January 15, 2007
Brand Names as Logos: Apple, Cross, Kiss and Swoosh
Michael Simon on Spymac has a tantalizing post up that posits we are about to see a brand naming shift from “i” to “” as in iPhone, Life, Work, Chat, and DVD. Even iPod will go to iPod. The post picks up on the fact that Apple has dropped “Computer” from its company name, “presumably to put more attention on its music and mobile initiatives.”
Simon may or may not be correct but one thing is certain: that the Apple logo already carries a great deal of weight in Apple’s brand architecture, which is becoming confusing to some people. It leads me to think about the challenges involved in taking it a step further and integrating logo development with product naming.
Apple’s products, if they go this route, will most likely be referred to in the press is “Apple ____” as in “Apple Life, Apple DVD.” This draws attention to the hugely powerful Apple brand name. But the visual branding of these product names will be Life and DVD.
Think the Red Cross, whose brand name is simply its logo. The recent decision to include a Red Crystal symbol for Israel’s admission to the Red Cross, and the ensuing bitter debate, illustrates just how deeply and irrevocably the logo-brand association is to this very well known name. In this case, Israel wanted a Red Star of David to offset the obviously Christian “cross” of “Red Cross,” a symbol taken from the Swiss flag which in turns takes it origins from the crucifix.
Nike and Apple have cerainly capitalized on the awareness of their respective logos by collectively taking the logo-branding approach even further with the Nike + iPod product (Nike-designed workout software for an iPod). The Nike swoosh and the Apple logo combine to tell you exactly what you're getting.
Another piece of news shows how counting on people to recognize a symbol may carry risks. Yesterday the post office announced a “love stamp” that features the ubiquitous Hershey Kiss with the word “Love” over it. The CEO of Hershey’s stated that “The Hershey®’s Kisses® brand is an enduring symbol of love, affection and sharing, recognized world over for its distinct shape, classic silver foil and unmistakable plume."
Hershey's also says that the With Love and Kisses stamp reinforces the passion and emotional connection consumers have with the iconic Hershey’s Kisses Brand. I hope people around the world are able to recognize the image on that stamp...if you send a Valentine to a person unfamiliar with the candy, it will look like you are sending them an image of Mount Blanc with a “kisses” flag on top, which might not be a good thing.
Apple, Hershey's and Nike make the (probably correct) assumption that we are all so familiar with their products and their logos that we will immediately “get it” when we see them. Makes marketing sense, I think.
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