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Archive for Branding

Aol. …maybe they know what they’re doing…

I just finished reading an article on Fast Company’s website.  I questioned AOL’s new branding strategy in a previous post, thinking that they were maybe going in too many directions while they attempt to reestablish their place in the fast-paced online world. Well, this article included some questions and answers from those responsible for this crazy new brand. Random images of everyday objects, people, plants and scenery behind the background-colored logo. Video ads of random moving images with the logo appearing as they pass by, not really explaining anything. But it’s about the feeling that it evokes, though I think they could have done better. After a while is just begins to all look the same, rather than giving the viewer the impression that Aol. is for everybody and everything.

But after reading this article, I’m starting to think that they may know what they’re doing. It’s not about grabbing the customer after single viewing of a commercial, but it’s about a longer term relationship that will develop as the customer interacts with the brand. They will give customer’s the opportunity to create their own personal logo, uploading their own photos and images. Customer’s will begin to interact and connect with the logo in a personal way. And it sounds like that’s just the beginning (I hope so, because that alone won’t grow into a long-term relationship). Will it work? Will it be effective? Who knows, but, if anything, they will end up pushing the boundaries in the way branding is done, giving more design opportunity to the customer. It’s the social networking age of branding, so why not move design in that direction as well?

Quote from the article:
“Wait. Has AOL just created the first completely user-contributed, 100% flexible, invisible logo? Where all that matters is what animates around it?”

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The new AOL = Aol. What in the world does this mean?

AOL is relaunching its brand and “renaming” itself Aol. (the period is part of the name), but what does that mean? It sounds like a cool idea, but so far they’ve been identifying themselves with anything and everything. Pasting their name on objects and people. I have a feeling that they are attempting to communicate that they are for everyone and relevant to anything in life.

It’s kind of interesting because I was just thinking about AOL, excuse me, Aol. just last week and wondering what in the world ever happened to them. As far as I could tell, Aol.’s (boy that’s awkward) purpose has pretty much been wiped clean from our needs, serving very little purpose in our daily lives. Maybe I don’t know them well enough, but aren’t they just a boring version of Yahoo! and a non-innovative version of Google? So what’s their niche? What sets them apart from Yahoo! and Google? I guess, either I’m missing something, or they have a really really cool plan.

But judging from the pointless video campaign below, I don’t think they even know who they are…

Video found at FastCompany.com

MTV’s New Look


I just discovered a cool new company called Universal Everything. They are responsible for MTV’s new look and branding. They seem to have cleaned up the MTV’s scattered overwhelming brand. No one really knows what MTV is about anymore. Is it music, reality shows, random top 10 lists or videos? Who knows. It looks like Universal Everything is helping MTV clear up the confusion.

From Fastcompany.com:

What does it mean? Well, for one thing, it signifies a much more polished, coherent look for MTV, whose various bits of branding have often been excellent, but at the same time scattershot. But what’s more interesting is that the look is decidedly 2-D, with a cut and paste feel that looks lifted from punk rock zine’s of the 1980s. That’s different from the swirly embellishments of recent MTV history. And it’s a welcome relief.

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