for the brand – and consequently the overall stature of the brand. My colleague Kamil Michlewski gave some examples recently of times when new logos for certain brands have not been well received.
In the case of eBay, the company has moved on considerably since its launch 17 years ago. It’s no longer simply an auction site for mostly used things. Today, almost two-thirds of the goods it trades are sold and bought new and at a fixed ‘Buy it now’ price. So it absolutely makes sense that the company now wants to reflect this great evolution with a refreshed visual identity.
Here at the Value Engineers we have helped many big and small companies to revitalise, relaunch or refresh their brands. So we know strategically when it’s right for companies to do so – and what it takes to build and nourish successful brands over time. If you feel the time is right to do something with your brand, then do get in touch.