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The Truth About the New Google Logo

On September 1, 2015, Google rolled out its new logo.  It was the biggest change to their logo in 15 years.  The response was ... underwhelming.  The New Yorker released an article explaining Why You Hate Google's New Logo and Fortune released an article explaining why a meh response is actually good.  Many designers have admitted that it is cleaner and more modern (which is not necessarily good) but still question the value of keeping it multi-colored.  I have stayed out of it for a little while, but only long enough to gather my thoughts.  I have for you now the real reason why you hate Google's new logo and the real reason a meh response is actually good!

The Real Reason We "Hate" It

I won't keep you in suspense.  The real reason for the lackluster response and the positives thereof is that it doesn't matter.

I had an epiphany today.  In one sense, it is true to say that this is the biggest change to the Google logo over the past 15 years, but in another since this is the smallest change to the Google logo over the past 15 months!  For most companies (at least up until now) a logo has been like a brick—a corner stone, even.  The logo has been the solid unmovable object that acts as the foundation for your brand.

Google has completely rejected that analogy for their logo.  They have made their logo a spring.  It is flexible, malleable and even removable (to a point).  It does not act as the unyielding cornerstone but as the vaguely familiar actor we can't quite place.  It is ... "Oh, I've got it; he's from that website!  I knew I recognized him."

We all know it's a big deal to make a big change to your logo, so when we saw that this was something truly new, our expectations soared.  Then we realized this honestly wasn't a big deal and so our experience just sort of skipped along.  The disparity made us feel "meh" and we "hated" that feeling.  Not knowing where to put the blame, we took it out on the poor logo we honestly didn't mind.  The real reason is that it doesn't matter, and we didn't care ... even though we really wanted to care.

The Real Reason a "Meh" Response Is Good

Normally you don't want your clients to have a disappointing experience with your brand, but it really is OK this time.  It honestly may even be good.  Forbes got that much right, but it's not because that's as good as can be expected in "today’s combative and critical social media climate."  The reason that an underwhelming response is good is because it was underwhelming for all the right reasons.

I'm a sucker for "good" marketing.  (That's why I refuse to shop at Old Navy; I hate their marketing.)  I have been known to shop at a location or purchase a brand solely because I like their marketing.  If they've produced an ad that resonates with me, they probably produce products that resonate with me.  The inverse is also true, Old Navy.

Once I give your product or service a shot, however, I need more than a good ad to convert me into a loyal customer.  My brand loyalty runs only as deep as the logo, that's some pretty bad news.  If however, I have become loyal to a brand regardless of the logo, the advertisements or the marketing campaniles that's very good news.  This is the news that the 2015 Google logo response gives us.  People weren't thrilled but honestly didn't care; they are going to keep using Google anyway.  Why?  It's not because they like or dislike the logo.  It's because they like the brand it self (which is much more than the logo).  They like the experience of using the product.  They like the results it produces.  That is very good news.