Think of some of the most iconic brands known all over the world; Apple, Google, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Toyota, and Amazon are some of the most easily identifiable brands. These companies have created images, tag lines and whole personas that customers connect with. Google is a verb; red is the signature colour of coke; McDonald’s golden arches get the attention of drivers the world over; Toyota invites drivers to ‘go places.’ While the marketing budgets of these companies are generally in the billions of dollars, the strategy, creativity and recognition of the value of the zeitgeist have kept these brands front and centre of consumers.
All these companies have faced marketing challenges, too; some are environmental, some are based on health concerns, and others are political. All of these iconic brands have adjusted, reconfigured and even had a complete overhaul in order to remain relevant and stay in business.
There are many reasons a business might need to consider rebranding. If you are wondering if it’s time for your brand to be refreshed or even overhauled, but you aren’t sure if it’s right for you, take a closer look at this article.
Refreshing your website, logo, mission statement or even customer persona. When refreshing a brand, the objective is to capture customers’ attention and drive them to investigate, moving them into your sales funnel.
When a company is acquired or changes ownership, a redesign of a logo or full rebrand is launched to reflect that change and link the business with the parent ethos. A change of management or even an expansion into a new market can be a good motivation for making change as well.
There is a reason businesses rebrand or refresh. It is to better communicate the image of the business. Your reasons for a brand relaunch rest on understanding when the market is looking for your business to prove that it is still relevant.
Seasonal campaigns are a great way to freshen your image. Some brands, like Starbucks, take every US seasonal celebration to create a themed drink and food item and make minor changes to their logo. Google use their landing page as a regional hook, using celebration days, the birthday of significant figures and national holiday’s as an opportunity to change the ‘Google’ logo with artwork and well-researched blurbs. These types of campaigns engage audiences and can generate ongoing interest in a brand.
This type of seasonal campaign requires good planning and project management. There should be an update across all platforms simultaneously. Your email signature, social media and landing page should all have the same seasonal logo, colours and message. The coordinated reversal, between 4-6 weeks later, should be smooth.
However, smaller brands need to be careful about changing too often. By selecting a few special events during the year, you can maintain your brand identity but still have a seasonal campaign that piques interest and engages audiences.
You need to do an annual inventory of your brand.
- Is your website up to date with responsive design, and are auto-replies activated?
- Does your logo have an outdated colour scheme or type font?
- Are you offering products that are relevant?
Working with your core graphic and adjusting colours, type font and minor elements of your logo means that your brand remains recognisable while your image is fresh and relevant. Try not to fall into the trap of following trends like retro, vintage or minimalism – make your brand your own and select a style that reflects your core values.
The Nike logo is a great example of a basic graphic that is recognised worldwide. The Nike swoosh, based on the shape of a wing, has had simple changes over time – such as the addition and subtraction of type front, a box and the use of colour.
It was the company’s endorsement of superstar athletes in the 1990s that elevated the brand to the heights it enjoys today. However, the company’s commitment to an elegant graphic that forms the core of the brand identity makes it an example of how minimal design can capture the essence of a brand.
For No Reason
Sometimes a company leader just wants to make a change. There are a few questions that should be asked.
- Are all the people listed in your company profile still working for the company? Are their titles correct?
- Do you need to develop more products or services?
- Does your logo still represent your company values?
The costs of researching and rebranding is very high, and it is a huge commitment. It takes a long time to assess the data, select a new design and launch your rebrand campaign. Your brand identity is one of the most powerful tools you have to connect with your audience, spread your brand story and create an image.
Is It Time to Rebrand?
If you aren’t sure if it’s time to update your brand, these 10 tips might help you make the decision.
Your Logo is Too Intricate
The logos that work best are those that are simple. A detailed logo mark or word mark is difficult to fit on a banner ad, homepage, or favicon. Online businesses need to consider that if they want to adapt, add an app to their offerings or expand into the blockchain, having a clean design makes it easier to recognise.
However, don’t make the assumption that a simple design is going to be enough. Too many online brands are relying on their logos and not developing a brand story to support their favicon. Look at the home screen on your phone or computer. How many icons are sky blue with a white letter as the logo? How many are green? They all look similar, and users cant quickly tell them apart. Be original and create something that speaks for your business.
Design Over Brand Experience
Some brands focus on form over function. A beautiful design should not come ahead of the functionality of your site or app. If your app looks great but functions poorly, people won’t connect with the service and keep using it. Site navigation, load speed and easy access to key information are more important to your traffic than your logo.
Is Your Brand Messaging Working?
You need to tell a clear and consistent brand story at every touchpoint. An ineffective brand identity has a weak or inconsistent brand message.
- Do you know your brand purpose, vision, mission, and values?
- Can you talk about what you do effectively?
- Can you describe your brand in 30 words or less?
- What brand stories (aka selling points) can you brainstorm? Are these stories part of your site content?
Craft a strong brand message with a tagline, value proposition, and brand stories that support your brand goals. Compelling stories have been used for as long as human history to share messages of importance. Brands need to select their story and follow through with the narrative for each brand awareness campaign.
Do your website, app, and social media channels all tell the same visual story? Your visual identity means having a common element to your logo and brand on all platforms. This could include font, colour, typeset and tagline. Creating a common thread makes it easier for your traffic to identify your brand and know they are on the right page, tracking you online across social media, websites, apps or on their phone.
There is a difference between dated design and classic design. If your brand was trendy in the early 2000s, it is likely dated by 2022. The ‘retro’ look is no longer on trend. A sleek and modern design has become more attractive again, with the conservative and cottage style design of the past 15 years finally, thankfully, no longer interesting. Bold colours and clean lines are back in style.
You or Your Competitor?
Does your website stand out from your competition? While some business models, particularly in online fashion, rely on the ‘sameness’ of their websites to drive traffic, creating a unique look makes your website more memorable. That said, it is important to follow the conventions of your industry. People shopping online have certain indicators they look for on a site, such as the cart logo on the top right of the screen, a menu that lists products or services clearly, and contact details for your business. FAQs, policies and a clear description of what your business offers need to be stated on your eCommerce. However, your colour selection, layout and images can be your creative zone for carving out your business.
Your Brand Doesn’t Reflect Your Values
Your purpose, vision, mission, and values need to be communicated through your brand. If your brand does not capture these elements, or your direction has shifted, your brand needs reworking.
Make the most of the brilliant minds that use graphics, colour and typography to communicate a tone, mood and message.
You Follow Too Many Design Trends
Jumping between skeuomorphic styles to flat design, adding bold contrast and changing to monochrome can be overwhelming for your customers. Consistency is key. While refining your brand message is part of your early journey, creating a cohesive message across touchpoints should be a priority for driving traffic.
A good brand identity is flexible. It will be your strategy that is important when you have a
Flexible brand, because your image will be the foundation and the delivery will be the strategy. You might have to consider that entry into a new market could require some research and tweaking. A glocalisation strategy is essential to your success when working in a foreign environment. Certain colours communicate different things – such as white in western culture can represent purity, while in many parts of Asia, the colour is worn to funerals. It is important to understand how your brand message resonates in a new market to secure success.
You Don’t Have a Brand Style Guide
A style guide is the written template for your brand. This means that all employees understand what type font to use when sending an email, which sign-off is appropriate, and what colours represent your brand. This is important as it creates an image that customers use to identify you and to get to know your brand.
Do a Brand Refresh
Some final things to consider:
- Know why you’re rebranding.
- Start with your brand strategy.
- Learn to do a successful rebrand and know what mistakes to avoid.
- Get inspired by brands you admire and your competition.
- Launch your rebrand with a smooth rollout across all channels.
Know Your Market
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