Kill the marketer: one way to rebrand your way out of disruption

There's a plethora of advice available for brands on evolving to stay ahead of the next Uber.

Logitech: evolving to 'Logi' in the post-PC era
Logitech: evolving to 'Logi' in the post-PC era

But what do you do when your business has already been disrupted? Give up, or try and rise from the ashes?

Logitech, best known for PC accessories like the mouse and keyboard, and its squiggly logo, has seen its core business evaporate over the past five years.

I got to the point where I was disillusioned with what marketing had become.

While traditional computers haven’t disappeared, they are increasingly being replaced by laptops, tablets and phones – meaning fewer consumers are buying the accompanying accessories.

In 2014, PC sales fell 2.1% to 308.6 million, according to IDC. That compares with 2005, when PC sales shot up 14% to 205 million.

That continues to impact Logitech’s core business, with mouse sales falling 12.5% for the March quarter to $104m. But under CEO Bracken Darrell, Logitech is reinventing itself from the mouse firm to a "design company".

Logitech to Logi

Under Darrell’s watch, Logitech has begun producing tablet accessories (like detachable keyboards), mobile speakers and expanded to enterprise communications. This hasn’t been enough to make up for the slow death of PCs, but sales in these new categories are going up.

Darrell now believes the company is ready to formalise its turnaround, with a major rebrand, a new name, and a new logo.

Logitech will now become Logi, with an accompanying new logo, described as more "geometrical", colourful, and without the techy-looking squiggles of the original.

Depending on the product, the logo will also be a different colour.

There will be no single campaign to mark Logi’s launch, nor will the new name appear on all products straight away, Darrell told Marketing.

Instead, newer categories of products, such as speakers, will carry the new Logi name and branding. Traditional PC peripherals will still be branded Logitech, though Darrell hinted this will change over time.

It’s all bullsh*t

Despite the rebrand being the biggest in Logitech’s history, this has all been done without a CMO.

A former P&G marketer himself, Darrell killed off the role when he arrived at Logitech, and has never reinstated it.

The rebrand was jointly led by him, and Logitech’s chief design officer. The new logo was designed by Design Studio, the British agency behind Airbnb's logo.

Darrell told Marketing: "I went through my period where I was anti-marketing. I got to the point where I was disillusioned with what marketing had become.

"It was a lot about claims, and not enough about authenticity and reality."

It’s unusual to hear a marketer speak so bluntly, but Darrell believes a key problem with tech is that the industry is all talk and no trousers.

I didn’t believe in what a lot of companies were doing from a marketing standpoint, I hated the lack of authenticity

He said: "I didn’t believe in what a lot of companies were doing from a marketing standpoint. I hated the lack of authenticity, it made me sick. When I came to Logitech, I didn’t want to talk about marketing, just product and experience."

It is perhaps Darrell’s unconventionality that has allowed him to make the jump to CEO, which so few marketers manage.

Asked what his advice would be to similarly ambitious marketers, he said: "I’d say take marketing, throw it in the trash bin and replace it with design.

"The problem with marketing is that [people]began using the word, taking a slice of it, exaggerating the comms part of marketing so that it became unauthentic. It was a bunch of bullsh*t."

Of course, it remains to be seen whether this strategy is a success. Logitech's balance sheet has been improving, but its name and image has spoken to a less "cool" era of computing. 

"We’re on our way there," says Darrell. "The brand reinvention is just part of the company reinvention." 


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