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:

Pro:

  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.

Con:

  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 Things that are old can often be irrelevant and out-of-date.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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  • Paul Shepherd

    I’ve worked at Nelson, off and on, since 1974. I think the benefit of 1798 is still there in certain areas, but not for consumers. I believe moving the company forward with new contemporary styles and products is great for the company, while holding on to traditions that are beneficial. The 1798 is good for foundation internally but is not necessary for the future and growth in the marketplace.

  • http://www.wmarkwhitlock.com W. Mark Whitlock

    I wish you had posted a THIRD option. I believe that there will be places that Since 1798 would be appropriate and beneficial. Spine, NO. Back cover of the book or flap of dust jacket, MAYBE. Copyright page, YES. Some advertising, YES. Flash intro to website, YES. Business cards, YES. Letterhead, YES. Annual report, YES. Some Bible packaging, YES. I think it’s a tertiary element to our brand, but an important one.

  • Liz Stover

    I find it very easy to believe in Thomas Nelson as a provider with the logo “Since 1798″ myself. Yes, it can sound a little-too-old-fashioned for a forward moving company. So, since some people do not really take the time to comprehend how long-standing “since 1798″ should sound, I think that “over 200 years of service” sounds better.
    Of course this may have been thought of and presented in the past, but I hope since I thought of it too that my name can be added to the list of people who would like to keep the logo “since 1798″ but just put it in a more updated statement. Another forward moving thought; the number 200 could be updated every 25 years, such as “over 225 years of service” when that time comes. And so forth.
    I am proud to work here at Thomas Nelson even though I have not made to the one year anniversary-mark yet. I have a few other interests and talents regarding what I would like to do to develop my career, and I find it very easy to believe that I may be able to make it happen as I serve in believing and doing my work here.

    I could not vote using the option above, but I do vote Yes, with an update!!

    Thank you for your time, Liz 1311 A/P ;)

  • Dana Long

    After being with the company for almost 15 years, and almost all that time exclusively involved with Bibles, the phrase “since 1798″ does hold a great deal of corporate value and equity for our overall reputation. Most of our core accounts know about the company and where we come from and it is still a wonderful part of our website for those that are interested to find out more. But, moving into the new vision for our company I do think that a branding statement that offers a benefit to the consumer…something that is relevant to them and their lives, would be wonderful. After all, many institutions or companies that have been around for well over a hundred years don’t attach that fact to their product or persona (Harvard, Yale, Levi’s, Coca-Cola, etc.), but people do still get it when they hear those names. These are organizations or products of quality…have been for years and will be for years to come. We should all be soooo proud of our company’s heritage and we are blessed to work for an organization that is grounded so deeply in first and foremost God’s Word and helping people, quality books & Bibles, and offering titles that are hopefully life-changing and relevant to our culture today.

  • Kevin Turner

    Feedback from Enrichment’s customers, in direct to comsumer sales through our catalog, has been that the date is beneficial in establishing the quality of our content.

    I feel the contemporary house design mixed with the traditional Text font, backed by the date, says we are a progressive company that has been around for a long time by servicing God and our customers right.

  • Kyle Olund

    I love the rich history behind our company, but I agree that the minds of almost all consumers focus on “What have you done for me lately?” The use of current tagline was important around the time of our bicentennial, but I believe it has served its purpose and now we are ready for something new. I agree with Mark, though, that there will be instance in which we’ll want to promote our rich history (though probably not with something like “So old that even King James read our Bibles”).

    Using a slogan that is more forward looking will also be more inspiring to those who work under it and work to ensure that we are the leading Christian publisher for decades, and even centuries, to come.

    Is “Since 1798″ a detriment? No, but what replaces it will be much more beneficial.

  • Deb

    Perhaps you could include the date in a cornerstone of the house, incorporating it into the logo. All the benefits of having a well-established brand remain and you can include a tag line. The logo stays crisp and clean and still incorporates future growth.

  • bex

    While I don’t work for you, I would offer the idea of tacking the “Since 1798″ on to your slogan.

    Not knowing your slogan, something like

    “Bringing good books to good people, since 1798″ seems appropriate.

    If your slogan is all hip and web2.0′ish, the 1798 date will ground it as more than a fad.

    – Just my .02 “Draped Bust” pennies worth

  • Scott Winter

    I also can’t use the voting widget (FYI – I couldn’t use the star rating widget either), but what about including it in the tag line, i.e. – “Just Doing It Since 1798″?

