(UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.) – When companies change their logo, it is most likely to upset customers that are most loyal to the brand, a study conducted at Penn State found. Researchers took a look at how consumers reacted to logo redesigns, and found that poor reaction to a change can lead to bad numbers for a business.
The study, called Do Logo Redesigns Help or Hurt Your Brand? The Role of Brand Commitment, surveyed 632 undergraduate students and had them look at a change in two famous logos on the market—Adidas and New Balance. Researchers had a professional graphic designer create two new logos for those companies, and found that those respondents who were highly loyal to the brand before the change did not like the new logos. However, individuals who were not originally loyal to the brand were receptive to the new designs.
The main finding of the study was that customers feel personal connections to brands, and that when logos change, they feel a sense of betrayal. Take for example, Gap. The company changed its iconic logo in October 2010, only to be bombarded with ridicule on Facebook and Twitter. Just days later, Gap reverted to the original logo.
"Most companies presume that their most precious customers -- those having strong brand commitment -- will be more accommodating to changes," the study reads. "Our results show this is likely a mistaken assumption -- one that can alienate the core, the most committed of a brand's customers."
The best way to tackle change, the researchers found, is to ask the most loyal customers first for input. If they feel like they have an inside track to what’s happening, they will be more likely to respond positively when a change does occur.
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