Google, one of the world’s most powerful brands, launched its new logo to the world this week framing it as the biggest redesign since 1999 and a turning point in the company’s history. The new logo has gone a touch 70’s - with a simple sans serif face and toned down colours - but, it is meant to reflect the way people interact with Google products.
As the new Google logo was rolled out, it was interesting that the company did not use the words ‘brand’ or ‘corporate identity’ to describe the logo redesign.
This reveals an oft-forgotten differentiation between a logo and a company’s ‘brand’ or ‘corporate identity’. In this case, although Google’s logo has evolved, its brand and corporate identity remains the same.
A logo is a motif, a physical design. A corporate identity is much more. According to the design legend, Wally Olins, “Corporate personality is the soul, the persona, the spirit, the culture of the organisations manifested in some way. The corporate personality is not necessarily something tangible that you can see, feel or touch”.
So how can we define corporate identity? Birkigt and Stadler defined it as a combination of:
• Symbols – company names, logos, colours, icons, uniforms, livery, HQ; all the images used to present your business, even down to the style and content of photography used
• Communication – how messages are communicated both verbally by your people and visually through various communication channels
• Behaviour – what your organisation does and how it does it. Perceptions will be formed of your values relating to how you undertake your business
These factors work together to create and project brand promise, or, in other words, what customers, employees and other stakeholders expect to get in return for investing their time.
In evolving its logo, Google has created a fresh new symbol that complements and amplifies all other aspects of its corporate identity.
In a fast changing world, making sure the brand you are presenting is right to support your business strategy is critical, and is an ongoing and active task. Companies that think a logo is their brand are missing a huge opportunity.
Finally, spare a thought for Kenjiro Sano, whose logo for the Tokyo Olympics Games 2020 was scrapped after allegations that it was plagiarised. Hopefully, this won’t affect the brand too much.
Mike Conway is a director at Camargue