February 2, 2023
7 Mins
Brand Insights
Is Modernization More Important than Brand Recognition?
Kia’s new logo is significantly less recognizable than their old logo. Did the car company hurt their brand recognition by trying to modernize their look?

Kia recently unveiled a redesigned logo, drastically changing the look of the logo that the car brand used for nearly 30 years. While the brand updated their logo as a hat tip to their dedication to innovation and change, perhaps this particular change muddled consumers’ brand awareness more than it stirred their excitement for Kia innovations to come. Since the new logo was unveiled in 2021, about 30,000 people search for “KN car” on Google each month, suggesting that some people think the new “IA” in KIA is actually an “N”. Verasight recently conducted a market research study that quantified how much confusion exists with the new logo.

Image shows an orange and black Kia sedan with the brand’s previous logo on the trunk.
"2011 Kia Optima 'Slam Dunk' Hybrid -NRMA New Cars" by The National Roads and Motorists' Association is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Recent Verasight data suggests that brand recognition dropped by 27% with the new Kia logo, underlining the importance of high quality market research as brands seek to innovate while maintaining strong customer recognition. While Kia reportedly spends over $100 million in advertising in the US each year – including a rumored $7 million 2022 Super Bowl commercial which drove searches for Kia up nearly 1,000% – their updated logo may weaken the effects of this advertising.

 Image displays findings from a recent Verasight survey which shows that logo recognition dropped from 99% to 72% with the new logo.

Would Kia have made different choices in their logo redesign if they incorporated market research into their decision-making process?

Avoid potentially costly mistakes like this by using Verasight’s data team to provide valuable insights.