Logitech’s logo change: image wrapper branding or more?

I read this week's news of Logitech's logo change with scepticism. I've posted several times about companies changing their logos when nothing else changes, what I call "image wrapper" branding. The maker of mouses, keyboards and speakers is changing its logo to be more geometrical and colourful. In addition, over time more and more products will use the shorter Logi name.

On reading more about the company's strategy, however, I think there may be a bit more to this change of brand identity that just a change of image wrapper.

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1. Focus on substance, not spin

First of all, the company's CEO seems to be a man who believes in substance, not spin. Former P&Ger Bracken Darrell said, in an interview with Marketing, "The problem with marketing is taking a slice of it, exaggerating the comms part so that it became unauthentic. It was a bunch of bullsh*t. I didn’t want to talk about marketing, just product and experience. I’d say take marketing, throw it in the trash bin and replace it with design."

Well said Bracken. His words reminds me of the first post I wrote on this blog almost nine years ago, when I said: "This new blog is part of a bigger brandgym campaign for building brands on substance, not spin. Brands should focus more on the "sausage" of branding, relevant product features and benefits, and rely less on the "sizzle" of emotional values and communication."

But hang on a minute. If Logitech is all about the sausage, then what's the story with the logo change, including an accompanying promo video?

2. Change the business first, then the logo

Logitech's have done things in the right sequence, rejuvenating their product range first and only now updating the logo as a visible symbol of the change that is well underway. As Darell says, "The brand reinvention is just part of the company reinvention." My only quibble here is his use of "brand" what he should say is "logo" or brand identity. 

Logitech has been busy re-inventing its core business. For many years the company rode the wave of growing PC sales that helped build sales of two core products: computer mouses and keyboards. However, over the last few years PC sales have started to decline owing the explosive growth in tablets and smartphones, with tablet sales set to outstrip PC sales soon (see below). 

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Under Darrell’s leadership, Logitech has begun producing tablet accessories (like detachable keyboards), mobile speakers and also special mouses and other accessories for gaming. One clever product they make is a keyboard that works with a PC, tablet and mouse. This rejuvenation has been difficult, with growth in the newer products not quite replacing the decline in the old core products. Fiscal 2015 sales of $2.11 billion were down 1% versus year ago, although up 2% in constant currency, according to this report. Encouragingly, sales in the newer focus categories were up 6% in constant currency. 

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3. Get the whole mix working

The one trick I think Logitech are missing is not aligning the whole mix in line with the new growth strategy and focus on peripherals for mobile devices. When I visited the company website I was surprised to see that the homepage is promoting front and centre a good old fashioned PC with its mouse and keyboard. Strange. Perhaps this will change when the "re-brand" (i.e. new logo) is fully launched?

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In conclusion, I love Bracken Darrell's focus on the sausage of product design and experience, and the way he has changed the business before changing the logo. Time will tell if the rejuvenation of the core has been fully successful.