Whenever a company is created, a logo is also created for that company. What is unusual though, is for that logo to remain virtually unchanged for ~183 years. For Berkshire Hathaway though, that’s exactly what happened.
Whether you are looking at the colors of Berkshire Hathaway’s logo, the font, or the other features, you are looking at the same logo that helped grow the conglomerate to popularity tons of decades ago.
What has grown to be one of the most widely recognized logos today, has a humble story of how the company and logo came to be. Berkshire Hathaway is one of the most (if not the most) successful investment firms in the world. Led by Warren Buffet, the company started as a textile manufacturing firm and grew to be a multinational, holding company. Berkshire Hathaway’s logo is everywhere and while you may not have known much about the company behind the logo previously, after this article you will.
Keep reading below to learn more about this iconic investment firm and how the firm was able to keep the same logo for more than 180 years.
Meet Berkshire Hathaway
To understand Berkshire Hathaway and the company’s mission, it’s important to know more about the company’s CEO, Warren Buffet. Warren was born on August 30, 1930, to Howard and Leila Buffet. Born in Omaha, Nebraska, Warren graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School with a strong interest in business studies. This interest first developed as a young child. At the young age of seven, Warren read his first business book, One Thousand Ways to Make $1000. Reading this book kickstarted his entrepreneurship career path. He understood the retail industry after working in his grandfather’s grocery store, and he took this knowledge with him into his adolescent business ventures selling chewing gum, soda bottles, magazines, newspapers, and more.
While he read his first business book at the age of seven, it was at the age of eleven that he bought his first investment stock. His first purchase were three shares of an oil company purchased for $38 per share. He sold the stock at $40 a share but he learned a valuable lesson from this purchase. After he saw that stock grows to $200 a share, Warren learned that patience is a powerful thing when it comes to stocks.
His next investment came at the age of fifteen. When Warren was 15, he invested in a 40-acre Nebraska farm for $1,200. After this investment, Warren attended college and read all the business books he could find to learn all that he could about business. In 1947, Warren attended the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He eventually transferred to the University of Nebraska before later attending Columbia’s Business School, where he graduated with an advanced degree in Economics.
Upon graduating from Columbia’s Business School, Warren established his first investment company after sourcing funds from family members and investing $100 of his own money. As he worked on growing his investment firm, he eventually moved over to Berkshire Hathaway to lead that firm in 1965.
One of his earlier moves with his leadership of Berkshire Hathaway was moving it into a holding firm. Warren’s practice is based on value investing, which he learned in school. He led his associates in identifying shares in undervalued companies, acquiring those shares, and making a profit. This value-based investment approach allowed Warren to diversify Berkshire Hathaway’s portfolio. Since he joined Berkshire Hathaway, he has focused the company to put its efforts on insurance and other investments, rather than textile manufacturing. Throughout his leadership, Warren expanded the company into an empire. He expanded into other markets and today, Warren himself is worth $117 billion and is the sixth-richest person in the world.
In Warren’s personal life, he married Susan Thompson in 1952. The couple have three children together, Susan, Howard, and Peter. After Susan passed away in 2004, Warren married Astrid Menks in 2006.
Berkshire Hathaway’s Evolution
1839: Valley Falls Company is founded
While everyone associates Berkshire Hathaway with being an investment company, that isn’t how the company started. Founded in 1839 by Oliver Chace in Valley Falls, Rhode Island, Berkshire Hathaway was originally founded as a textile manufacturing firm under the name Valley Falls Company.
1955: Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. is officially formed
After a merger between Berkshire Cotton (also known as Berkshire Fine Spinning Associates) and Hathaway Manufacturing Company, Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. was founded. This merger allowed Berkshire Hathaway to have 15 plants, more than 12,000 employees, and to generate over $120 million in revenue.
1964: Warren Buffet purchases Berkshire Hathaway
Warren Buffet formally purchased Berkshire Hathaway in 1964. When he purchased the company, he decided to keep the same name. With this purchase, Warren was able to use Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. as his primary investment vehicle. Warren first became interested in Berkshire Hathaway in 1962, after Warren first began to buy stocks of the company.
Three years later in 1967, Warren led Berkshire Hathaway to the purchasing of two companies. The first insurance company that Berkshire Hathaway ever purchased was The National Indemnity Company. Following this purchase, Berkshire Hathaway also purchased the National Fire & Marine Insurance Company.
1985: Berkshire Hathaway closes their textile operations
To focus the company on insurance and other investments, Warren decided to close Berkshire Hathaway’s textile operations.
1996: Berkshire Hathaway continues to purchase companies
In 1996, Berkshire Hathaway purchased GEICO, another insurance company. Two years later in 1998, the company also purchased General Reinsurance.
1996: Berkshire Hathaway introduces their Class B stock
Before 1996, Berkshire Hathaway only had one stock, their Class A stock. In 1996, a second stock was introduced, Class B. With Class B’s launch into the stock market, Berkshire Hathaway offered 517,500 shares to the public. Having two stock options allowed their investors to choose the stock that best suits their needs. While the Class A stock is priced at a premium, the Class B stock is a more affordable option for more investors. Because Class B is priced lower, it doesn’t provide its investors with as much voting power. Furthermore, buyers of the Class B stock can’t convert their stock into Class A stock. The one caveat is that Class A stock purchasers can however convert their stock into Class B stock.
