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Of last year’s crop of new corporate logos and identities, the most successful go on the
Of last year’s crop of new corporate logos and identities, the most successful go on the
Of last year’s crop of new corporate logos and identities, the most successful go on the
Of last year’s crop of new corporate logos and identities, the most successful go on the
Of last year’s crop of new corporate logos and identities, the most successful go on the
Of last year’s crop of new corporate logos and identities, the most successful go on the
Of last year’s crop of new corporate logos and identities, the most successful go on the
Of last year’s crop of new corporate logos and identities, the most successful go on the
Of last year’s crop of new corporate logos and identities, the most successful go on the
Of last year’s crop of new corporate logos and identities, the most successful go on the
Of last year’s crop of new corporate logos and identities, the most successful go on the
Of last year’s crop of new corporate logos and identities, the most successful go on the
Of last year’s crop of new corporate logos and identities, the most successful go on the
Of last year’s crop of new corporate logos and identities, the most successful go on the
Of last year’s crop of new corporate logos and identities, the most successful go on the

Of last year’s crop of new corporate logos and identities, the most successful go on the offensive.

Of last year’s crop of new corporate logos and identities, the most successful go on the
Of last year’s crop of new corporate logos and identities, the most successful go on the

F irst honors go to Cargill CEO Wa r re n

S ta l ey, who is determined to turn his

giant food-commodities comp a ny

($50 billion in revenue, with 90,000

e mp l oyees in 57 countries) into nothing less

than the global leader in nourishing people. That calls for an enormous change of employee (and executive) behavior—a change of corpo-

r a te culture. “We are undertaking a fundamen- tal change in our approach to doing business,” s ays Sta l ey. “Our effo rts to d ay center on cre a t- ing distinctive value for our custo m e r s — f ro m helping farm customers market their pro d u c t s to helping manage food customers’ supply- chain logistics and risks. We are more custom e r - focused, performance-oriented, and innovative

TONY SPAETH, a Rye, N.Y.-based corporate identity consultant, reports here each year on noteworthy identity programs. Additional reviews and reflections can be seen at www.identityworks.com.

remains the hands-down comp u te r- c a te g o ry winner for “friendly.”

remains the hands-down comp u te r-

c a te g o ry winner for “friendly.” But Ga t eway has convinced me

that

as

p u rchase con- s i d e r a t i o n , “ f r i e n d ly ” loses out to tech n o l o g y and design l e a d e r s h i p ,

a driver of

c o w

in all of our business re l a t i o n s h i p s . ” Need to ch a n ge the culture ? C h a n ge the logo! (The old “oil d rop” symbol was a classic, though, and I will miss it). A Minneapolis graphic-design firm, Fr a n ke + Fi o rella, pro- vided a brilliant solution, c o n ve rting half of the old symbol into a leaf, express- ing nutrition. Because th e symbol and new wor dmark are no w a single visual element, it’s easier to maintain the consistency and impact of the corporate brand pres - ence; in practice, the old Cargill symbol and wor dmark tended some- times to wander apart.

L ik e Cargi l l ’ s

Sta l e y, CEO

G e o r g e

F or years, PepsiCo manager s

ta l ked about

among th e m s e lve s their dated, we a k ,

and ugly corporate logo. But

no one acted to ch a n ge it, on

the grounds that the corpo-

r a te logo was of little im- po r tance: “Consumers don’t

eat a PepsiCo” and “World-

wide, th e re are only two signs with ‘PepsiCo’ on the m . ” Still, the logo diminished all c o r p o r a te communications and seemed part i c u l a r ly out of step fo r a ch a mpion of modern art and arch i-

tecture. (A flag-waving red-white-and- blue globe might also send signals un- appreciated outside the United States.) Taking over from Ro ger En- rico, new CEO Steven Rei n - emund saw an opportu - nity to qu i e t ly signal a “new Pe p s i C o , ” modernized but w i th no radi cal ch a n ge. Task ac- c o mplished. Lan- dor Associates de- signed an admirably s i mple presence, one whose five-color globe symbol is intended to evok e di v ersity in general and Pep s i C o ’ s fa m i ly of brands in part i c u l a r.

H ow does an adver tising agen c y handle its own identity cha n ge ? For BBDO, th e re had been ch a n ge since 1928, when th e

no real

Ge o r ge Batten Co. merged with Messrs. B a rton, Durstine, and Osborn, so not su r p r i s i n g l y, “We felt the current BBDO logo was a bit staid and stal e , ” sa ys BBDO Worldwide CEO and chairman Allen Ros e n - shine. “The new design was crea t ed to ref lect our position as a grow i n g , leading crea t i v e commu- nications comp a ny and

to set us apart from our c o mpetition.” In that, at least, he was successful; few logos are vert i c a l l y stac ked (which ge n e r a l ly makes them challenging to ap p l y and, in some applications, forc e s

remains the hands-down comp u te r- c a te g o ry winner for “friendly.”
remains the hands-down comp u te r- c a te g o ry winner for “friendly.”

