Is Your Brand Evolving?
Brand image and identity tie in heavily with business success. After all, the brand is the story you’re telling to engage with the audience, from tangible items like the name, logo, and website to intangible components of your company that help build a connection between company and customer. But a brand should not be a static thing; it needs to grow and adapt to match current trends. As your business grows, your brand will undoubtedly evolve but even if the company itself is not changing, your brand may need to.
Is it time for a brand audit?
Things to consider if your brand is evolving:
As you review and analyze your image, keep in mind that brand growth is a good sign. It means your strategies have worked and you are enjoying a stronger position in your industry. This could be an indication that you can give back more. Maybe you can expand your in-house team. Or open a new location!
But with the good comes a little bit of bad. Or rather, there are a few potentially bad things you want to be on the lookout for. Does your old language hold true? You’ll have to go through all of your materials and update the language. This can be tedious but consistency across all branded materials and platforms is necessary. Do you have outdated brand touch points? Your website and collateral will certainly need to be changed to reflect the new direction your business is heading.
Speaking of consistency….do you have a consistent brand message across all marketing channels and platforms that you use? A key cornerstone of building a strong brand is consistency. As a brand, you want to build a trusting relationship with consumers as well as an easily recognizable image and, thus, a seamless brand experience. Our tip? Create a brand style guide for providing a cohesive digital experience.
Where does your brand stand in history? If your brand is evolving, you aught to take a look at its placement in history. Does your company remain politically correct? (The Washington Redskins name and logo controversy comes to mind…) Examine the current political and cultural landscape and determine how your brand fits in and if changes are needed. Also think about global brand reception; how is your messaging received around the world?
What can you learn from your competitors? That’s right – you can actually improve your brand by learning from the competition. Watch what they do. Identify tactics that were successful and ones that weren’t. Use this to offer greater value. Points of differentiation are often all that a consumer remembers about a brand but there’s actually more to competitive positioning. Marketers, do you understand the frame of reference that your brand works in? Do you address the features your brand has in common with the competition?
Evolving your brand is easier said than done. It requires much self examination and a hard look at your current processes and overall business strategies. Realizing that the tactics that worked in the past might now work now – and that’s okay – is the first step. Just…don’t try to evolve your toothpaste brand into a frozen entree brand, like Colgate did back in the 1980s. Yeesh, was that a disaster.
Now that you’re aware of these potential pitfalls and questions to consider, I know you’re set to actually change your brand.
So, what are your options?
- You can evolve the brand by making small changes that are suitable to internal and external audiences.
You don’t necessarily need to do a 180 from your current brand. You may just need to freshen up your look a bit, perhaps modernize your logo to reflect current styles. Your target audience needs to be able to identify with and connect to your business. So, to have effective messaging, you need to be apprised of current design trends.
As you make small changes to your identity, keep in mind that you don’t want to lose brand recognition. You’ve worked so hard to build brand awareness that a drastic change might undo all that. You want people to still recognize you (unless you don’t, more on that below).
2. You can rebrand entirely.
Clearly, this is a larger task. Often it’s necessary when a company goes through a major change (e.g. a merger) or maybe your company is trying to leave a bad reputation behind. If you’re considering a complete brand redesign, don’t lose sight of your core identity (it’s so easy to get swept up in the latest and prettiest design trends.)
Remember Gap’s logo fail of 2010? The retail giant made a drastic change to its brand, one that was not well received.
Minimalism is great and all but this was alienating and too radical for Gap’s fan-base. During any rebranding keep your business’s core image and values at the forefront of your mind.
I’ll leave you with this great example of brand evolution:
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Just as people do, businesses grow and change over time and their visual identity should too. If your brand is evolving and you need someone to help build a strategy, get in touch! Or, enjoy our free rebranding materials, available below.