Principal Financial Group has fired “Eddie”

Screen Shot 2016-03-10 at 12.32.26 PMSteve’s breakdown: So what’s next with Principal? New logo, no more Eddie – just a “P”.

Well you know what they say, new logo = new adverting. Okay, I know no one says that but you get the picture.

DES MOINES, IA: Principal Financial Group is getting a new look.

The Des Moines-based insurance and asset management company is retiring the signature blue triangle — known as “the edge” — that has symbolized Principal for the last 20 years.

In its place, Principal will now sport a simple “p” logo with a rounded curve. It is the first change Principal has made to its logo since 1985, back when the company was still The Bankers Life Co.

Principal employees were the first to see the new look as they came into work Wednesday. The company unveiled the logo as employees logged in to their computers, starting with workers in Sydney, Australia and ending with those on the West Coast.

The company has about 14,900 employees worldwide, including about 6,000 in the Des Moines metro area.

The effort to update Principal’s look started last year, Chief Marketing Officer Beth Brady told the Register.

Brady said the company wanted to find a look that would unify Principal’s different businesses, but also work throughout the world since the company has offices in multiple countries.

“As we did this research, we really discovered that who we were way back when we were first put together as a company is the same as who we really are today, but we hadn’t done a very good job of expressing that,” Brady said.

Brady joined the company at the end of 2014 when Principal’s mascot was Eddie, a cartoon character it retired in 2015.

“When I started, we were expressing ourselves through a cartoon character,” Brady said. “He did a great job for us for a lot of years, but he doesn’t’ work as well in some foreign countries. He doesn’t work as well in some of our businesses, but he was how we were expressing ourselves.”

As for “the edge,” Brady said the concept didn’t fit as well with Principal trying to portray itself as more embracing.

In addition to the new logo, Brady said Principal’s updated brand will include an emphasis on more realism and simplicity. That includes using more pictures of everyday life and more “plain speak” in the company’s advertising and marketing.

“We’re really trying to simplify everything that we do. Corporate speak can be jargony, it can be overly verbose. The reality is people want ‘just tell it to me straight,'” Brady said.

Just as it took time to develop the new logo, it will take a while to fully roll it out across the company, Brady said. Everything from physical signs to business cards to Principal’s website and email signatures will have to change.

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