Wipro’s got a new brand identity and not surprisingly just about everyone has turned into a critic overnight. Just in case you missed all the action like I did, let me bring you to speed.
About 3 days back, Wipro announced a new brand identity. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been accepted well. Even some of their former Jedi (aka alumni) have turned to the dark side and have openly criticized the new logo. This includes some of their former C-suite executives who have expressed how the new logo doesn’t convey anything at all. They have also shared this historic dislike of the old logo!
Being a critic is easy and like someone said, “Criticism is an indirect form of self-boasting”. So, the intent of this post is not to become another critic of the new Wipro logo, but to look at few critical aspects around this brand identity makeovers what marketers can learn from it.
1. When it comes to brand makeovers, you are damned if you do, damned if you don’t
“There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.” –Aristotle
Brand identity makeovers are tricky. I say this out of the experience of having worked on such marketing projects. When it comes to change, everyone in the organization is entitled to his or her opinion and rightfully so. At some point, you have to take the call and make the move. Wipro just did it!
But, did Wipro have to do it now? Well, I feel it wasn’t a bad move. Especially when the India IT industry faces rough seas, this change might work in Wipro’s favor. By revamping its logo, Wipro is signaling that it has changed (or changing) it’s thinking to cater to new markets and client needs. To think different, and break familiarity isn’t easy. A change of this magnitude takes a lot of courage and this may just be what the doctor ordered. Here’s giving them the full credit for such a bold move and hoping it works out well for them.
Lesson: Brand identity makeovers need to be inclusive. No matter how well thought out your strategy is, you can’t make everyone agree with you. You will always have critics who claim to know better.
2. How much does a logo matter in an otherwise undifferentiated B2B IT-market?
Arguably, there was nothing remarkable about the old Wipro logo. Chances of relating the sunflower to vegetable oil were higher than to big data analytics. Their old logo was designed to represent their FMCG business and was inspired by its former corporate identity – Western India Vegetable Products Limited. But that didn’t stop them from becoming India’s 3rd largest providers of technology services and the 52nd most trusted brand in India.
That brings us to another question. How much does the logo matter in this industry? Now, don’t read this wrong. As a marketer, I do believe brand identities matter but the question is in the context of Wipro & its competition.
And, here’s the new Wipro logo in the same matrix. Suddenly, the new Wipro logo doesn’t look all that bad!
Image Source: Respective Websites
Lesson 2: Commoditization of not just products but brand promises too, is the harsh reality of today’s market. By the time a new product gets launched, competitors launch an indistinguishable product. Let’s forget whether this new logo is good, bad or ugly, but it is clear that B2B brands will start giving more importance to brand identity & transformation to differentiate themselves.
3. Connecting dots or just creative justification?
According to Wipro “The new logo represents the way the company “connects the dots” for its clients: integrating deep technology and domain expertise, applying insights from across industries, and consistently delivering world-class integrated, end-to-end capabilities and services. The logo also highlights Wipro’s strong technology heritage and reflects its capabilities for the future.”
The four circles in the pattern are meant to represent that Wipro values – employees, clients & partners, and communities. Awkwardly, they appear as 4 disconnected circles. If the creative brief was to represent connecting dots, maybe there could have been a different way to represent it. Connecting dots seems more like an afterthought, a form of creative justification that the agency used to sell a logo the design team created.
Lesson 3: Visual makeover is the easy part, but it will not solve any problem. Brand identity makeovers should not be done only for a visual refresh. Alas, in 8 out 10 cases, design thinking is replaced by design first, thinking later.
4. Digital Vortex or 4 Circles?
Wipro wanted the new logo to depict digital transformation leveraging hyper-automation, robotics, cloud, analytics, cognitive and emerging technologies. The agency chose a vortex based design.
Vortexes with binary codes, circles and vague objects have been the go to visual for all things digital for decades. This logos seems to be no exception, making it appear passé and too familiar. I am not a design professional to call this a bad design. But, as a consumer, it gives me a feeling of having seen it somewhere. To many, it looks like inspired thinking. Perhaps it looks old before its new. To avoid this feeling, Wipro could have been a little more cautious and not fallen into the trap of being compared to stock images and Thomson Reuters.
Image (s) Source: Shutter Stock
Lesson 4: We live in an era of the empowered customer. They are wiser than ever before and at the hit of a button, they can learn all about you, your brand and your organization. Therefore, your brand logo has to be absolutely unique and connected to your brand promise. If it looks me-too, chances are your customers will think of you as a me-too player.
5. Does switch to lower case signify anything at all?
In theory, the choice of font & case should be a true reflection of an organization’s culture. It’s just not about using cool fonts but using the right fonts that match your persona. Lower case is often used to exude a casual work environment and start-up culture. It’s meant to make the brand look more approachable, innovative and young. On the other hand, all caps signifies tradition and a sense of authority. They prefer to follow the rules & grammar. Xerox switched from all caps to all small in 2008. Xerox did it even earlier in 2005.
I have never worked for Wipro so it would be unfair for me to judge their work culture. However, if this brand rehash signifies a corporate vision to change the work culture, the change to the lower case might be more profound. How easy is it going to be for an organization that employs 1,70,000 people to change its culture?
Lesson 5: It’s easy to switch to a fancy font and make yourself appear hip and groovy. But to truly make a brand transformation, you need to make a cultural transformation first. And, culture change is the toughest part and certainly not something you can do by just changing a font.
In conclusion, a true brand experience is a sum of all touch points and often insufficient if you just have a new logo or website. Introducing a new logo alone doesn’t solve any problem. True transformation should be profound and long-term and inside out. It needs to be inclusive and aligned to its overall corporate strategy.
For the next few days, weeks & months, we will continue to see social media and armchair critics state the obvious and critic the new Wipro logo. Just like a book, brand identity makeovers cannot be judged by its cover – in this case, its new logo. Wipro is a well managed $18 billion company – they know what they are doing. Wipro’s internal announcement on the new logo went from Azim Premji’s office and that denotes its something significant.
Will this makeover impact its business? What are your thoughts on this rehash? Do you agree that brands are true to what their logos, or are logos true to what the brand stands for? Love to hear your opinions & comments