Logitech transforms to keep up with the big boys

9 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Logitech announces new Logi brand that ‘goes well beyond tech’.

The company long known for making the best mouse on the market, not to mention the best iPad keyboard and the best TV remote, is ditching the “tech” and calling itself simply Logi (pronounced “lodge-ee”).

Gone too is the dated logo—teal, with something that may or may not have been a boomerang—in favor of a sleek, clean design that better reflects its diverse product line. “If we look out five or ten years, it’s going to seem odd for a company to call itself “something-tech,” says CEO Bracken Darrell. “There will be tech in your clothing, in your shoes, in your tires. To be Logitech at that point will seem awfully 1980s.” Darrell’s been pushing the company into the future since taking the helm in 2012 and turning around its declining profits. “Even then, we knew we needed to reinvent the brand,” he says.

Logi is, in the words of Chief Design Officer Alastair Curtis, for “future-facing stuff, it will start to define new categories and new business spaces.” In speaking with The Verge ahead of today’s announcement, Curtis set out the vision for a more cohesive company that creates products with “design as an ethos and a mentality.” Whereas previously Logitech might have done its design sequentially — meaning the industrial design, packaging, retail experience, and software were all done as separate steps — the new Logitech is going to design “the whole experience” of buying and owning one of its products as one. And if his emphasis on bold colors looks familiar, that will be because Logitech’s CDO was the head of design at Nokia before taking up his current post in July of 2013. Within two years, he shook up the product portfolio, shifting millions away from mice and investing heavily in new categories like speakers and tablet accessories. The rebrand is the culmination of his efforts. “They needed to get rid of the old logo,” says Tal Leming of Type Supply, a Baltimore typography studio. “It looked like something carved on the side of the Flintstones’ house.” When Darrell arrived, he was stunned by Logitech’s lack of a design ethos.

All of this sounds rather ill-defined and marketing-heavy for now, but Logitech says it’ll soon start introducing the products that will define its Logi brand and the conceit inherent in dropping the “tech” from the company’s full name. Expect bold colors and simple designs to make their mark across Logitech.com, social media, on packaging and in-store displays over the coming year. “We’ve been reinventing Logitech, creating products that strive to blend advanced technology and design to bring you amazing experiences,” said Bracken Darrell, Logitech president and CEO. “We’ve built a world-class design team, led by chief designer Alastair Curtis. Logitech remains the proper company name, and according to Curtis, “whether we as a company completely transition to Logi over the next two or three years is yet to be seen.” Also unchanged is Logitech’s core business, which consists of making PC peripherals, gaming gear bearing the Logitech G name, and audio equipment under the subsidiary Ultimate Ears brand. The new Logi label will be attached to the company’s more experimental and futuristic projects, which Curtis says will include products for the Internet of Things, both “in the home and automotive space.”

Over 30 years ago Logitech started connecting people through computers, and now it’s designing products that bring people together through music, gaming, video and computing. Founded in 1981, Logitech International is a Swiss public company listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange (LOGN) and on the Nasdaq Global Select Market (LOGI). Logitech was selling more of them than any other company in the world—it sold its one billionth mouse in 2008— but PC peripheral sales were tumbling.

Find Logitech at www.logitech.com, the company blog or @Logitech. 2015 Logitech, Logicool, Logi and other Logitech marks are owned by Logitech and may be registered. Darrell surveyed the landscape to see what markets were growing, cut investment in mice by two-thirds and plowed a good chunk of the companies $100 million R&D budget into tablet accessories, teleconferencing systems, and Bluetooth speakers. The three new categories generated $380 million in sales during the last two years. “We tripled our profits,” Darrell says, and the stock price doubled to $14 per share. By all accounts, it’s radical departure from earlier sigils, many of which featured a radiating eyeball and a organically shaped splash of teal. “There were people in our company who thought that we owned the color teal,” Darrell says. “Teal looks like a very old color now.” The new insignia will change color based on which product it’s placed. “It looks like a friendly company now,” Leming says.

Logi will stay true to its roots and continue branding its mice with “Logitech” to capitalize on its excellent rep for PC peripherals. “The brand can go a long, long way,” Curtis says, “because it still means a lot to many people.” But Darrell says it’s just a matter of time, before “tech” disappears from mice, too.

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