Brand Equity Success Leads to a Logo with No Name

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Posted Oct 05, 2011
Susan Gunelius

You know you've reached the pinnacle of brand equity success when consumers recognize your logo without seeing your brand name. However, that type of recognition and brand equity doesn't happen overnight. It takes time, and Australian telecommunications provider Telstra thinks it has reached that level of success based on its new logo which omits its name entirely.
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telstra logo

Telstra has only been around since 1993 when it transitioned from Telecom Australia. Today, it's the biggest telecommunications company in Australia. This month, the company launched a rebranded identity that loses the "elstra" in "Telstra," as far as the logo goes at least. The new brand identity leverages color to convey the diversity of its products, services, and customers as shown below.

telstra color logos

According to a Telstra press release, the new visual identity is meant to create a stronger emotional connection between consumers and the Telstra brand. To that end, the company launched its new identity after making significant internal changes to customer service, technician appointments, support, plain English pricing explanations, and an online community and Facebook page for online customer service. Furthermore, the transition to the new logo and visual identity will be done over the coming months rather than immediately in order to make it as seamless as possible to consumers.The color aspects of the new Telstra identity will carry over to every aspect of the company from uniforms to vehicles and packaging. Overall, this is a great example of a rebranding that leverages the existing equity of the brand and retains a bit of the familiar identity. At the same time, it adds new elements through a color palette that will enable the brand to more easily expand in consumers' minds.Telstra isn't the first well-known brand to drop its name from its logo. There are many companies that have reached the level of brand equity needed to remove the name from the equation completely. Take a look at the logos shown below to see a small sample of logos that don't need a name to be powerful and immediately elicit emotional connections and feelings related to the brand's promise.

logos without names

Now, think of all the other logos that could easily exist without names attached to them. For example, does the AT&T globe need to have the AT&T name beneath or beside it to be recognizable and evoke emotions and expectations? Nope. When I worked at AT&T, it was absolutely a violation of brand identity guidelines to display the logo anywhere without the AT&T name in a very specific placement. I'm not sure if that's still a part of AT&T's brand identity guidelines, but it's definitely a rule that could easily be nixed without hurting the logo. People would still know what company was behind that logo and what the products and services under the AT&T brand umbrella deliver.Of course, some companies have more success dropping their names from their logos than others. Earlier this year, Starbucks updated its logo by dropping its name (see the current logo in the image of logos without names above). At the time, loyal Starbucks consumers were not happy. This is a company who underestimated its customers' emotional connections to all parts of the Starbucks brand experience -- including the logo. However, consumers' reactions to the logo change led to widespread online buzz and new heights of consumer engagement. This is a brand that is truly owned by consumers. And isn't that yet another mark of brand success and a primary indicator of positive brand equity?Brand equity is a powerful thing as these logos with no names demonstrate. It's every brand manager's dream to have a brand that is so recognizable and understood that a simple symbol is all that's needed to tell its entire story. However, brand equity stories aren't always good. It's also possible to have negative brand equity.In my upcoming articles here on AYTM, I'll be discussing brand equity in greater detail -- what is it, how to build it, and how to measure it. Stay tuned!
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