What we want to know is: How did these executives decide these were the elements that had the most brand value for the combined entity? How did they figure keeping the conservative serif font helped ensure maximized revenue? Did they build a model that helped predict the monochrome blue would translate into greater market share?

Developing, launching and maintaining a new brand identity can be costly. There are expenses associated with the initial design and the production of all new materials from stationery to signage. The implementation of these new materials -- especially across 370 global destinations, as in the United/Continental case -- can be a Herculean task. The airline re-painting costs alone are enormous. United/Continental's combined fleet is over 1,000. With an average of price tag of $150,000 to re-paint a commercial plane, you get a cost of $150 million. And that is just one small piece of a launch.

Companies wouldn't take on this challenge or expense unless there were important business drivers behind it, but rarely do they take the time to consider how to do it most effectively. For so many other business decisions, executives create models and financial forecasts to understand the best strategy for optimizing ROI. But this is seldom the case with brand identity.

A Methodical Approach

Similar to developing a powerful brand strategy, the path to developing a powerful logo redesign that recoups costs quickly and sustainably can best be delivered by understanding and addressing what is meaningful to your target audiences.

In the case of a merger, when it is most likely that elements of the existing logos will be evolved into the new identity, it is incredibly helpful to understand the particular value of each element of the logos. The combined company can maximize value and effort through the scientific measurement of the value of the various elements of the logos as tested among the enterprise's key constituents. These elements include: the images, the color scheme, the style, the words/letters used, the typeface and the overall composition. The value of each of these elements can be measured as a comparison between the logos for each company -- as well as related logos and newly designed alternatives.

Uncovering what has the most meaning, recognition and connection for your target audiences can result in a quicker ascent to positive brand identity value.

The example in this diagram represents how an optimal logo scenario is measured. In this scenario, the company needs an identity update. Although their current logo is meaningful in the marketplace, historical trending indicates it will no longer properly represent the firm and therefore decrease in value over time.

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