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Journal cover: Journal of Product & Brand Management

Journal of Product & Brand Management

ISSN: 1061-0421
Incorporates: Pricing Strategy and Practice

Online from: 1992

Subject Area: Marketing

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Do logo redesigns help or hurt your brand? The role of brand commitment

Document Information:
Title:Do logo redesigns help or hurt your brand? The role of brand commitment
Author(s):Michael F. Walsh, (West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia, USA), Karen Page Winterich, (Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, USA), Vikas Mittal, (Rice University, Houston, Texas, USA)
Citation:Michael F. Walsh, Karen Page Winterich, Vikas Mittal, (2010) "Do logo redesigns help or hurt your brand? The role of brand commitment", Journal of Product & Brand Management, Vol. 19 Iss: 2, pp.76 - 84
Keywords:Brand identity, Brand loyalty, Logos
Article type:Research paper
DOI:10.1108/10610421011033421 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Purpose – Logos are a critical component of brand aesthetics. Frequently companies redesign their logos, and many redesigns result in more rounded logos. How do such redesigns affect consumers' brand attitudes? The purpose of this paper is to explore the role of brand commitment on consumer response to logo shape redesign.

Design/methodology/approach – This research uses a field experiment with 632 respondents and examines two athletic shoe brands: New Balance and Adidas.

Findings – The greater the degree of change in the roundedness of a previously angular logo, the more likely it is that strongly committed consumers will evaluate the redesigned logo more negatively (in terms of brand attitude). Such logo evaluations, in turn, mediate the joint effect of logo redesign and commitment on overall brand attitude. Conversely, weakly committed consumers react positively to such changes.

Research limitations/implications – The literature on aesthetics and brand attitude are combined to show that not all consumers view changes in brand elements such as logos similarly. Strongly committed consumers view these changes negatively; weakly committed consumers view them positively. An information-processing approach provides the underlying theory for this finding. Thus, logo evaluation partially mediates this change in brand attitude, but it does not fully explain the change in brand attitude after exposure to logo redesign.

Practical implications – Strong brands gain strength by developing a base of strongly committed customers. Attempts to change brand elements – such as logo redesigns – can affect customers differently depending on whether they are strongly committed, mildly committed, or not committed at all. Thus firms attempting to change brand elements, particularly their logos, should be fully aware of the potentially negative impact on their most important customers – those having the strongest brand commitment.

Originality/value – To one's knowledge very little research has examined the relationship between logo redesign and brand attitude. Henderson et al.'s call to examine consumer responses to changes in design stimuli is followed. Importantly, the study is the first to show that visual elements of a brand (e.g. logo) can differentially impact consumer response based on brand commitment to such an extent that strongly committed customers react more negatively than weakly committed customers to redesigned logos.

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