Do Company Logos Matter to Consumers?

New research suggests loyal customers don't want change.

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It might seem like an inconsequential issue, but retailers spend a lot of time (and money) designing their logos in a way that will appeal to consumers. They try to avoid fiascos like the one faced by Tropicana earlier this year when it released new images on orange juice boxes. Consumers apparently hated them; sales dropped and Tropicana reverted to the previous packaging almost immediately.

New research from Rice University's Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business suggests companies should tread more carefully before making any big design shifts, lest they turn off their loyal customers. After examining reactions to New Balance and Adidas logo changes, researchers found that "strongly committed consumers" are more likely to dislike modifications. Less committed consumers, on the other hand, are more likely to have a positive reaction.

That difference between loyal and casual customers might explain why Apple faced such an uproar over when it adopted a silver apple symbol in place of its previous red one back in 2003. Walmart, on the other hand, changed its logo without any protests last year. The researchers suggest that while Apple attracts avid fans, Walmart shoppers are more diverse, and perhaps less committed to the brand itself than the store's low prices. Have any of your favorite brands changed their logos on you? Do you think logos influence your buying habits?