Zimbabwean companies seem to be on a rebranding or rather a debranding leash with multiple big corporates in the country doing reductions on their once iconic logos.
From Mukuru to ZB Bank and now the Cotton Company of Zimbabwe (Cottco). The trend which was arguably kick-started by Zimnat has seen multiple companies announcing rebranding projects with some of them hastily done.
Most of these “rebrands” are just mere logo redesigns with no change at all in service delivery or customer service two important aspects when it comes to brand image.
Calling them rebrands is quite a stretch.
This might not be the case with Cottco. They promised to change their ways including paying local cotton farmers on time for their produce.
This is actually a commendable and tangible promise quite different from just promising to make customers “happy”.
It is also an important promise to make because if they actually live up to it, it will eventually result in a change in the company’s brand image.
This is more effective than just redesigning your logo and maintaining your old ways. The company had become notorious for paying farmers late and most growers had dumped cotton because it had simply become unviable.
This point was reinforced by agriculture deputy minister Vangelis Haritatos as he urged farmers to cultivate the crop promising them early payment from the Government if they did so. “Better days are coming,” he said.
On the new logo, they got rid of their old font which had a lot of sharp edges and the illustration of a white ball of cotton.
This is actually a move in the right direction because complex 3D illustrations on logos have simply become outdated.
They adopted a more rounded font (probably a comic sans) which goes hand in hand with their promise to treat cotton farmers better because this font is more inviting and friendly.
The catchiest part of the logo are the two letters “t” which come together in the middle forming an illustration of two people holding hands. This was hands down a creative move from the design team showing how serious the company is when it comes to community building with farmers.
This illustration shows some signs of effort from the designer unlike just laying a lazy curved line on a logo and calling it a “smile” (I won’t mention the company).
In terms of scalability and legibility, the logo works well in a variety of sizes as it is not overly complicated. That’s what I like about it.
Another catchy aspect on the new logo is the tagline “Transforming Communities”.
Once again it shows how the company wants to build communities of cotton farmers where they actually treat the farmers better than they were previously doing.
Cottco board chair Sifelani Jabangwe even promised stakeholders at the rebranding presentation that they were moving away from past mal-practices.
The company has been recently embroiled in corruption scandals with two bosses of the company who were picked up by the Zimbabwe Anti Corruption Commission (Zacc) over alleged misappropriation of the company’s resources and funds.
I hope this rebrand is truly sincere and not just a PR attempt to get more positive press.
Community building is a focal point in the rebrand with most of the symbolism and messaging on the logo about community building. I hope they are really sincere about this community-building thing because I’m starting to feel like it’s just being forced down our throats.
Too much community on the logo. I’m also not sure if this community building means they’re going to be allowing cotton farmers to grow the more viable GMO Cotton (something they seriously need to consider by the way).
One thing I don’t like about this logo is that it’s too green. A little contrast wouldn’t hurt especially on the tagline.
They could have picked a different color for it (or got rid of it completely).
To be honest, Cotton farmers don’t care how nice the logo looks, they just want to be paid on time.
Overall I give the logo a solid 7 out of 10. Better than their “cheesy” counterpart ZB Bank and not quite at the Zimnat standard.
Leslie Mupeti is a graphic designer and brand strategy expert. He can be contacted on +263 785 324 230 or email on [email protected] for feedback. His Twitter and Facebook handle is @lesmupeti