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Variations on a Theme

Friday, January 21st, 2011

The Google logo. I look forward to seeing what Google will cook up on Mother’s Day, Halloween, Martin Luther King Day, or even better, what they’ll teach me on obscure days like the anniversary of Dr. Suess’ birth (pictured).

There was a time, and some would still argue same, when playing with branding like this was a cardinal sin. “You don’t want to confuse the customers!” It was thought to dilute the message or worse.

Luckily today, most brands have finally realized that their consumers are smart, and are capable of ingesting, interpreting, understanding and identifying with what I call branding’s version of variations on a theme. In fact, by Google digging into culture,history, science (ie: life) and playing with its logo, they’ve actually demonstrated and enhanced the brand. Think about it. What do you do on Google? Search for stuff. If you’re looking for French Post-Impressionist painter, Paul Cezanne’s birthday (pictured) or other item, you can find it by typing it right into that little bar on Google.

Making a connection with culture and at the same time elevating your brand’s mission gives people something to talk about, take away and remember.

MailChimp, my preference in email marketing, has a lovable (at least to me) chimpanzee as their mascot of choice. While they don’t go as far as Google with their manipulation of the logo, they do have fun putting their monkey in different situations or styles that represent something that resonates with them as a company, and hopefully with their audience, too. Pictured is the one they did in tribute to A.A. Milne, the English author best known for Winnie-the-Pooh. By playing with their brand’s logo, they not only keep it fresh, but communicate the whimsy, the levity of the brand itself.

I encourage you to find out how you can use cultural references, whether historical, current or offbeat to better connect with your audience. BUT — yes, there’s a but — I implore you to know who you are and what your brand stands for first. The reason MailChimp and Google do this well is because they worked long and hard to both know what they wanted to portray as a brand, as well as, who the audience they wanted to reach were/are. Have fun, but have a reason, or you will in the end, confuse your customers and dilute your message.

What are the brands you see having fun with their image?

Tags: branding, Design, image, Logo
Posted in Advertising, Advice, brand, google, marketing | 4 Comments »

Democrats Go Social

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

Democrats: Change that Matters

Democrats: The New Logo 2010

The Democratic National Convention recently revealed their new logo – a D in a circle – to make the branding feel more open, more social and more every-man. I actually really like the logo a lot, even though the logo itself has been bashed by creatives and media alike. Listen to Bill Maher and Jon Hamm’s take on it here. My only problem with it is that they completely did away with the red star, and unless you see the logo as a whole (and not just the “D”), there really isn’t any reference to the USA flag colors. I’m not entirely sure why they decided to go with a turquoise blue for the “D” instead of the traditional navy blue from the flag. It is a far departure from the DNC’s logo even two years ago.

I really like the website redesign on Democrats.org. It is functional and easy to navigate. It will be interesting to see how the voters respond to the new branding and site redesign. There are obviously kinks that they need to work on, but overall it is much cleaner than it was before. If you want to read more about why the DNC redesigned their logo and website, check out the Ad Age article here.

What do you think? Do you love or hate the new branding and site redesign?

Tags: Democrats, Design, Logo, Politics, Republicans, Websites
Posted in Advertising, marketing, social media, technology | 3 Comments »