Harad of Boise Cascade sought to transfo r m and re n ew his c o mp a ny, from a s tatic commodity- l i ke posture to a more dynamic, service-inten s i v e cul- t u re. To emphasize the new image of “Boise,” the company dropped the “Cascade” name. The tree symbol, too , had to go; though appealing, it said “ fo rest products.” Harad pre fers fo r people to think of a th re e - c a te g o ry c o mp a ny, whose de- fining units are the renamed Boise Building Solu- tions, Boise Paper Solu- t i o n s , a n d Boise Off i c e Solutions. The id ent ity firm S i e ge l gale advised and designed a clas- s i c a l ly simple wo rdmark to anch o r this new image .

M y

first reaction to Gateway ’ s

n ew “stylized cow spot” wa s ,

“What can th ey have been

thinking?” Gateway’s 1998 cow- s p o t-

ted box symbol, still fresh and sassy,

remains the hands-down comp u te r- c a te g o ry winner for “friendly.”
remains the hands-down comp u te r- c a te g o ry winner for “friendly.”

w h e re

spots become a lia- bi l i t y . Founder and CEO Ted Waitt sees Gateway as a design innova tor on a par with Apple and Sony. While still cherishing farmland values, he de- cided, “It’s time to ta ke the next ste p , ” w h i ch would re qu i re de-prairie-tizing the Gateway brand. The Gateway logo is cre di ted to

Arnell Group, a New Yo r k- b a s e d

“brand ideation and experience mar- keting comp a ny” that had been en- gaged by Gateway for retail-store and product-design ideas. The symbol is meant to be a “hipper” cow spot, “branded with a comp u ter ‘sta n d- by’ symbol, laid on its side to form an iconic ‘g.’” While

the strategy is bold,

remains the hands-down comp u te r- c a te g o ry winner for “friendly.”
remains the hands-down comp u te r- c a te g o ry winner for “friendly.”
remains the hands-down comp u te r- c a te g o ry winner for “friendly.”
remains the hands-down comp u te r- c a te g o ry winner for “friendly.”

ab-

this design exe c u t i o n

is

somewhat te n ta t i ve .

If cows are out, why ke e p a cow-spot re m i n d e r, however s t r a c te d ?

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Avo i d i n g
Avo i d i n g

A p p a re n t ly

from the school of

“It doesn’t much matter ,” pres i -

dent and CEO James Mul-

va was ready to go with an in te r n a l l y designed Cono- co-Phillips combination, until someone on his b o a rd sugge s ted th a t some pro fe s s i o n a l i nput might be wa r- r a n ted. Consulta n t s Addison (SF) then had o n ly two weeks to de- sign a better solution. T h e re was no time (or as- signment) for second-guessing the name and brand arch i te c t u re. To qu o te hands-on CEO Mulva :

them to be pretty small.)

names make one great name.” But o ften the combination proves to be a placeholder; in due course, t runcation ta kes place, or it

is replaced with a truly new n a m e .

T he second strate g y,

rarely seen, is to cre-

a te something alto-

gether new from pieces of the

heritage names. This is elegantly i l l u s t r a ted by “A rc e l o r,” which is d e r i ved from ARbed, aCEraLia, and usinOR. Luxe m b o u rg’s Arbed, Spain’s Aceralia, and France’s Usinor com-

bined in

2002 to form the wo r l d ’ s

b i g gest steel manufa c t u re r. Chairmen

Joseph Kinsch and Francis Mer we re assisted in naming by the Ben- elux office of nam- ing consulta n t s Nomen. For de- sign, CEO Guy Dollé turned to C o r p o r a te Fa c- to ry, a Pa r i s - based communi- cations age n c y, fo r a somewhat strange h e a rt - l i ke symbol that is meant to evo ke a planeta ry alignment of th ree entities.

S t r a tegy th ree, also qu i te rare, is the adoption of an acquired com- pany’s name by the acquirer. For

decades, American Home Pro d u c t s was the biggest unknown comp a ny in America, and a great fru s t r a t i o n to identity consulta n t s :

William LaPo rte, its l e ge n d a ry leader in the 1950s-70s, and successor John Sta ffo rd f i r m ly denied the re l eva n c e of a corporate

the shoemake r ’ s - ch i l d ren pro b- lem, Rosenshine had the good sense to turn to a design firm, the BBDO subsidiary Nolin Branding & Design in Mon-

t rea l,

for

th i s

bold if ch a l- lenging s o- l u t i o n .

