23 September 2016Trademarks

Marques 2016: Google and Mars talk rebranding

Legal counsels for Mars and Google have spoken at an industry event about the role of rebranding.

In an afternoon workshop yesterday, September 22, at the Marques 30th Annual Conference near Alicante, the senior trademark counsel for Google and the associate general counsel for Mars discussed how to create a consistent brand.

The session was chaired by Imogen Fowler, partner at law firm Hogan Lovells, and saw the panel discuss the ‘what’, ‘why’ and ‘how’ of branding from a legal, marketing and public relations perspective.

Further, the panel discussed brands which have successfully and unsuccessfully rebranded.

Delegates heard about rebrands such as that of clothing retailer Gap, which tried a refresh in October 2010 but had to scrap the new logo as it received a negative media response.

A successful example of rebranding came from July this year when MasterCard brought back its orange and yellow interlocking circles, which had been abandoned by the company in 2006.

Fowler said that “simple can be a good thing if you do it right” and that the rebrand saw MasterCard “getting back to basics”.

Further, Fowler asked the panel about the role of social media when it comes to rebranding. Christine Hsieh, senior trademark counsel at Google, said “you have to be ready for the scrutiny”.

Philippe Claude, associate general counsel at Mars, added that “some of the reactions are emotional”.

Claude then talked about the rebranding of Raider to Twix in 1991, which saw the move from a regional to a global brand.

Twix was known as Raider in mainland Europe at the time.

He said that consumers’ reactions to rebrands are not “rational—they are mostly emotional” and that the rebranding to Twix was a “move to something more global and international”.

In September 2015, Google announced on its official blog that it was unveiling a new logo. Hsieh said that the company decided to “refresh its brand” and that it had to undergo “several evolutions to bring it up-to-date”.

The latest evolution is a “flatter, much cleaner logo, in my mind at least”, she said, and the change to the new logo would allow users to see the brand on Google’s mobile app and make it “clear what service you’re using”.

The Marques 30th Annual Conference ends today.

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