Never underestimate the power of a good logotype. Logos, which provide a business with the means to instantly communicate its identity and branding, are the most powerful marketing tool known. The merger between Citicorp and Travelers Group, and the need to create a unified design representing the combined entity, led to one of the most innovative and memorable logotypes of record.
What’s in a Name?
While Citicorp, throughout the 1980s and 1990s, was undoubtedly one of the strongest financial services firms to expand and grow by customer addition and retention, the organization also added tremendous revenue by buying up other profitable concerns. In fact, Citicorp’s success in this arena during an era dominated by mergers and acquisitions is still a case study in flexible, sustained increase.
Enter Travelers Group
In 1998, Citicorp announced that it would merge with Travelers Group, a well-known insurance and financial concern, with tremendous potential for cross-selling and additional service offerings at existing locations. Every successful merger requires that the organizations’ operations be married at all levels, but what might stand out the most about this combination was the new entity’s legendary branding and logo.
Creating an Icon to Last
The design team that toiled to visually represent the merger of these two giants had several approaches they could take: Retire both icons and create an entirely new look and feel; take the colors of one and carry them over to the style of the other; or combine the two icons and create an emotive, solid look to the merger, one that would last for years to come. Decades, as it turned out. The stroke of genius that resulted incorporated the original feel of Citibank from the 1970s and 1980s and Travelers’ well-known umbrella icon.
This red umbrella was so beloved that several years after Travelers left Citi, as soon as it became available again, Travelers bought it back. Citi retained a red swash over its name, and the grace, simplicity, and power of its logo also endures.