It was March 1, 2010, when Caribou Coffee, the second largest coffee chain in the U.S., introduced their new logo. Yet more than a year later, all of the Caribou’s around me still have the old logo on their main signs. The cups, printed materials and door signage have all changed, but the biggest display of each store is still stuck with the old logo. Sure, the logo didn’t undergo a huge change; basically they just smoothed out the old logo to make a new one. But, still, it seems like by now they should be changed.
As churches, we’re not strangers to rolling out new logos. Some of us make it a biennial tradition. But this Caribou identity crisis gets me thinking about why it’s important to change everything all at once when you launch a new logo.
- If it’s not important enough to update your biggest, most identifiable sign, why make the change at all? Logos are a graphical expression of your organizations personality. Caribou said it made the change to better express who they are to their customers. If it really is important to revamp the way you express yourself, do it all at once.
- Mixed logos show you have a split personality. Caribou’s change was subtle. But when an organization makes a more dramatic logo change, keeping the old one around on certain things shows you don’t really know who you are. Plus, I think there can be confusion for people when they see to different identities for a business or organization.
- Budget for change. It’s expensive to change logos. So much has to be updated. Signs, stationary, name badges, promotional materials, website graphics, printed stuff, etc. All of it needs to change at the same time so plan accordingly and ask if it’s really worth the change. Cost shouldn’t be a deterrent if the logo needs to change to better reflect your identity. But if you’re doing it on a whim the cost may be too much of a burden.
- Be patient. It’s exciting when you finally land on a new logo. You want to show it off. But phasing it in doesn’t work well. Wait until you have everything ready with the logo change. Launch it all at once. Not only will everything look consistent, but it will give a big splash, too. You can use the momentum of the logo change to recast your churches vision or promote some sort of event.
- Explain the change to staff members, key volunteers and the congregation at large. Not everyone has the same understanding of why branding and communications strategies are important. Explain why there’s a new logo and why it’s more than just a graphical change. The more buy in you have from people, the better the transition will go.
Overall, the big point I’m trying to make is this: Be intentional when you’re changing a logo. Have a reason for doing it and have a plan for actually implementing the change. If you’re not being intentional, chances are other people won’t take the change seriously either.