    Either way, I vote YES.

  • http://www.wmarkwhitlock.com W. Mark Whitlock

    A coworker dropped by my cubicle for help in voting because she couldn’t see the vote now buttons. I voted at home. I’ve pulled up your blog on IE7 for Windows, Opera, FireFox, and IE for Mac. I haven’t tried Safari. Every time I open your blog here at the office, all I see is the chart. Is this a firewall issue?

  • http://www.michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

    Mark,

    That’s probably because you have already voted. The system logs your IP address, so that you can’t vote more than once.

    If you can’t vote, make sure your browser’s security settings are set to allow Java and Javascript. It depends on which browser you are using, but this is usually under a menu item like “Settings,” “Options,” or “Preferences.”

    Hope this helps,

    Mike

  • Troy

    I agree with Deb to incorporate “since 1798″ into the logo or directly underneath in a smaller font, centered so it fits nice and clean under the logo’s base, then have the tagline. However, if the date in the logo makes it look to incongruous then it’s not worth taking away the clean look of the logo as is.

  • http://www.michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

    I just want everyone to know that I am reading all these comments. These are providing excellent feedback. Keep them coming!

  • george

    As we move ahead with our new initiative to drive our name to every place in the bookstore, tradition means something. The idea of a slogan would also be good but will make more of an impact if stability is there. The world continues to shrink and America has a very short history compared the rest of the world. Our company has 200 years and this may be of benefit as we spread the Word around the world.

  • Darcie

    I agree with Kevin that the fresher looking house paired with “Since 1798″ gives the right impression. My concern with replacing the date with a slogan is that the slogan may not be as timeless. We will always have our history in the industry, however, visions and slogans may change. If it’s a slogan tied very closely to our core purpose (which is about all I haven’t seen change in the year I’ve been here), then maybe it could be a good thing. I wonder though, if we can go too far in the other direction in our efforts to change and update, and instead of simplifying matters for the consumer, we only serve to confuse them more. Personally, if a product I purchase based on the brand changes their logo completely to the point that I don’t recognize at least one element of the logo, I feel uneasy–like they were thinking more of their marketing than me.
    So to summarize, I think I could better vote given the actual slogan vs. the date. Without knowing the slogan, I’d vote to keep the date.

  • Adriana Nuñez

    Thank you for giving us the opportunity to vote on this. I strongly disagree with at least four of the CON comments (1-4).
    As a TN employee, it did impacted me the first time I saw since when the company had been in business. Could we keep it in tiny legible letter around the picture? I vote we should keep it.

  • Tony Jacobs

    I want to take this oportunity to thank you for allowing us imput on this matter. Also,I greatly enjoy each article and feed back on this blog.

    I fall in the pro catagory on this issue. The fact that we can say that we have been around for over 200 years is a great thing and frankly should be exploited.
    It goes hand in hand with the timeless message that we carry and want to inspire the world with.

    Thank you again!

  • Jeremy

    I like the idea of keeping the date as part of our identity. If our One Company initiative is to realign under one brand, one common history and name; why wouldn’t we embrace the history that the name Thomas Nelson brings?

    I vote YES – keep the date.

    I also agree with the other posts about possibly incorporating it into the logo or tag line, where the history and emotion of Since 1798 can support the vision for the future.

  • http://www.michaeldimarco.com Michael DiMarco

    Mike,

    We’ve re-worked our marks and branding and will be doing a reveal before ICRS (hopefully well before!)

    Because of the size of your company and what you do, I’m guessing you’re going through the logo/brand/mark revistation process totally in-house.

    If you were to hire an outside firm to guide you through the logo and branding process, especially one that has worked with professional and college sports, you’d be given primary, secondary, and tertiary marks for your brand. In other words, as one of your earlier commenters suggested, you’d have slightly different marks for different audiences and uses.

    Because of the compelling PROS you noted, I’d suggest keeping “Since 1798″ as part of your ‘Heritage Mark’. You might use this mark for Bibles, Bible reference works, as well as for certain communication materials for academic markets and ‘heritage’-motivated audiences.

    BTW, the examples you’ve used (Nike, BMW, et al) selectively use those slogans rather than them being ever present with their logo. Plus, the reason the slogans are so recognizable is not because they are tagged to the rondelle of my 540i or stitched to the swoosh of Hayley’s gratis footwear from when she worked at Nike, rather, because of multi-million dollar ad campaigns the companies produced.

