Is it a good idea to do it?

A logo is the easiest way to identify a brand. Some of the biggest companies in the world have logos that are easily identified. Nike has the swoosh, Apple has the bitten apple, and Volkswagen has the round logo with a ‘V’ sitting on top of a ‘W’ inside of it. The German automaker, though, is looking to update its iconic logo, the first time it’s doing so since 2012 when it made the lettering more silvery and three-dimensional.

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This update could be the most significant one since the current version first appeared in 1945.

There are no details yet on what the updated logo is going to look like, but judging by comments made by Volkswagen chief marketing officer Jochen Sengpiehl to Bloomberg, this update could be the most significant one since the current version first appeared in 1945.

In his words, Sengpiehl said that the logo needs to be updated, not only because of the Dieselgate scandal but also because it has lost some of its emotional appeal by being “too German.” So, as Volkswagen prepares for a future that will be dominated by electric cars, it wants a logo that will be able to embrace that future. “The big challenge is: How do we get people into the electric world,” Sengpiehl said. “We want people to have fun with us. We need to get more colorful.”

Sengpiehl left little room for interpretation there. He said that the VW logo needs to be more “colorful.” It’s unclear how the automaker plans to do that, but it already sounds like a bad idea. The VW logo may need to be updated, but making it more colorful isn’t the way to do it. As sincere as the company’s intentions are, there’s no turning back from dressing up an iconic logo with garish colors. It has the makings of an ill-timed idea akin to Coca-Cola introducing the “New Coke” formula that flamed out due to the overwhelming negative — and hostile — reactions towards it.

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It wants to re-establish its identity and become a more fun and approachable brand.

The temptation is there to give the logo a more vibrant look. I understand why Volkswagen would even reach for that fruit. It wants to re-establish its identity and become a more fun and approachable brand. A more colorful logo could do that, but it’s also running the risk of turning into a completely different brand, one that could end up being detached from its long and storied history. That’s the kind of power a logo has, especially one as iconic as the current VW logo.

Who knows, maybe that’s what Volkswagen wants to do anyway. On top of updating the logo, it’s also inviting communications and advertising agencies to pitch for its creative business in the coming months. The automaker even has plans to set up marketing hubs in main regions that can tailor messages and react more quickly to changing trends in those specific regions.

There’s no stopping VW from being more pro-active in spreading a more fun and approachable brand identity. I’m just not sure that updating the logo and making it “more colorful” is the way to do it. That’s low-hanging fruit that Volkswagen should avoid reaching for.

References

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Source: Automotive News

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