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2014 Logo Hits and Fails; How Important is a Logo to Your Business?

Brand Logo Identity

Sensei introduced a brand and logo refresh this week to usher in a new era of service based on its new Customer Insight Analysis (CIA) platform.  The goal in redesigning our logo was to provide a visual aid that better represented the business’s unique differentiator in a crowded marketplace. The response has been overwhelmingly positive yet it begs the question: What effect will this change have on our business’s bottom line in 2015?

That question encouraged me to look back at businesses that changed their logos in 2014 and what effect it had. Do logos actually have a significant effect on customer acquisition or customer development? In fact, is a logo simply a “nice to have” element of the brand or a critical element in driving or sustaining business?

Here’s a few of the businesses that changed their logos with mixed reviews in 2014.


One of the most talked about logo changes of the year was Airbnb, the popular accommodation marketplace. The change was met with overwhelming negativity and ridicule.

 Airbnb logo

The new logo was intended to represent “a sense of belonging and connectivity” among community members, yet most people could not get past the sexual innuendo the logo seems to elicit. Putting the “Did they or did they not purposely choose a salacious symbol?” argument aside, one of the key aspects of the change was to add an icon to the wordmark (which was also updated) in hopes that it would become an easily recognizable symbol. The question is: What impact will the logo have on the business, which was already experiencing positive growth, unprecedented media attention, an estimated worth of $13 billion, and is heading for an IPO?


Where Airbnb sought to create an iconic logo, The Hershey Company already had one. The logo was so iconic in fact that many called the change “un-American.”

 Hersheys Logo

The logo change went far beyond a design change; the company hid a corporate name change in the re-launch by removing the ‘S from the name. What effect, if any, will this logo change have on the business when in reality most will continue to refer to it as “Hershey’s?”


Foursquare finally understood what marketers were saying for years: The check-in app would only hold the public’s attention for only so long and there’s no way it could compete with Facebook when it too added a check-in functionality.

 Foursquare logo

The change, which included a flag-like pin icon, successfully represents the business’s shift from check-in app to local business reviews and suggestion app. However, will the new icon/logo have any effect on its success in tackling Yelp! and other existing businesses in this space?

Southwest Airlines

Unlike Foursquare, Southwest’s logo change seems to be contrary to the business’s operations.

Southwest logo

Southwest built its success on low fares, not superior service. The new logo, with a heart at the center of traditional flight wings, is intended to portray a brand “with heart” that puts customer experience first. Will this new icon replace less service for lower costs with a warm a fuzzy feeling in the minds of customers?


While we’re at it, , let’s throw Sensei Marketing’s logo change into the mix.

Sensei Logo Comparison

The new icon was crafted to merge the inner Yin-Yang symbol that represents the interdependent customer acquisition and customer development disciplines of business growth, with the outer circle that represents the stages of the customer lifecycle that interface with both spheres. It certainly represents the core services that Sensei Marketing offers; however will the change inspire a change in our business?

Sensei Debates

Can a logo change, augment or reverse the fortunes of an existing business?


Sam Fiorella
Feed Your Community, Not Your Ego



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