    (Free) food for thought from Hungry Planet. :)

  • Darcie

    A p.s… I also really love the history of our company. I actually told the story of Thomas Nelson to my friends and family when telling them about my interviews with the company. Even as a relatively young consumer, I appreciate knowing that a company has been around much longer than I have. To me, the thought that old is irrelevant is immature, not forward-thinking.

  • Mark Gilroy

    The One Company initiative has recognized that consumers do not shop on the basis of imprints and, in fact, are barely aware that they exist. So it could be argued that it doesn’t matter if the company changes the tag line to something more contemporary and relevant — no one will notice (more on that later)! Obviously, the name Nelson and the house logo have huge meaning for buyers and industry professionals, so I would argue that we keep the 1798 identifier:
    –as others have noted, with our Bible division being such an integral part of the business, the date is a powerful way to communicate historical integrity and continuity;
    –as a former literary agent who still receives extensive corespondence and the catalogs from a wide variety of publishers, I know that many of them have a market position tag line … but honestly, I can’t remember any of them … all of the Christian companies try to position themselves as faithful and relevant … in contrast, even before coming to work at Nelson, I remember mentally noting the 1798 date; maybe I was wondering if the modern Nelson could appropriate the entire history of that house in Edinburgh as its own, but regardless of what caught my attention, the date not only communicated something substantial, it was simple and different — and unique among almost all American publishers.

  • http://www.michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

    These are all great comments. Many of them are very compelling. I think I have reversed by own position now about three times!

  • http://russ-ramblings.blogspot.com Russ N.

    Piling on with the group that agrees with Deb’s comment. Work it into the graphic somehow so you have the space for the tagline.

    Maybe the house/building number would be 1798?

    Russ

  • Thomas D. Harris

    I think that we should be proud of our heritage but I don’t know that using “Since 1798″ as part of our logo is a branding necessity. I do agree with Mark Whitlock’s comments that there are a number of other places where we should use the “Since 1798″ heritage statement including the historical page on our corporate website.

    I would hope that the “house” logo does not also fall victim to the modernists who may want to update this aspect of our logo down the road.

    Further, if we are replacing “Since 1798″ with a more relavent “tagline” for our logo, please let us vote on that too.
    Thanks

  • Trish Morrison

    This heritage is most impressive outside of the USA. The message of “what have you done for me lately” does not seem to be as pervasive in other countries. If I could vote, I would prefer that third button Paul Shepherd referred to.

  • Graciela Lelli

    I definitely think that having the date is beneficial. To think of all the things that have happened since then, all the history and our company being around through all of it, socioeconomic and cultural changes… it is amazing to me.
    I like the Deb’s idea of including the date in a cornerstone of the house, incorporating it into the logo, or to the foundation of the house.
    That would still leave space for the slogan without cluttering the logo.

  • Theresa M

    I agree with the idea to add the date inside the house and put the tag line underneath. Our new cultures ideas are not always the best for example removing prayer from school, the idea to remove “under God” from the pleadge of alliance etc. I strongly fell that since the company has stood the test of time we should be proud to display the date within our logo.

  • http://luke.gedeon.name Luke Gedeon

    We could combine our purpose statement with the date. “Inspiring the world since 1798″

  • Theresa M

    I agree with the idea to add the date inside the house and put the tag line underneath. Our new cultures ideas are not always the best for example removing prayer from school, the idea to remove “under God” from the pleadge of alliance etc. I strongly fell that since the company has stood the test of time we should be proud to display the date within our logo.

  • Sandra Malench

    Have you seen those HGTV shows where a beautiful historic home has been given a facelift? The hand cut wainscoting has been stripped off the walls and in its place is an electric fuchsia color done in some trendy paint style that will be out of style the moment it dries. The wood flooring that is filled with gentle marks and indentations from each person who had the honor to step on it has been ripped out, and concrete floors have been poured in their place. The kitchen cabinetry – solid wood of course – is long gone and laminate boxes completely void of any character or style are tacked up in its place. The marker denoting it as a historical home has been ripped off the wall and tossed away with the morning trash. Wouldn’t it have been better to have honored that historical home and celebrate (and recreate) its true character than to put something else in its place? Our house has stood the test of time “since 1798.” I say we keep that historical marker in place and proudly shine it up to its original luster.