Avo i d i n g A p p a re n t ly from the

S e a ga t e Tech n o l o g y is, and seeks to

remain, the wo r l d leader in hard - d i s k d r i ves, so th e re’s no re p o- sitioning goal; this is an instance of re- f reshing and re n ewing the brand to s u s tain its position. Says CEO Steve Luczo: “Over the past few years, Sea- gat e has undergone significant trans- formation to keep pace with cha n g i n g ma r k et dynamics. Just as our compa n y has evo lved, our brand has evo lve d . The new brand identity will act as a visual signal to all our constituents tha t Se a ga t e has ch a n ged.” Se a ga t e calls its new sea-green sym- bol “The Wave,” but I suspect most of us will see it first as a picture of a disk. This clever double play was designed by identity firm Landor As- s o c i a te s . (Isn’t it in- te re s t i n g h ow o l d, in contrast, the former Sea- ga te logo sud- d e n ly looks?)

Avo i d i n g A p p a re n t ly from the

Turning now to mergers and acqui -

sitions, we find examples this ye a r

of four

possible naming strate g i e s

available to the surviving entity: com- bine the names, chop them up to make a new name, sta rt fresh by creating a name, or adopt the acqu i red name. (The fifth strateg y , do nothing, is illus- tr a t ed by PepsiCo, which acqui r ed and qui e t l y absorbed Quaker Oats in 2001.)

Avo i d i n g A p p a re n t ly from the
Avo i d i n g A p p a re n t ly from the
Avo i d i n g A p p a re n t ly from the

“Because th e re we re so many let- ters in the name, the logo had to h ave a simple, conserva t i ve de- sign. In choosing the colors, we wa n ted to show a comp a ny th a t was financially strong and long- lasting. We also wa n ted a design element in the logo that re p re- s e n ted upwa rd movement and p ro g ress. That element— called the ‘Mark’—re p re-

sents a mark of excellence and symbolizes the com- p a ny’s commitment to continuously reach high- er levels of performance

Avo i d i n g A p p a re n t ly from the
Avo i d i n g A p p a re n t ly from the
Avo i d i n g A p p a re n t ly from the

and innovation.” I must c o n fess, howeve r, that to me it suggests a fly i n g m e m o . The custo m a ry rationale fo r this naming strategy is, “Two good

b r a n d , a n d “A H P,” com- fortable as a self- described (but very hands-on) hold- ing comp a ny, enjoyed th e

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10 percent are virtu a l l y unusable. That’s why you and I read about

10 percent are virtu a l l y unusable. That’s why you and I read about companies named Lucent, Acc e n t u r e, and Dy- n e g y —and now Thrive n t Financial for Luthe r a n s . “We’ r e now a ma-

jor player in th e f i n a n c i a l - s e r v i c e s i n d u s t ry. Secur- ing the rights to a name that we can prot ect from o thers is criti- c a l ly imp o rta n t .

T h r i vent

is a

10 percent are virtu a l l y unusable. That’s why you and I read about

quiet re p u tation of a “widows and orphans” sto ck.

But

as early

as

the mid-

1980s,

the comp a ny’s fo o d

and saucepan businesses we re gone, and AHP wa s becoming a pure-play drug co mp a n y. To his credit, CEO Robert Essner realized that success as a fre e s ta n d i n g pharmaceutical leader wo u l d re qu i re a stro n ger corporate brand. The Wye th a c quisition neatly s o lved his nam- ing pro b l e m . “We th o u g h t about a coined name but de- cided we al- ready have good e quity in a name we already have , ” he said. Landor Associ- ates designed the straight-type word- mark; when a name is as distinctive ve r b a l ly as “Wye th,” th e re is no func- tional need to add graphic distinc- t i veness.

T he fo u rth naming strate g y, to fo rget “equity” and focus on the future by creating a new

name, is especially helpful when th e m e rger partners have been comp e t i- to r s —even comp e t i tors as friendly as we re Aid Association for Luth e r a n s and the Lutheran Bro therhood. The n ew Thrivent Financial for Luth e r a n s is a Fo rt u n e 500 comp a ny, managing $ 5 7.7 billion. A coined name, re ga rdless of its st r a t egic adva n ta ges, was not manage- ment’s first choice. As president and CEO Bruce Nicholson admits, “I’ve long won d e r ed why all the new com- panies I read about seem to have made-up names. Now I know why, fi r s t hand! In the difficult and inten s i v e

p rocess of finding a new name fo r our merged organization, we fo u n d an outstanding one—but only afte r we discovered that more than 90 per- cent of the nouns in the English lan- gu a g e are already tak en, and the othe r

10 percent are virtu a l l y unusable. That’s why you and I read about

1984. Gloating a bit, chief marketing o fficer Brian Fuge re said, “Let’s face it—the world is tired of

coined, invented, and whim-

sical corporate names.” His CEO Doug McCracke n piled on: “While our com-

p e t i tors are dista n c i n g themselves from their con-

sulting roots, we are re a f- firming our commitment to the profession.” As of this writ- ing, the Braxton logo (designed by Interbrand) has not yet been reve a l e d .

