The Royal NBC


NBC is not just one of your favorite channels; it is a huge global corporation with stations airing right now in almost every corner of the globe. As of this month, it is owned jointly by Comcast and General Electric (two unlikely bedfellows) and has adopted a new name and corporate logo design to give the parent brand of Telemundo, SyFy, NBC (of course) and a variety of other stations the corporate clout and serious feeling it deserves.

The name has changed very little, losing the space between ‘NBC’ and ‘Universal’ to create a one word name with no partition between the two brands. However, while no one protested the loss of the Universal globe, getting rid of the peacock has resulted in a fair amount of outcry. Many feel that the image was too iconic to be so suddenly cast aside, and the protests are approaching the level we saw less than a year ago when the Gap changed its logo design for a few days.

It should be noted that the familiar and apparently loved peacock will still be present in the logo design for the NBC network; it is the parent corporation that is killing the bird. The new NBCUniversal corporate logo features the name of the company in a rich royal purple. Because peacocks are associated with royalty, this maintains some of the feeling associated with the previous brand, although on a much more subtle level. The new font is distinctly corporate, in thick letters with pointy accents and serifs. Called ‘Rock’ after NBC’s Rockefeller Plaza, it has been developed both with and without serifs to give the company logo more versatility.

We think the corporation can afford to lose their old symbol, and here’s why: the NBCUniversal logo will not be interacting with customers on its own, but rather as a part of other network logos. The stations owned by NBCUniversal—and there are a lot of them—can now show their logos along with ‘a division of NBCUniversal’ in small lettering below. This hopefully will allow the company to tie together its brands a little more and take its place as a media conglomerate on the scale of Disney and its other competitors. It gives NBCUniversal and NBC a little breathing room.

Meanwhile, little old NBC—the home of Seinfeld and a variety of shows that most of us don’t watch—will keep its peacock. So call off the alarms; you’ll still be seeing the peacock on your television screen, just not at the corporate headquarters.

Rebranding is an important part of growth. As we have seen with several other companies recently, it is important to distinguish a parent brand from the divisions it manages. More important, it gives more clout and, when used with other logos as the NBCUniversal logo certainly will be, helps to pull several distinct brands together under one general umbrella. If you are planning for a long and distinctive future for your company, professional logo design and branding are an important investment.