  • http://www.salberg.org Lawrence Salberg

    I voted against keeping “Since 1798″. Here’s two comments about that.

    First, as long as I’ve known about Thomas Nelson Publishers, I found the idea that you had been around since 1798 a bit surprising. It didn’t really lend any extra credibility to the company in my mind, but it did cause me to question why they would put that there. And, like so many other companies that do the same, I sort of question the absolute truth of the statement. I mean, has “Thomas Nelson, Inc.” been around that long? I sort of doubt it. Was it founded 200 years ago and through one metamorphosis after another, survived until 2007? Sure, that’s possible – but why not say “Founded” or “Est.”? The word “since” implies continuity, and I kind of doubt that there has been anything continuous in those 209 years. As a Christian company, absolute truth should be the goal, and the byline of “Since 1798″ brings into question the credibility of the statement (and thus, by extension, the logo, the company, etc.). If someone really cares, and few people do, I’m sure there is a wonderful, rich history of the company buried on the corporate website somewhere. Most people initially seeing your logo are sizing up whether or not your company MEETS their NEEDS. Nothing more, really. Thus, I voted to abandon it.

    Secondly, I’d question the entire logo – as a whole. If you want to include a byline, I think that is a great idea. The little house says absolutely nothing about your company. On its own, I might think you are a condo developer. It has become more common these days to abandon a graphic altogether and build a logo built on typeface alone. That would allow a byline (a short one like “publishing for hearts and minds”) and not have the logo overwhelm the entire page. It also keeps that message on every piece of business stationary, invoice, etc. The building does none of that, except to say that (maybe) Thomas Nelson has a nice office somewhere? Maybe there’s a rich history of that logo, but I didn’t want to taint my initial view by reading it before posting this. Once someone knows the logo and the company, then it hardly matters anymore what the logo is – it just becomes a symbol of identity – like a red octagon representing a stop sign, its meaning no longer matters. The meaning only matters for first impressions. So, on this second point, I do vote “yes” for a total revamp of the logo. Spend the $$$ if needed and hire a major design firm to do it – not in-house – that specializes in corporate logos. Look at logos of fortune 500 companies with (also) well-established histories. Most have very simple logos that communicate SOMETHING about the company (except for IBM’s – ha ha – but when you get as big as them, I guess you can abandon design theory!).

  • Tony Jacobs

    Well said, Darcie!

    In particular, the P.S. section of your writing.

  • Matt

    “Since 1798″…and there are how many other companies that can say that?…too few for a desire to negate that history in favor of a trendy slogan! I truly believe that says it all!…..Creating the modern house coupled with that rich history..in one glance You have adopted the best of both worlds…allow our bibles and publications to inspire the world…allow our history to speak for itself!

  • http://imprudentrambling.typepad.com/imprudent_rambler/ David Leach

    Mike–I can’t vote because I don’t know what’s replacing it. “Since 1798″ is the kind of tag that can transcend fashion…some years it’s “out,” but some years it’s “in.” What replaces it will undoubtedly trendier, probably better for the near term, but will need to be replaced. While the current tag has equity in some sales channels, it means absolutely nothing in others. I doubt it is hurting ANY sales channel. My fear would be that what replaces it would end up hurting a channel–a option that currently doesn’t exist.

    Could I sound more conservative? Man I must be getting old! What the heck…change it, live dangerously.

  • Christy

    I just thought it was interesting that, at this point, over 100 people have voted with just over 54% for dropping the date. However, almost every comment on this thread is pro-date. This would seem to indicate that while more people feel it can/should be dropped, those who feel it should stay feel more strongly about that position. I voted to drop it, for many of the same reasons that L. Salberg offered above. It’s a slightly dubious claim, and I know the history that is “buried on the website” (here incidentally). There is a continuity implied by “Since 1798″ that I don’t feel our history truly, fully reflects. The part of our history that really feels like our “roots” to me, is the founding of The National Book Company by Sam Moore in 1958. Everything since that time is truly one vision and 50 years is nothing to sneeze at! And hey, we could celebrate our 50 year anniversary next year! :-)

