Change can be scary a thing, especially when it comes to your business. So when do you know if it’s the right time to change or tweak your brand identity? Should you make minor adjustments or do you require a complete redesign? A brand refresh could include anything from a logo update to a complete overhaul of the look and feel, new website, imagery, colours, communications, or consumer interaction. There isn’t a one “right” answer for every company, but there are some indicators that will help let you know it’s time for a refresh.
#1 You Didn’t Call the Pros
To save some money in the early days of your business you may have skimped on the branding process, e.g. your logo and/or website was created by your sister-in-law’s second cousin who just happened to have a little design software experience. When it comes to your company’s image, it’s a good idea to seek help from professionals in the field who have the correct tools and skills to create a cohesive and comprehensive brand. Perhaps your logo was created by a professional, but 15 plus years ago – trends change with the times and you need to as well. If your logo hasn’t changed in over a decade, it’s probably outdated. Imagine if companies like Apple or Burger King’s logos hadn’t evolved over the years? They would still look like this!
#2 Growing Pains
With company growth, a new product offering, or service changes, outdated branding can work against you; as your business evolves, your branding should evolve along with it. A good example of this would be a company we have come to know as FedEx. By 1994 Federal Express (FedEx) had quickly grown into a large organization offering many services all under different names, causing confusion among their customers. Through refreshing their name and logo into a new identity, they encapsulated all their services under one consistent name - FedEx. To this day, the instantly recognizable FedEx identity is still going strong.
#3 Missing the Target
Are you reaching your intended target audience or are your advertising efforts being spent on the wrong demographic? A refresh may be the result of needing to reposition yourself in the marketplace. Quite often companies will consider reevaluating their marketing strategy when they experience low or declining sales. Some reasons that lead to this shift include; ageing consumer base, increased competition, and advancing technology. Or as in the case of Buick’s brand refresh, they decided to leverage the general consumer attitude (that their vehicles we’re not trendy or stylish) to their advantage and broke into a new, lucrative, younger market.
Buick launched a campaign that endearingly poked fun at themselves with ads accompanied by the tagline, “That’s a Buick?”. They aimed to shift consumer perception away from the notion that they only made vehicles that appealed to an older generation. The Buick brand and was successful in reaching a younger demographic. Post-campaign, the average age of a Buick customer decreased from 65 to 58, mainly due to the entrance of new customers in their 20’s. Over the past 3 years, Buick has seen a 43% increase in global sales. Today, Buick is a star within the General Motors portfolio as their second largest international brand.
#4 You’re Not Standing Out
Is your company in a crowded or competitive marketplace? Is your brand standing out in that crowd? You’ve spent a lot of time, energy, and hard work to build your company, so it’s essential that it not blend in with your competitors. By creating and upholding a unique brand identity you’re setting yourself apart and adding value to your products and/or services.
A great example of a brand standing out is the Toronto Raptors “We The North” campaign. The campaign was rolled out slowly but quickly grew into a phenomenon that swept through the Canadian sports community. From #WeTheNorth hashtags on social media to television ads, and t-shirt slogans, the concept embraced more than basketball fans and became a mantra for Canadians.
Instead of staying in the pack with the rest of the NBA, they embraced their unique position as the only Canadian NBA team and rebranded around that. The Raptors even went on to have the best season in their franchise history, making it to the conference finals, and some could argue, proving the powerful effectiveness of brand messaging.
If you are experiencing all (or even just one of) the four indicators described above, then it is time to consider a brand refresh. While changing your brand won’t be the silver bullet to solving your woes, it can be a great way to guide an organizational pivot, attract a new audience or modernize your look. It’s a springboard for success and when done properly, through extensive research and a thoughtful strategy, rebranding can help skyrocket sales, gain market share, and build brand equity.