When I see a STOP sign, I stop. The shape and the color and the words, over the years, mean the same thing - to stop. Make a STOP sign green, or put the words "GO" on a red octagon and people will wonder what it is they're supposed to do.
Brands are supposed to be consistent. We expect things from certain brands, day in, day out, year after year. Consistency is powerful and shouldn't be messed with.
In the 1970's they came out with the following commercial that I still remember from when I was a kid.
Then 40+ years later:
Bringing the world together, creating harmony and a better world through sharing the experience of a carbonated cola.
Coke knows who they are and who they want to be; they live their commitment to make the world a special place of happiness and fellowship.
Then there's Chevrolet. In 2010, in an effort to be more consistent(?!?) GM banned the internal use of the term "Chevy" and even put out the following video:
The Chevrolet/Chevy case study is especially interesting since Coca-Cola and Coke live harmoniously in the brand world without having to restrict the use of one or the other terms internally. But then, Coke has been, and is, consistent about creating harmony in the world...
About the Author
Michael Plishka is the President of ZenStorming(TM), a design and innovation consultancy. He can be followed on Twitter @Plish and through LinkedIn.
Read more at his ZenStorming Blog.