Brands dropping logos & names for advertising: Is it helping them connect with customers?

Pepsi, Doritos and Cadbury are some brands following the trend

e4m by Nafisa Shaheen
Updated: Sep 17, 2019 2:47 PM



The world of marketing and advertisement is moving towards a very interesting phase where brands are willing to create campaigns without their brand names and logos sprawled across the creatives. From the time when the logo would be as big as it could be and the company name would appear at least thrice in the message, this is quite a leap of faith for brands. Pepsi, Doritos and Cadbury are some brands following the trend.

So, is the trend here to stay, and is it actually benefitting the brands connect with the new generation that hates ads?

According to Vishal Sagar, Creative Director, Dentsu Webchutney, this is not a new trend and brands have experimented with the approach in the past as well.

“Starbucks removed their word mark in 2011. Around the same time, Heinz launched ‘No Noise’ campaign where they removed their logo. One might say that the absence of the brand logo brings more focus on the product, but I think it is the reverse. The absence of the logo makes consumers engage more with the brand than the product. So brands need to first define what success means for an experiment or approach like this.”

“When Master Card decided to drop their word mark, they did it because cards are becoming redundant in a digital world and they don’t want to be strongly associated with cards. I think it is for every brand to evaluate and analyse as to where this approach fits in their journey, or if it fits at all,” Sagar adds.

Shourya Ray Chaudhuri, Managing Partner & Creative Head, Tonic Worldwide, believes that it is not that the new generation hates ads. It is just that they dislike and distrust traditional advertising. 

“Brands need to smarten up about how to advertise to the audience. They've been doing the same song & dance year after year to no avail. This isn’t a traditional vs digital debate, rather one on methodologies--where the responsibilities lie with both creative and media agencies to cater to their brands and the preferred audience.”

So, what does the trend reflect about the consumers and brand relationships?

“The entire idea of marketing is to connect with the user at a personal level. The connect happens at various layers. While logo connects figuratively and establishes trust, it is the subtle emotive undercurrent that customer connects best to. Few brands have kept that undercurrent intact and flow of their ads same across communication channels. It makes sense for them to do away with figurative symbol for a brief period and guide the customer to the emotive point which has been the forte for them for years. This is a depiction of the strong position that the brand has established for itself,” opines Sidharth Singh, Co-Founder, CupShup. 

Sagar gave an insight that it is an approach that needs to be earned. No wonder then that iconic brands that have been advertising for over 100 years are leading the pack. This approach is a test of all the advertising that brands have done in the past. After all, consumers have to guess the brand basis obvious and yet not-so-obvious brand cues. Interestingly, the most engaged set of the brand’s audience will get it right every single time. The question is, do brands need to go this far to engage the most engaged? 

Some marketers and experts feel this new trend of dropping the logo is a novice approach towards building intellectual relationship between brands and customers.

According to Vishwajeet Parashar, Head Marketing at Bajaj Capital, today's consumers relate to people, not products. They like storytelling, not in-your-face brand selling.

“If consumers can relate to a brand in a more personalised manner, they are more likely to trust it. They prefer more authentic relationships rather than attempts to just sell to them. They are looking for a personalised experience. Hence a brand story and storytelling is more important than the brand logo,” he argues.

Additionally consumers like to know, recognise and relate to human beings behind the brand. So in this context, 'what a brand stands for' and 'what kind of attributes it associates with' matter more to consumers. It could be as simple as employee behind a brand and his/her story. For instance, Disney goes way beyond this in their “Behind the Scenes” tours, exposing consumers to the unseen side of the company.

He added, “Social conscience is another thing that matters to a modern consumer. Today's consumers want to believe that companies they associate with and the brand they buy care about the same causes they do. They want companies to care about the environment. Modern brands need to demonstrate that they care about people, and not just about the profits. All these trends have impact on the brand communication. If a brand is all about or just about tom-tomming itself, chances are that it will not create a strong bond with the consumers.”

Azazul Haque, Chief Creative Officer, Mullen Lintas India, meanwhile, believe that all campaigns without logos or brand names have a purpose and an idea. “They are not a way forward in the world of marketing. In a cluttered environment like today, branding and logos can’t be removed from campaigns. They need to be used in such a way that consumers and audiences never forget them. All the campaigns without brand names or logos are trying to achieve that. But that can never become a norm. It’s just a clever or purposeful one-off idea to get eyeballs.”

“Consumers do not love logos or brand names. They love a brand, for what it stands for, for what it is, for what its personality is, and just its name. And till the time brands do meaningful and insightful campaigns, consumers will connect to them, with or without logos or brand names,” added Haque.

With millennials increasingly becoming an important segment influencing both brand choices and purchases, they are going to be influential for a long time, and brands have to adjust to this reality.

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