Google, Verizon and RISE: Rebranding Elements for PR Pros


Fall is definitely the season for change, and not just as far as weather is concerned. Two of America’s most popular companies underwent their own changes this past month as both Google and Verizon debuted updated wordmarks to their iconic looks.

Recently I also had the opportunity to work with an organization for their rebranding efforts. The Somali Bantu Community Association in Syracuse is becoming Refugee and Immigrant Self-Empowerment, also known as RISE. It makes sense for the organization to rebrand itself now that they deal with a more diverse clientele. So, to help them out with their rebranding process, why not give them a new wordmark?

In public relations, there are a few things to consider when your organization is undergoing a rebranding effort. Your new look is a reflection of your company’s culture, attitude and persona, making it all the more important for getting your new look right.

Here are some elements communicators should consider when going for a new look:

  1. RISE wordmark finalFont styles – Knowing the difference between serif and sans serif typefaces can make a tremendous difference in the type of personality your new wordmark conveys. Google’s old wordmark had a serif typeface that portrayed the company’s practicality and ease-of-use. Now, their logo is sans serif giving their brand a child-like exuberance, much to the dismay of critics. As for RISE, I decided to use a sans serif typeface to communicate the organization’s easiness to deal with and approachability.
  2. Colors – What many people may not know is that there are meanings behind the hues a brand uses. The difference between blue and red can be immense in terms of setting the mood for what you want your audience to feel. For RISE, I decided to use two colors: a lighter hue of blue to communicate the organization’s approachability, and a medium hue of green to reflect the organization’s positive direction that it provides clients. Together, the colors portray RISE as a globally diverse organization, hence, the use of Earth’s colors.
  3. Symbolism – When you have a name that also doubles as a noun or verb, you have room to experiment with wordplay. Verizon’s new wordmark keeps a similar concept from its old one by keeping the red check or V, symbolizing that “you’re good” (from the old commercials). The symbolism in RISE is much easier to notice. I used the “I” to form an arrow signifying the positive direction the organization is moving its members. Also, when you think of an upward arrow, you tend to think it being positive; therefore, I gave the “I” and arrow in this wordmark a green hue.

Rebranding isn’t just a thing for designers and creatives; PR professionals need to know the characteristics that go into a brand as well. Not knowing the little characteristics that can set your new wordmark off can unintentionally turn away an audience at first glance. That’s why PR professionals need to be involved, so that they can clearly communicate an organization’s rebrand to old and new audiences.

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