Bye-bye gumtree, hello mulberry bush?

20 Apr 2017

In March this year we reported (here) on the revamped website of Gumtree South Africa, featuring a new, modern look, new features and two new income streams – listing fees in the categories jobs and services. (Users listing more than two ads in any of these categories, have to pay a small fee.)

New Gumtree U.K. logo, introduced early last year

From today, Gumtree South Africa also has a new logo.

Old-fashioned, but well-recalled Gumtree logo

The logo switch might well be called “radical” by some. The new logo is not a rework of the existing logo, but a complete step away from the old. The mother site, Gumtree U.K., treated itself to a similar, new logo (in similar fashion, ie. from one day to the next) about a year ago.

In the U.K., the new logo wasn’t liked by all. Some users felt the Gumtree of the old logo was replaced by “just any old tree” in the new logo. Here you can study the process Koto Creative, the London-based design studio, went through to get to the new logo. If you scroll down to the comments, you’ll see that Gumtree’s “radical” switch wasn’t risk-free.

New Gumtree SA logo, as from today

Anton Rupert, the uncrowned king of marketing in South Africa for many decades until his death in 2006, preferred the staged revamp of a well-recalled logo, to arrive at the new logo only after a few months (maybe even years), and so prevent consumer confusion, and even rejection.

Along the way, he would have confronted the consumer with a number of slightly changed logos, in a process which culminated in the final, new logo after a period. Along the way he would have measured market reaction, to avoid getting to a point he’d rather not be, but from where there is no return.

Maybe, all of this is unnecessary in the digital era, in which change is the norm? Maybe, user experience is what it’s about on the web. And not so much product image?

In any event, Gumtree SA would not have followed in Gumtree U.K.’s footsteps, if the switch in early 2016 was less than successful.

This is what Gumtree SA had to say: “Our logo hasn’t changed since 2005, even though the site underwent multiple revamps in recent years. The new logo is similar to that of Gumtree U.K., except for a unique color palette, which was inspired by the South African landscape.”

Read the “message” of Johan Nel, GM of Gumtree SA, on the site blog (here), for the complete motivation behind the move.

Something else: Gumtree SA also introduced a new, two-step listing process today, which makes the listing process even quicker.

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Christo Volschenk

Christo Volschenk is managing editor of the news on Aimgroup.com and our senior analyst covering Naspers. He brings more than 30 years of experience in business journalism to the team. The last 17 years he focused on classifieds and e-commerce. Apart from working closely with AIM Group, Christo is a freelance journalist, online editor, and translator. Before branching out on his own, he spent 15 years with Naspers in South Africa, where he worked as journalist, economics editor and online project manager. He now spends most his day editing the news reported by 18 colleagues in 18 countries from his base in Stuttgart, Germany.