Successful digital brands are built in great part on continuous software improvements and updates. But what happens when a top web brand’s logo itself has not changed since its 1.0 inception? This was the situation for eBay.
After more than a decade of growth, global adoption and inspiring countless entrepreneurs to launch their own businesses on the site, eBay’s leadership realized the need to bring the venerable logo in line with today’s offering and all the new tools for buying and selling in the eBay marketplace. It was not a decision they entered into lightly.
Expressing for today, defining for tomorrow
When eBay Marketplace engaged Lippincott, the ask quickly went beyond a logo update or redesign. eBay leadership and Lippincott both came to the agreement that the decade-old logo was clearly out of step, not only with the present eBay but with the brand’s future strategy and direction. The broader strategic assignment was for Lippincott to look deeply at the brand’s story, personality, visual identity and content strategy to help reposition the brand and signal a new chapter in the business.
Paralleling Moore’s Law, today’s digital brands are seeing a regular “doubling” effect of competitive pressures thanks to consumer expectations and social platform influence. eBay was no exception. Coupled with these factors, familiar auction-style listings, used goods, vintage items and quirky, one-of-a-kind finds had become only a part of eBay’s business offering. In fact, most of the items sold on eBay were now new. All of these factors made it critical for Lippincott to focus the brand and codify its requirements for eBay’s ongoing success.
We synthesized research and led workshops with executives, employees and agencies to more clearly articulate the brand’s story and personality. The team developed a streamlined set of personality attributes and a clear brand narrative that tells the story of the reconceived brand strategy. All these steps preceded and guided the visual magic that would follow.
Renewed from the inside out
While eBay had grown into one of the world’s largest online marketplaces, its innovative culture was not reflected in the decade-old brand. For Lippincott, this meant that more than a logo update was required. A full design system update, content assessment and strategy were essential to better convey eBay’s transformed brand.
Lippincott’s design approach was inspired by today’s vibrant marketplace and focus on richer but simplified experiences. We carried forward the iconic color arrangement to reflect eBay’s heritage and revitalized the broader visual system to create streamlined arrangements that enhance visual harmony. This personality comes to life in words and copy, with a focus on dynamic expressions that are approachable, smart and most of all human.
To unveil the refreshed brand identity, Lippincott created a launch approach, core messaging and microsite focused on placing the logo evolution in the broader strategic context. The site encouraged the media and customers to not just reconsider eBay but to understand its vision for more personalized shopping. eBay employees enjoyed first previews of powerful visual applications of future concepts, such as billboards, shopping bags and iPads, which were displayed on digital monitors throughout the campus and on the brand’s Facebook page.
eBay’s logo evolution was highlighted in international press, including Reuters, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Forbes and The Wall Street Journal. The brand microsite received hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the world, with many discussing the logo on Twitter, Facebook and other social channels. And eBay recorded a staggering 26 million new active buyers in the year following the new brand’s launch, equating to a 25 percent growth .
On campus and with customers, momentum continues to build for eBay’s bold future vision. The company launched its first-ever branding campaign, “Shop the World,” building off of Lippincott’s positioning work. eBay’s vibrant colors and touching letters represent the connected and diverse eBay community — more than 150 million active users and 25 million sellers globally and growing.