The decision to rebrand a company is a big one, especially if the company has been well-established within the community. Read about the thought process behind the change at Carroll Daniel Construction.
This post originally appeared on the Carroll Daniel Construction Company website here.
Our Marketing Manager asked me to write a few words explaining the thought process behind our recent decision to “rebrand” our company and change the logo that Carroll Daniel has used for the past 12 years. I thought that was a great idea, so I agreed, and I have done my best to put a few words on paper and describe what has been a surprisingly long and difficult process.
I think of a logo as sort of corporate signature, it’s the way a company signs its name or identifies itself. Practically every successful company, large or small, has a logo. The logos for corporate giants like Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and Apple Computer are the ubiquitous and instantly recognizable as symbols of their respective brands. Logo makers for the smallest new start-ups are readily available on the internet, and easy enough to use that any novice could make their own in minutes.
For the first 50 years we were in business, Carroll Daniel didn’t have a logo at all, we just signed our name in big block letters on job signs or at the top of our letterhead. My grandfather Carroll thought the concept of a logo was unnecessary – what’s important is name and reputation, not a symbol. He put his own personal name on his business and spent the remainder of his life working to make sure that it stood for integrity, service to his clients, and quality workmanship.
In 2000, I was still living and working in Atlanta, but I had begun to do some estimating and technical writing for proposals for Carroll Daniel in the evenings and on weekends. We were still using those block letters at the time, and I felt our company needed a brand identity of its own to help us stand out from a very crowded field of competitors. I designed the old company logo one night using very basic software (Microsoft Word) and from that point on we began using it on everything from proposals to letterhead to company trucks. It has served us well over the years, but in the past two years I had begun to consider an updated look as part of a larger rebranding process.
If you research the topic of when a company should change or update its logo, the advice is practically unanimous – never! Just leave it alone! The Gap clothing store famously flopped at their attempt to change their corporate signature in 2010. That effort was met with such revolt by confused customers that the company quickly changed course and retreated back to their familiar blue box design. I can only hope our change is less controversial. The truth of the matter is I don’t have a great reason for the decision to make the change. I had some minor concerns that the thin letters of our old logo were difficult to read from a distance on our trucks and job signs, but mostly I just thought it was time that we had a fresh and updated new look. With the very patient help of the talented folks at the Gainesville marketing firm of Morton, Vardeman and Carlson, we began the process of rebranding this past March. Our initial anticipation was that this process would take a little over a month, and that we would have a new design selected and implemented in time for our summer trade shows. We were way off. Over the Spring and Summer, Vardeman presented us 3 rounds of options, over 75 individual logos in all, each one with a different color, font or mark. Weeks turned into months as we asked for feedback from our employees, looked at different versions taped to trucks, and tested them on pens, koozies and letterhead. In the end, the logo we chose won out for its simplicity, clear legibility and updated but classic look.
I am very pleased with the end result, and I look forward to seeing this logo on trucks and job signs for many years to come. But in the end, I agree with my grandfather – while there real value in establishing a familiar and recognizable corporate signature, a logo is in fact nothing more than a symbol, and the name and reputation it represents are still the things that matter. And although our logo may have an updated new look, after 67 years, it’s still our name that counts, and the name Carroll Daniel still stands for integrity, service and performance in everything we do.
President, Carroll Daniel Construction