AOL is now Aol. with lower case letters and a period.  The new Aol. is launching a series of six new logos.  This image re-branding is the result of Aol.’s spinoff from Time Warner after a largely unsuccessful merger.

An image or brand name re-do is usually an attempt at a clean start with consumers.  The company is saying, forget our past, we are new and different now.  Did AOL need a brand overhaul? I’m not sure.  It depends what there new message will be.  AOL certainly reminds me of the old days of the internet, when everyone was on dial-up and having your own website or domain name for email was rare and less simple.  Of course, that world is long gone today.  So the concept of presenting a new Aol. may be a good one.

The six logos certainly make an attempt to be hip and cheeky. Of the lot, the ‘scribble’ one is my favorite.  I’m not sure what “hang 10”, goldfish, weather patterns, and the others have to do with internet media.  For that matter, I’m not sure what the ‘scribble’ means but it is perhaps suggestive of the internet – a big scribble or mess of wire that some people want or need help to guide us through and make sense of.  Maybe have no clear meaning is the point, but if you are going to re-brand your image and spend what I’m sure is millions of dollars to promote the new brand, you need a message or you are wasting a great opportunity to communicate with potential customers.  Other than “different from the old AOL,” I’m not sure what the new Aol. message is.  And no message is worse than the existing message, even if it is outdated there is still a generation of internet users clinging to old AOL email addresses.

Bottom line: LEAVE the new Aol. logo.  I am not convinced that the new “Aol.” is any different or better than the old AOL.  And in doing the brand overhaul, the company is essentially admitting that it is running from its past, and message that must be countered by a clear direction for the future in order to keep old customers and find new ones.

Lesson: What does your logo and branding say about your company?  If the message does not communicate and resonate with your target audience, perhaps you need a re-branding that does.

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