2022: Berkshire Hathaway continues to be an industry leader
Every decision Warren made for Berkshire Hathaway was an intentional decision to help the firm grow – and his strategy worked. Berkshire Hathaway has over 360,000 employees today and generates an annual revenue of about $268 billion. As if that wasn’t enough indication of a company being successful, Fortune ranks Berkshire Hathaway at number six on their list of Fortune 500 companies.
Roadblocks Along the Way
While Berkshire Hathaway’s evolution is a story of strategic decisions that helped skyrocket the company to becoming an industry leader, the company hasn’t been immune to encountering roadblocks. Being an investment company, Berkshire Hathaway has been impacted by the stock market. When the stock market crashes, Berkshire Hathaway hurts and vice versa. The one difference between Berkshire Hathaway and other companies is that Warren Buffet leads Berkshire Hathaway and Warren has a great track record for keeping his company on course.
The Meaning of Berkshire Hathaway’s Logo and Berkshire Hathaway’s Logo History
Unlike other companies and brands which sometimes opt for flashy and elaborate logos, Berkshire Hathaway’s logo is simple. Its simplistic components have helped to make it an influential logo that has been able to stand the test of time. This logo may seem basic but because it has clean features, is highly legible, and is very scalable no matter the marketing medium, the logo has been able to remain the face of the brand without ever having to go through any updates.
Below we take a closer look at this timeless logo and how this logo came to fruition.
1839 – Present: The first (and only) version of the Berkshire Hathaway logo
Berkshire Hathaway has been around since 1839 and just like the company itself, Berkshire Hathaway’s logo has also been around that long. The reason why the company has been able to stick with only one iteration of its logo is that it has minimalistic components that convey the seriousness and professional nature of the greater Berkshire Hathaway brand.
When a logo hasn’t been updated for more than 180 years, the logo becomes the trusted face of the brand. You’ll notice that the logo only features the brand’s name, with the first letters of each word (the “B” and the “H”) being slightly larger than the other letters. Given the professional nature of the business, it makes sense for the company to have a logo that is traditional, professional, reliable, and serious.
2014: The first (and only version) of the Berkshire Hathaway Home Services logo
While Berkshire Hathaway’s logo was never updated, when Berkshire Hathaway Home Services was launched in 2014, an additional logo was also released. It was important to have a second, separate logo because Berkshire Hathaway Home Services is a subdivision of the greater company. If Berkshire Hathaway decides to expand again at a later point, it’ll be understood by consumers that the classic logo is the parent company.
This Berkshire Hathaway Home Services logo incorporates many of the stylistic components of the parent logo, yet it adds a little more creativity to the brand with its rounded letters and use of initials. With this logo’s release came a new marketing campaign tagline that was also introduced, “Good to Know.”
Berkshire Hathaway’s logo font:
Like the classic components of the Berkshire Hathaway logo, a classic font was also chosen. Times New Roman is the chosen font for this logo. While most of us are familiar with the font, if you are not, the font is a serif typeface that was designed for and used by, The Times, which was a British newspaper.
Berkshire Hathaway’s logo color:
When you look at the Berkshire Hathaway logo, you’ll notice three official colors that are used. The first color you see is white. Depending on the marketing medium the logo is printed on, white is sometimes used for the background color, and other times is used for other elements of the logo. White is often associated with feelings of safety, purity, trust, humility, possibility, and cleanliness. A second color you will notice is a dark blue hue. Blue is often chosen by similar companies within this industry because blue conveys feelings of inspiration, confidence, stability, intelligence, freedom, and loyalty. A final color that is featured on the logo is purple. Purple is a common color choice to embody power, luxury, royalty, wealth, dignity, and wisdom. These three different color choices together help convey the core pillars of the Berkshire Hathaway brand without blatantly stating them across the logo.
Berkshire Hathaway’s logo symbols:
The only symbol featured in the Berkshire Hathaway logo is a circle. Even the circle though isn’t featured in the classic Berkshire Hathaway logo. Instead, the circle is featured in the Berkshire Hathaway Home Services logo, a subsidiary of the greater brand. Circles signify inclusiveness, wholeness, unity, and eternity. These are all cornerstones of the Berkshire Hathaway Home Services brand.
Berkshire Hathaway Today
Warren Buffet remains the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway today. As mentioned earlier in this article, Warren first began investing as a young teenager. He went on to become a millionaire by the young age of 30, and today he is credited as being the most successful and wealthiest stock investor alive. His net worth is estimated to be $117 billion.
Not everyone who invests can achieve the same success that Warren found. Each day, millions of people invest in the stock market, whether on their own or through an investment agency, like Berkshire Hathaway. Warren grew Berkshire Hathaway to what it is today and as a result, he has become one of the wealthiest people alive.
Today, Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. continues to be what Warren first purchased it as – an American multinational holding company. With its headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska, the investment first owns a variety of brands across a variety of industries.
Lessons Learned from Berkshire Hathaway
Whenever a company never updates a logo, there are lessons we all can learn. The reason why a company never has to update a logo is that the logo works and has gained popularity with individuals all over the world.
How Berkshire Hathaway did this was by making smart decisions along the way. As the company restructured its focus, the company developed a plan to roll this new focus out to its customers. Furthermore, by using the same logo for this rollout, Berkshire Hathaway was able to let their customers know that the new Berkshire Hathaway had the same Berkshire Hathaway team behind it that their customers knew and trusted.
While the logo may look simple at first glance, the logo is clean, recognizable, and professional. These characteristics were essential to developing brand loyalty as a professional services firm. One other lesson to incorporate into your own logo to help yours also stand the test of time is to make sure you are choosing a timeless font and features that are scalable no matter what marketing medium you use.