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Topic: Branding

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Floating Multiple Logos Within The Organization

Posted by Anonymous on 250 Points

We are a large size MNC with presence in over 120 countries. In our country itself we have more than 12 offices in different cities. Naturally, employees at these different locations have formed a lot of associations and committees within organization.

Our concern is that most of these want to have their own logo - representing their geographic location or function or an event/ceremony they are organizing/hosting or campaigns they are running and so on. A logo certainly gives people a sense of purpose and motivates them. It also brings people from the same committee/association closer. However, I'm afraid they will lose the bigger picture - sense of belonging for the organization. Also, it will dilute the brand image if used for external communication (in campaign communications, invitations, etc.).

I want to know if:
-> Multiple logos could erode or harm the brand identity in anyway.
-> Is it OK we let people design their own logos (in accordance with the brand guidelines) for internal communication?
-> Is it OK if external communications go with their logo along with the brand logo?
-> What are the pros and cons involved here?
-> Are we worrying unnecessarily?

I would request all the brand gurus to share your thoughts on this. Anyone with strong views on association/committee unity and motivational factors associated is also welcome to share their thoughts here. Please feel free to give your recommendations.

  • Posted by Gail@PUBLISIDE on Member
    If your organization cares about consistent identification, only one logo should be used regardless of what country or city branches are located.

    That said, the main logo should be recognizable and respectful of all nations and cultures, while identifying your organization.
  • Posted on Author
    Absolutely second your thoughts Gail, consistent identification is very important. However, would you consider allowing multiple logos if employees stick to using it for internal communication? Like say, for their internal publications, awards ceremonies, fairs, campaigns etc.?
  • Posted on Member
    I would agree with Gail on the one identity across for groups / associations.

    For local recognition, could you add a country / city next to the logo?

    The same logo across regions would help internal people travelling / relocating continue identifying with the internal / cultural activities of your organization

  • Posted by Moriarty on Member
    Keeping a consistency in the logos is important.

    However, you can keep the logo the same and you could allow for a different background color and a national name underneath. You could keep certain colors for your European subsidiaries and a different one for Asia, and so on.

    This keeps the general impact the same whilst allowing a local flavor.

  • Posted on Author
    Thanks Mariarty, you seem to be supporting the idea of multiple logos for geographical divide. I absolutely take your point for maintaining consistency. However, it's not just geographical dimension. Do you feel a separate logo for say, a CSR initiative or a yearly felicitation event is justified?
    Also, why you feel it is fine to float multiple logos?
    Do let me know your thoughts.
  • Posted on Author
    Thank you Ranjan for your opinion.

    Can I assume you suggest that for regional divide you need to have separate logos so as to identify with local culture, other than that you will not support different logos for different causes or functional units? Quite frankly, I also come from same school of thoughts. I'll be glad to know your arguments for the same.
  • Posted by Moriarty on Member
    My thoughts were about having a logo that is in all cases clear and direct - only with subtle color changes for each country or region. I would not go further myself in diluting it.

    The essence of a logo is that you recognize its form, the colors are in many instances secondary to this, especially the background ones.

    Hope this clarifies things,

  • Posted on Author
    Hi all, the question is not how. My question is why or why not a separate logo for a specific group within the organization. How we can customize logo is a discussion we could have when we are convinced we should have separate logos for different groups. I'll appreciate your views on why or why not?
  • Posted by Moriarty on Member
    Why have one logo? Simple. You only have one that you need to deal with for a start. When people visit from other countries - even within your organization - they will see a different logo. They won't understand why it should be different.

    Give them a break!

    My two pennies' worth.

  • Posted by peg on Member
    A multi-national corporation by its very definition needs to be recognizable on a global basis, otherwise it is a collection of brands that don't express an organizational unity.

    Other big corporations have solved this problem this way:

    In any advertising or initiative that speaks for the entire organization, there is one brand name with one brand look. Example:

    Regionally or nationally, the brand may have contacts, contracts, regulations or issues that require a more local brand, in which case there is an add-on to the logo. However, the colors, graphic expression and look are the same. Example:
    MEGACORP | Malaysia

    Departments, initiatives or internal campaigns have titles and sometimes symbols or badges, but these do not replace the brand name or the brand's graphic logo. These always come beneath the umbrella of the logo, and they do not share the brand graphics or look -- although there may be guidelines about what look they do exhibit. Examples:
    MEGACORP | Malaysia
    Southeast TechnoTalk Initiative
    Operation Unity

    The MEGACORP brand is always paramount. Otherwise, the world's customers (whether businesses or consumers) will not see the company as a unified whole -- and they'll be right.

  • Posted by Gary Bloomer on Member
    -> Multiple logos could erode or harm the brand identity in anyway.

    There's no "could" here. YES THEY WILL. Avoid this at all costs.

    -> Is it OK we let people design their own logos (in accordance with the brand guidelines) for internal communication?

    NEVER. One logo, one design, one designer, one brand manager. All this tinkering with logos by people who may have ZERO design experience is a HUGE mistake. Would a drug company allow its staff to mix different ingredients into its drugs? Would a bakery allow different recipes and ingredients in its cakes and pies? No. No. NO!

    -> Is it OK if external communications go with their logo along with the brand logo?

    Again, no.

    -> What are the pros and cons involved here?

    PROS: of people designing their own logos will-nilly and hither and yon? None.

    -> Are we worrying unnecessarily?

    Do you really have to ask?

  • Posted on Author
    @Gary Bloomer Hey Gary, really like the clarity of your thoughts. I would like you to shed some more light on why they shouldn't be allowed to make a logo for internal audience communication - say a logo for a workmen newsletter.. which will not go out to any of our customers.. somehow a personalized logo makes them happy and unites them in some way. I don't see any harm there.. still awaiting your opinion on this one.
  • Posted by Gary Bloomer on Accepted
    Allowing staff to create their own logo dilutes the main company logo. The staff are paid to perform specific roles. If these roles include professional design, then fine BUT, any tweaking of the main logo dilutes the whole. Internal or not, an audience is an audience and it needs to be given one set of visuals.
  • Posted by mgoodman on Accepted
    I'm with Gary, but for a different reason. The reason people should not be allowed to tamper with the logo is that it suggests to them that the logo doesn't stand for something specific and meaningful. How important can a logo be if there are a dozen variations?

    There is a real teaching opportunity here. People need to understand that their company is proud of its heritage and its positioning in the world. And the logo is a symbol of that positioning. When you mess with the logo, you're messing with the most valuable asset the company has -- or at least the symbol of that asset.

    Once people start modifying the logo, it's not a big stretch to modify core values, policies, standards, etc.

    I understand that this is a very strict view, but if you don't start there, you're communicating that the logo doesn't really mean that much. Peg's approach would let each group have a clear identity without tampering with the logo. Maybe that's the way to go. But no messing with the logo itself, or even the colors.
  • Posted by Moriarty on Member
    Just for clarification: Mr. Goodman my suggestion about colours was that the decision about background colours would be made centrally, not locally. The different colours would apply to countries or groups of countries.

    The logo itself would be quite clear and distinct internationally.

  • Posted by mgoodman on Moderator
    Most of the logos with which I'm familiar have distinctive background colors, so I would consider that background color part of the logo. Of course, when the background is NOT part of the logo, then it can be whatever color someone wants.

    Can you imagine Coca Cola with a yellow background color? Or Facebook on orange? Those just wouldn't work. But a Nike swoosh could probably go on any background color.

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