Thursday, January 31, 2013

New American Spirit Drives Rebranding for American Airlines

New logo emphasizes speed and motion
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Link to article:
American Airlines Rebrands Itself, And America Along With It

The swooping eagle and red-white-and-blue logo are indelible, yet when American Airlines decided it was time for a rebranding, they needed to find what had changed in the direction of the American spirit to reconnect with modern America. The new direction is smooth, silvery, and motion-oriented.  The old elements are repurposed to suit the firm's stated American attributes of "technology, entertainment and progress".

Excerpt: "American Airlines has just rebranded for the first time in over 40 years. The AA logo of yore is gone, replaced by the Flight Symbol, a red and blue eagle crossed with a wing. And every plane will be tagged with a high-velocity abstraction of the American flag on its tail.

There’s logic behind the decision: AA recently ordered 550 new planes. Many will have composite bodies that can’t be polished with the mirror shine of American’s existing fleet. The look had to be reassessed for brand continuity, so the company has spent the last 2+ years with Futurebrand reconsidering everything from the plane’s finish (it’ll be mica silver paint) to the logo to the website to the interior seats to the terminal kiosks. But it all started with a question: 'What are the things that are relevant from all over the world about America?' Rob Friedman, VP of marketing asks.

'Technology. Entertainment. Progress. These things people really feel are American attributes,' Futurebrand’s Chief Creative Officer Sven Seger later answers. 'We didn’t make this up. It’s from people all over the world.' In approaching the redesign, American polled both their own employees about what defines the American brand (the answers were predominantly the planes’ silver fuselage and the eagle logo) and the larger globe about the American country (which is where tech, entertainment, and progress come in). What they were looking for was, not just what is American Airlines, but what is America in the age of globalization?

'The old identity was slightly skewed to a more powerful American image. We needed to move it to, we call it "American spirit." What’s the side of America people really, really love,' Seger explains. 'People have huge love for the eagle, but not necessarily the eagle in the downward position potentially attacking someone.'

So AA kept the eagle, but it ditched the talons and transformed it into the Flight Symbol. It’s both a bird and a wing. But instead of being focused on the hunt, it’s focused on the flight, because sleeping through a coast-to-coast red eye doesn’t make you Top Gun. (Whether you like the new logo or not, as an American citizen, I’m glad it’s been changed.)"

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