  • belinda bass

    We only need an image that provides instant recognition to the consumer. That is complicated by too many details. Too much to take in. The longevity of our company is more important to the retailer and perspective author than the consumer, I would think. Can that not be used in promotion etc… and not out there as part of the visual. If we are planning to add a tag line to the logo that is used on printed material (books), I think that could be cluttered as well. A much better idea for ads, promotional material, etc…

  • belinda bass

    We only need an image that provides instant recognition to the consumer. That is complicated by too many details. Too much to take in. The longevity of our company is more important to the retailer and perspective author than the consumer, I would think. Can that not be used in promotion etc… and not out there as part of the visual. If we are planning to add a tag line to the logo that is used on printed material (books), I think that could be cluttered as well. A much better idea for ads, promotional material, etc…

  • barry baird

    You will not be suprised for me to say I think the Logo should stay as it is and has been for years. There are several facts I use over and over when telling people about the company one was the “we are on the NY stock exchange” but one remains “we are over 200 years old and were established in 1798″ and being of Scottish decent I mention Edinburgh Scotland. I believe there are a dozen ways we can communicate freshness, mission, and other things but nothing it seems to me commands more strength than stating the FACT “Since 1798″.

  • Bob

    If adding a tag line and deleting or keeping the “Since 1798” is being done for the consumer, then I don’t see the point of either. As someone mentioned, one idea behind the One Company thing was that consumers don’t shop for books by imprint or are even aware of them for the most part. If I want a book by Stephen King, I’ll find the section in the book store where his titles are. I wouldn’t ask a store employee where the Random House books with the “Not as Random as You Think!” tag lines are (if he’s published by them, I don’t really know), I’d ask where the Stephen King books are. And I wouldn’t care what the publisher’s logo or tag line was or how long they’d been in business. Even after I’d bought the book and could know who the publisher was & wanted to buy another S.K. book, I wouldn’t go back to the store to look for that publisher; I’d go back to the Horror/Fiction section. Is the Christian book consumer different? Maybe, but if a favourite author moved from one publisher to another, I don’t think that would hinder any sales.
    We’re not selling toasters or lap tops where a consumer might have a preference as to who manufactures it; we’re selling the thoughts and ideas of others. The consumer will look for a favorite author, a topic, or a category.
    If the logo change and tag line are to attract and keep hot authors or impress book store buyers, then that should be the target group to consider. Maybe the longevity of the company would help influence an author to go with a company that’s likely to be around for a while longer. Maybe adding a tag line that would succinctly state our core values would mean something to CBA market buyers.
    So…how would I vote? It’s confidential.

  • Deanna Deeter

    I mainly work in the customer releations field for those of you that don’t know me. I feel that we should let the “Since 1798″ go. My reason for this is because this causes great confusion for many customers whether they are bookstores, consumers, ministries or international between us and the old Nelson and Sons. I strongly believe that our company has made wonderful progress in all the fields that we have chosen to branch out in too. In the publishing world we are well know for our relationship’s with others and how we treat our customers not matter how big or small. I believe if we continue to move foward with new ideas that we shall succeed no matter what is stated under our name; but we must remember to contiunely treat everyone as our customer. This means having a strong belief in Our Lord so that we may continue to treat everyone with love, honor and respect that each person deserves not matter what their suggestions or problems may be with us. This will allow us to encourage all customers big or small to keep rejoicing our name with every one.

    P.S.

    After looking over several other statements I would gladly agree to see the date incorporated in to the new. Not matter what we will always be a successful company because of the time, love and effort that we all put in due to our faith in Thomas Nelson and The LORD

  • Deanna Deeter

    I mainly work in the customer releations field for those of you that don’t know me. I feel that we should let the “Since 1798″ go. My reason for this is because this causes great confusion for many customers whether they are bookstores, consumers, ministries or international between us and the old Nelson and Sons. I strongly believe that our company has made wonderful progress in all the fields that we have chosen to branch out in too. In the publishing world we are well know for our relationship’s with others and how we treat our customers not matter how big or small. I believe if we continue to move foward with new ideas that we shall succeed no matter what is stated under our name; but we must remember to contiunely treat everyone as our customer. This means having a strong belief in Our Lord so that we may continue to treat everyone with love, honor and respect that each person deserves not matter what their suggestions or problems may be with us. This will allow us to encourage all customers big or small to keep rejoicing our name with every one.

    P.S.

    It would be wonderful if we could include the date in the new logo. No matter what is decided we will survive any changes made. This is due to all of my wonderful coworkers that devote all their time, effort and love to Thomas Nelson and THE LORD.

