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Deere's deer goes airborne; Melroe name retired in favor of Bobcat Co.; Cummins drops "Engine Co."

While it might not seem obvious, many companies spend a great deal of time and effort on such things as logos and trade names. Though it may seem odd that a company that manufactures excavators, for example, could become fixated on such an apparently minor detail, in another sense it's completely understandable. Things like trademarks and tradenames represent the company to its customers and such images, particularly ones with any amount of equity, are seldom trifled with lightly. Examples -- the Mack Trucks bulldog, Mobil's flying horse, Chevrolet's bowtie, etc. -- abound.

That's why it was interesting to see three of the icons of the industry recently make changes to the look, and in two other cases, to the names of their companies.

In mid-July, Deere & Co. unveiled its new trademark, the first alteration of the familiar jumping deer logo in 32 years. The Deere deer is now leaping not landing and shows a more aggressive posture. The readily recognizable whitetail buck has its front legs bent and rear legs extended as though the animal is jumping forward. The old logo, in use since 1968, showed the deer with front legs extended, which evidently was seen by some as landing after a jump. The box surrounding the deer is more rounded and the words "John Deere" are now out of the box. The green and yellow colors remain the same.

The change was a two-year project by Deere Chairman Hans Becherer, who in light of the millennium, decided an update of its symbol was needed without sacrificing many of the features that make the logo so readily identifiable.

Since the trademark last changed, Becherer noted, John Deere has grown from a farm equipment company focused mainly on North America to its current status as a global manufacturer of a range of construction and turf machines, financial services and special technologies. "The deer in this updated symbol displays high aspirations. It is a symbol for a company that is determined and energized to run fast and run smart," said Robert Lane, John Deere's president and CEO.

In June, Ingersoll-Rand made an even more significant change to one of its most widely recognized holdings, when it renamed Melroe Co. The Fargo, N.D.,-headquartered manufacturer was rechristened the Bobcat Co., reflecting the name of the well-known compact equipment line.

"Over the past four decades, equipment users around the world have come to recognize the familiar Bobcat brand," said Chuck Hoge, president and CEO, Bobcat Co. "It made sense for us to promote one company and brand name worldwide."

Indeed, while it seems a shame to lose such a venerable name as Melroe, the change probably will resonate with customers since the Bobcat equipment line has a very high profile within the industry. In fact, the Bobcat name has become so synonymous with skid-steer loaders that in many parts of the county, local phone books list skid-steers under the heading "Bobcats" -- whether made by Melroe or not.

Though Melroe Manufacturing Co. was founded in 1947, Bobcat didn't become an official brand name until 1962.

In addition to the new name, Bobcat Co. has introduced a new logo. The brand signature logo reads "IR Bobcat," reflecting the company's parent company Ingersoll-Rand Co., Woodcliff Lake, N.J. The new Bobcat logo is part of IR's new corporate identity system -- being rolled out worldwide this year -- which is an effort to better associate the company's premier brands with their respective businesses and to create more uniformity in their application.

Finally, in early August, Cummins Engine Co. Inc., became Cummins, Inc., reflecting the more diverse nature of the company's products and technologies, according to Tim Solso, Cummins' chairman and CEO. "Cummins Engine Co., Inc. has been a leader in the diesel engine industry for over 81 years," Solso said. "Changing our name to Cummins, Inc. acknowledges that we are also a leader in other global markets, including filtration and power generation. Today, while engines remain our core business, we are more than an engine company, and our new name reflects our continuing diversification.

"The best example of our continuing diversification is illustrated by our revenue base," said Solso. "Thirty years ago, only 8 percent of Cummins' sales were derived from products and services outside the engine business. Today Cummins' power generation and filtration and other business units account for almost 40 percent of total sales."

Cummins, was incorporated in 1919, was named after its co-founder Clessie L. Cummins.
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Title Annotation:companies change logos, names
Comment:THE POWER OF IMAGE.(companies change logos, names)
Author:Brezonick, Mike
Publication:Diesel Progress North American Edition
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 2000
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