Vote: Is Our Age a Benefit or a Liability?

Please note: The original voting widget that I used at the end of this post was incompatible with our corporate intranet. Once one person voted from the company, everyone else was locked out. Not a good thing, especially since I really do want to hear from our employees. (I also want to hear from people outside the company.)

So, we did a little scrambling to find a service that will work with our system. So, if you couldn’t vote previously, please try again. It should work now. Thanks.

As you may know, we are in the middle of our One Company initiative. Among other things, we are doing a “brand consolidation.” We are rolling up our twenty-one different imprints into the single Thomas Nelson brand.

This initiative has included revisiting our logo and related identity elements. One of the things that we are currently debating is whether or not to include “Since 1798” as part of the logo. It has been part of our logo for the past five years or so. We included it because we thought it was really a cool thing. There aren’t many companies that have been in business for over 200 years.

Thomas Nelson Logo

However, we are now wanting to add a tag line to the logo that communicates our core purpose. This will be similar to Nike’s “Just do it!” or Home Depot’s “Taking Care of Business” or BMW’s “The Ultimate Driving Machine.” (I will write more about our thoughts on this in a week or so.)

The problem is that this risks making the logo—and the brand message—more complex, particularly if we also try to retain “Since 1798.” We would then have three elements: the house logo, a tag line, and the phrase “since 1798.”

So the question is this: should we drop “since 1798” or keep it. Here are the arguments pro and con:


  1. Not many companies have lasted over 200 years.
  2. “Since 1798” reminds people of the company’s long and rich heritage.
  3. People want to associate with something that is so deeply rooted in history.
  4. If the company has been around that long, it’s definitely got staying power.
  5. Consumers can trust a company with such longevity.


  1. Age is not a benefit. “Who cares how long the company has been in business?”
  2. People don’t care about our history as much as they care about what we are doing for them now.
  3. Our culture assumes that newer is better. 1798 was a long, long time ago.
  4. Things that are old can often be irrelevant and out-of-date.
  5. What benefit does our age confer on consumers?

So, how do you vote? Select your choice below, then click on “Submit Vote.” If you have comments, please leave them in the space provided below the ballot.

The poll is now closed. If you want to view the results, you can do so by click here.

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  • Michael Hyatt

    Michael DiMarco’s blog post is definitely worth reading in this context. He makes some realy valid points. Maybe we can have it both ways. (Mark Whitlock and others also suggested this.)

  • Jamey C

    As a designer I say use the date as a fact, but don’t box yourself in by including it in the logo, particularly if you want to add a tag. You can only get away with promoting two or at the most three ideas in a logo before it gets cluttered and starts working against the viewers sense of confidence in your company. An image, your name and a tag will max it out. The date is an important fact, but many companies fake it (look at nostalgic sportswear for example, everything was Est. in the early 1900′s) and the younger consumer is oblivious to what that kind of longevity should tell them about the company. I like the house mark by btw, feels classic but not stuffy, which is a tough line to walk.

  • John F

    I’m not an employee, but as a consumer and reader, I’d suggest keeping the “1798″ in some form or fashion. You mentioned Nike in your original post and they use “1971″ on many products. I think the suggestion to incorporate the year as the house address is very classy and subtle. “Wired” magazine uses taglines below the title on each issue’s cover that have several different meanings. I think the house address could be the same for you.

  • Elaine

    I understand the dilemma and I’m sure your creative team has already suggested this therefore I’m just being redundant however the solution appears simple. Why not combine the house logo, year, and tag line in a new way? You don’t have to say “Since 1798″ at the bottom instead list the 1798 on the house then new tag line under the house where you want it now.
    This will work if you design it go down the house b/c it can go in color, b/w, and reverse color – plus you’ll still be able to see the year. Many that look at this might think it is the house address which only adds to its character and story of why you decided to combine the two logo’s when you made all the companies one.

    Just a thought.

  • Kathleen Crow

    My thoughts are that 1798 is not necessary in the tagline as long as we don’t totally forget the importance of the company’s rich history. There is so much to learn from it. As an employee, I find it helpful to be reminded of it from time to time.