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Logo rebranding: Neuro Impact and Refinement

23 June 2018
By Brainsigns

Logo Rebranding: Neuro Impact and Refinement

For a large company a rebranding exercise for a new logo is a crucial task. In January 2016 Telecom Italia launched an initiative after three years of strategic study, focused on evolving their brand to that of combined services, having previously been positioned  separately as Telecom Italia and TIM. The company chose to maintain one of the two previous brand names, TIM, but with a new graphic icon refined through traditional marketing research methods combined with a Neuromarketing test. As with many large companies worldwide they have previously had experience using neuromarketing research over a number of years. This study is an example of insights obtained as results of Neuromarketing tests, and then successfully applied to choose and refine the best design of a new TIM brand logo.

The company performed a long process of selection among a large number of different logo ideas, over more than two years. Ultimately, two alternative symbols made the short list. (fig. 1) 

A final-stage research study with two different methods was planned:
1. Quantitative surveys with a pre-defined questionnaire, on two independent samples (web-based with 400 subjects each). 2. A Neuromarketing test, developed by BrainSigns, combined with qualitative interviews (36 subjects in two Italian key cities, using eye tracking, EEG, HR, and GSR). The main goal of the two studies was to provide insights to establish whether one of the ideas was strongly preferable to the other. Additionally we needed to understand the pros and cons of each option, according to the target sample’s instinctive and unconscious perceptions, not solely based on their claimed opinion. The studies were constructed to consider the impact of different kinds of images characterized by the logos inserted in different touch points and also by stand-alone logos in two different color ways.

The web survey evaluated i) Liking; both overall and in the context of a series of brand values and image attributes ii) the logos’ meaning decoded and its fit with the brand and iii) comparisons with other logos.The Neuromarketing test was asked to measure visual decoding (eye tracking), emotional impact (HR and GSR) and approach- withdrawal reaction (EEG).


The results guided a series of decisions towards the final logo selection. With respect to the web surveys, Logo1 resulted better than Logo2 in a large battery of items related to image attributes. Indeed, overall liking (declared appreciation of “High” plus “Very High”) under 50% for each logo: 46% overall liking for Logo1 and 41% for Logo2 (fig. 2).

On balance, the survey results favored Logo1 but with can overall liking not strictly better from a statistical point of view. The client decided to submit Logo1 and Logo2 to further Neuro-testing, together with a different version of Logo1 graphic, now with round shaped borders. In the Neuro tests, a total of three logos were studied: two versions of the first Logo1 idea, and only one version of Logo2 (fig. 3)

According to this Neuro test, the overall results were:
- Logo1a (identical to the one tested in the survey) had a better response respect to Logo2 and Logo1b, in terms of eye tracking and emotion indicators. 

- Logo1a and Logo2 were less powerful than Logo1b in novelty (i.e. Logo 1b more innovative) (fig. 4).

Moreover, Neuro testing gave additional insight about the perception of the graphic icons in “stand alone” format, i.e. when shown without the word ‘TIM’. In this format, the icon from Logo1b obtained the best results on both emotion (measured by HR and GSR) and also in EEG approach - withdrawal (fig. 5). 

This result was a little controversial but was more clearly understood with follow-up interviews performed after the neuro testing session. Two testers (among all 36 participants) said that they appreciated the round-shaped icon of Logo1b but preferred Logo1a. They explained that it was because of the greater coherence between the sharp border of the Logo1a icon and the sharp borders of the characters composing the brand name. Another tester also judged Logo1b (the rounded icon) as rather “fastidious” because it lacked coherence with the borders smoothed in the graphic icon and style of TIM characters. The marketing team, aware of the power of unconscious insights, requested a further refi nement of Logo1b, retaining the icon’s rounded border and smoothing the edges of the characters. This modifi ed version was then tested on a quantitative web survey with results that demonstrated overall liking much higher than before 55% (+9%) and better positive measures in all image attributes (see Fig. 6a/6b)


This study is a good example of how traditional methods in combination with Neuromarketing techniques can really improve the impact of marketing research. Without performing the Neuromarketing test the results of the survey would have marginally favored Logo1a with sharp corners icon, because of the small diff erence in the overall liking results. However, combining the results of quantitative surveys with a Neuromarketing test, provided the insight to aesthetically refine and strengthen the impact of the final version which in the final decisionmaking process has been firmly endorsed by top management and become the logo selected for the renewed TIM brand (fig. 7).

This article was originally published in the Neuromarketing Yearbook 2016. Did you like it? Order the Neuromarketing Yearbook 2018 here!