STORY GONE BAD: RE-BRANDING A COUNTRY

turkey logo

Reference for the the new logo’s picture: http://www.underconsideration.com/brandnew/archives/new_logo_and_ identity_for_turkey_exporting_by_saffron.php

Undeniably, logo and slogan design is a crucial part of branding. Despite bringing consumer goods and services to mind, it generally applies to a variety of offers including celebrities, personas, belief systems, and even cities when considered thoroughly. This brief analysis attempts to discuss the case of the country Turkey’s latest socio-economic logo and slogan development.

Two days ago, the Turkish government officially adopted  an “updated” socio-economic logo in an attempt to render the country’s tourism, economy, and cultural symbol more “relevant.”[1] However, a marketing-focused glimpse proves that the new word-art in question proves to be far from “representative” when approached from the three aspects explicated below:

  1. Uniqueness: Looking at the logo in question above, one can not help realizing the “new” logo’s resemblance to the consumer goods giant Unilever’s famous logo. Both contain tiny symbols within the letters representing the brands (i.e., countries are also brands). Indeed, the new logo seems to be not more than a Word-Art designed on Microsoft Words and filled with intricate geometric patterns. Thereby, authorities seem to have fallen short of developing a one-of-kind symbol whose appearance would bring Turkey to mind and prove to be creatively outspoken although they have spent more than three fiscal years to develop a new logo as part of their “re-branding” efforts.
  2. Representativeness and Depth: Another disappointment the “logo” brings along seems to be its lack of relevance to the cultural values of the country. The most striking example illustrating this point are the colors of the logo: The country’s national colors are red and white; definitely not blue. Indeed, Unilever’s logo seems to reflect more about Turkey than the country’s new socio-economic logo by being the same navy blue as the country’s cultural amulet (i.e., a talisman worn to avoid the evil eye). Similarly, there is no crescent (the national symbol on the country’s flag), cat (national animal), or weaving (distinct local industry), nuts (national yield) or oil-wrestling (national sports)-related symbol on the new format. Considering this fact, one can not help wondering the reason underlying the choice of color and the patterns engraved in the new logo. Thereby, it would not be completely wrong to suggest that the new logo lacks in meaning and depth. Contrarily, logos should serve to    distinguish brands and entities by bringing forth the most representative and unique aspects. Sadly, three years of research and development should have born something more meaningful and identifiable.
  3. Intelligibility and Clarity: Despite bearing some symbols relating to ancient Anatolian civilizations and myths (e.g., the mythological Anatolian wolf, the Sun, and the Hittite mill), most of the symbols in the new logo is not easy to comprehend by “anyone.” Even Turkish citizens themselves need a load of explanation to make sense of the logo in question. In the case of Unilever’s brand logo, for instance, each symbol in the letter U signifies a unique aspect, raw material, product category, or brand symbol of Unilever’s family of brands (i.e., umbrella brands). Yet, most of the “symbols” in the Turkey’s new logo seem to make no sense other than resembling geometric shapes and arbitrary patterns. Fails to be intelligible even to the locals, the new logo seems to have the potential to confuse and be blurry to international organizations and foreign governments.

All in all, one can suggests that Turkey’s new socio-economic logo design seems to grant no additional brand consistency or identity to the country. Being part of the country’s re-branding efforts, the logo still needs to be improved in a creative and culturally-relevant way to justify the years-long academic and applied studies underlying. This recommendation should be taken into serious consideration especially if the authorities sincerely aim at  improved “relevance” and “representativeness” as they claim.

[1] Please acknowledge that the information in question is with reference to http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-launches-its-own-brand logo.aspx?pageID=238&nID=72282&NewsCatID=345.

4 thoughts on “STORY GONE BAD: RE-BRANDING A COUNTRY

  1. Hmmm. First of all, great analysis! Really got me thinking. I was so intrigued that I looked up more information and searched for the new tagline and the old logo; I have to agree that the logo lacks creativity and inspiration; Especially given that the symbols do not make too much sense, even to the Turkish people. Combined with the tagline, ‘discover the potential’, it really doesn’t make any sense. What curiosity are you trying to provoke? Are there hints embedded in the logo? It looks as if the logo and tagline do not even speak the same language (typography, color or creative wise).. This is while the old logo looked more playful and inviting.
    Looks like the Turkish government didn’t do their qualitative research 😉
    Although I don’t think the government will shelve the logo so quickly, I do think they should reconsider and at least do a couple more public opinion surveys.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree a brand is known by its logo as it gives it identity and uniqueness. The golden arches of McDonald’s and the green Siren of Starbucks is what sets a brand apart from cluster of brands. It defines what a brand stands for. Having said that, I must say your blog is striking at the right moment as Unilever recently came out with this logo. I agree that the logo lacks creativity which is very rare for a well established brand like Unilever. Maybe, this will become a mistake Unilever learns from or maybe Unilever will stand by the logo and defend its stand. Time will tell.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Though I am as disappointed as you are since logo isn’t a “wow” logo I find some of your points are misleading or just a result of inexperience and lack of turkish knowledge.

    Starting with the color, it is Turquoise. Looks familiar? The precious stone turquoise was first introduced by Turkish merchants and therefore became a symbol of Turkish nation. Unfortunately this isn’t a well known fact, therefore anytime Turkish national football team wears their blue uniforms some people are confused. I recommend you take a look at this picture.

    As for the symbols being irrelevant, we must first understand these “arbitrary patterns” and where else we see them. Europe is largest trade partner of Turkey and largest exports are textile and stones. The logo features a patchwork of commonly used patterns in textile industry (including carpets) and tiles. Have a look at these two pictures:

    You might argue these are low value products and Turkey should change its perceived image from low added value to higher added value, it is a strategic decision. So far it is consistent with their reality.

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    1. Thank you for your valuable comment. As a Turkish person who was born in and has lived in Turkey for the majority of my life, I think that introducing my country as merely a textile producer would be understating the county’s assets and distorting the country’s reality. In my humble opinion, knowledable people like yourself can know the meaning of turquoise, but I do not and can not believe it is the color that comes / should come into mind when the country is mentioned. What you are talking about is a little known fact known by sophisticated culture enthusiasts like yourself. If even I need explanation regarding the patterns and the color despite being a born-and -raised Turk, I think most foreigners may have a hard time making sense of the logo. Logo is a symbol that is supposed to be explicit and self-reflective.. But thank you for your valuable comment; I have now sated my curiosity and lack of deeper knowledge.

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