On the heels of the Braxton an- nouncement, PwC Consulting briefly become “Monday,” a name I imme- d i a te ly pre d i c ted would fa i l —and fa i l it did, qu i e t ly buried after IBM a c qu i red the entity. (I am convinced that many PwC partners vot ed to be acqui r ed in good p a rt to be spare d their new Monday business cards.)

E v i d e n t l y ,

KPMG Con-

sulting CEO

10 percent are virtu a l l y unusable. That’s why you and I read about
10 percent are virtu a l l y unusable. That’s why you and I read about

name we can pro- tect. ‘Lutheran Fi n a n- cial,’ for example, we can- not.” FutureBrand assisted Nich o l- son’s team and designed the evoc a t i v e h e a rt-ribbon symbol.

10 percent are virtu a l l y unusable. That’s why you and I read about

The drama of the big accounting firms’ consulting subsidiaries contin-

ues: Two years ago we we re give n “Accenture,” as Andersen Con- sulting was renamed in the nick of time to avoid

the fallout of Arth u r

Andersen’s collapse. Last ye a r, Deloitte Consulting told th e world that it wo u l d become “Braxto n , ” c o n ve n i e n t ly adopting the name of a firm th a t D e l o i t te had acqu i red

Rand Blazer had no old names like Braxton on his inte l l e c t u a l - p ro p e rty shelf and was th e re fo re fo rced to go th e “coined, inve n ted, and whimsical” ro u te. Esch ewing identity consulta n t s and graphic-design firms, he ch o s e ad agency Arnold Worldwide to cre-

ate as well as to launch the company’s new brand. BearingPoint was the best ( available) of 550 names considere d . Its somewhat obscure re fe rence is n av i gational; it means t a r ge t or d e s t i n a t i o n. As Blazer explains, “We do what B e a r i n g Point lite r a l ly means: setting dire c- tion to ach i eve end

10 percent are virtu a l l y unusable. That’s why you and I read about
10 percent are virtu a l l y unusable. That’s why you and I read about

in

results,” and th i s m ay be what Ar- nold’s conve rg i n g - s wooshes logo design is intended to sugge s t as well.

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B oldness in strategy alone rings hollow if quality of execution does not keep pace. For
B oldness in strategy alone rings hollow
if quality of execution does not keep
pace. For bold execution, in naming
and especially design, I rate Centerpulse at
the top of this year’s list.
Sulzer Medica was a collection of medical-
device businesses that Sulzer, a giant Swiss
m a ch i n e ry make r, spun out in July 2001 “in
order to enable both companies a new be-
ginning.” Chairman Max Link recruited CEO
S tephan Rietike r, who re tained the experi-
enced Swiss identity firm Interbrand Zintz-
me yer & Lux to position, name (a new name
being mandato ry), and design this “new
beginning.” Rietiker decided to re c o n s t i t u te
“a network of comp a ny units” as six divi-
sions, united under a strong brand, say i n g ,
“Consolidation under a single brand um-
b rella is a logical step towa rd still gre a te r
c u s tomer focus and organizational trans-
parency. . . .
We are now systematically clus-
tering the know-h o w already at hand withi n
the corporate netwo r k . ”
In “Centerpulse,” the Interbrand consult-
ants found an available and pleasing combi-
nation of two English wo rds, appro p r i a te
to the industry while also suggesting the ben-
efits of a central vision and leadership
. . .
all
things considered, a remarkable naming
feat. The logo design uses a solid shape to
strengthen the name, adding a circle for in-
te rest, distinctiveness, and any number of
possible meanings, thus adding future com-
munications fl e x i b i l i t y.
S u r p r i s i n g ly, chairman Link, now (aga i n )
the CEO, was never sold
on centralization. “Rie-
t i ker wa n ted most
of the power in
Z u r i ch, while I
wan t ed to give
it back to th e
units,” he to l d
a n a lysts last
J u ly 16. It is
i ronic that Rie-
t i ker thus left
the comp a ny just
weeks after June 1,
when “Centerpulse” too k
e ffect as the name and logo. But as of th i s
writing, his new masterbrand remains, and
its expre s s i ve power and its logic in th e
m a r ketplace will continue to pro m o te cor-
p o r a te coherence. ®

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