  • Dax

    Foremost, our products speak to who we are. A tagline would help communicate solidity behind our products for those who perceive the message as our foundation. However, the date represents solidity to those who equal long history with strength. Having both elements in our logo would satisfy both groups of people.

    Although a tagline may age as we transition through time, changing it years down the line would be a public way of refreshing the personality for a new season.

    For me personally, a date communicates less about a company than a tagline. I voted to take it off.

  • Amelia

    Speaking from a designer’s point of view, I think we should keep the date and choose a contemporary font. When people see it, it communicates a modern feel over the current traditional font and the history of our company will still be acknowledged.

  • Jim Thomason

    Our products, or at least the ones of which we’re most proud, concern universal truth that is unchanging through time. Having the date in the logo, either in the graphic or under it, instantly gives a feeling of continuity and tradition. I also notice that most people who comment in favor of the date are employees of the company, who by and large take great pride in our history and tradition. It benefits our own sense of identity as a workforce, so unless it detracts from the logo’s effectiveness in the marketplace I would favor keeping it.

  • Rachel

    Wow! Amazing amount of feedback. This is great! I vote to incorporate it into a tagline or the house “number”, & thus add the concept of commitment & longevity to a succint statement of who we are. Thanks for inviting us to participate.

  • http://www.jimseybert.com Jim Seybert

    The “Since 1798″ works to your advantage as long as you don’t act like a company that’s been around since 1798.

    Keep doing what you can to avoid corporate Osteoporosis and Arthritis. Don’t let your history dictate what you’ll be tomorrow, but rather let your tomorrow color the way people view your past.

  • http://www.michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

    Jim,

    Great comments. I love your last sentence!

    Mike

  • Scott

    I think that changes should be made when we have compelling reasoning/logic that suggests the anticipated benefits of the change will outweigh the negative repercussions of it. “Run TO something, not AWAY from something.” Too often, I think changes are implemented only because the change “might” lead to new benefits. I cite HOV lanes and year-round school calendars as examples.

    Some may argue that “nothing ventured, nothing gained”, or “change is necessary”, but those types of comments are usually out of context. In my opinion, those are the lazy man’s rationale unless there is supporting justification. Not that those statements never apply, but that they must have supporting information in order to be a valid justification. Changes, especially from a successful endeavor, should be assessed as calculated risks after evaluating the risks and benefits of both options. (In this particular poll, I have to admit that without knowing the new slogan, I don’t see how anyone could vote for an “unknown” slogan to replace the successful, existing one.) I feel the date needs to stay somewhere with the logo, although I’m not adamant about the current location.

    I don’t know how much weight this voting process carries, but seeing that the results are close to 50/50, there is obviously no compelling argument affecting change. If it ain’t broke, don’t break it!! “Since 1798″ should be considered the heavyweight champ that can only lose by a knockout, not a split decision.

  • http://www.michaeldimarco.com/2007/01/12/the-perfect-mark-myth/ Michael DiMarco

    Mike,

    I expanded my take more over at my blog if it helps clarify. Thanks for letting me weigh in and for the inspiration!

  • http://www.michaelhyatt.com/fromwhereisit/2007/01/vote_is_our_age.html Vance Lawson

    I voted yes to keep the 1798 reference for many of the reasons cited in the comments section. I can say that it was favorably perceived and commented upon by many of our third party stakeholders over the years (customers, bankers, vendors, investors, investment bankers, etc).
    Personally I like the idea that it grounds us and reminds us of the Company’s nobel beginnings (the intent to get Christian literature to the masses). Like the famous philosopher Casey Casem said when closing his countdowns “keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars”. 1798 is our “feet on the ground”.
    Please pardon one more analogy… The stones of remembrance when the children of Israel crossed the Jordan river. They placed the stones there so that when their children and grandchildren asked about them, they could tell them what God had done for and through them. 1798 is a Stone of Remembrance for us.

    Having said that, Rachel raises an interesting idea that might be pursued. Perhaps 1798 just becomes prominent on the House Logo as part of the house (a house number for example). This would offer the opportunity to allude to it in conversations or answer the question of its meaning to the curious.
    Thanks for the opportunity to comment.
    Vance

  • http://www.michaelhyatt.com 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.)

  • http://www.jameyclay.com 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.