A brand is more than just a clever graphic depiction placed at the top of your website or on the front of product packaging. Instead, it’s the unique distinction consumers recognize your organization by. Just like you and I have personalities, so does your brand! The brand itself can be represented by a name, symbol, color or the combination of all of those elements.
Sometimes that combination can be referred to as “personality” and it can be extended to less tangible forms that we classify as the ‘brand voice’. This can carry through to the copy on your site, the verbiage you use in your marketing materials, the way you conduct yourself at work, or even customer service. For most companies, that personality is summarized using the logo mark.
Certain conditions arise during an organization’s life cycle that encourage a re-brand. Here are some common examples that we will briefly touch upon today:
Some companies maintain an edge that helps them retain pop culture credibility. Sometimes, great decisions at the time turn out to be more trendy than transcending.
Pepsi is a good example of this behavior. They often revamp the look of their logo mark by updating its graphic elements.Typography, colors and shapes change but the overall soul of the logo mark is still intact. The mark has been updated for the new generation without severing ties to the old.
An organization can benefit from an aesthetic re-brand in profound ways depending on how drastic the improvement is. Customers will be delighted, public curiosity will be piqued and it’s a chance to have a fresh conversation with your customers.
The Westminster brand team is well versed in this type of re-brand. We’ve helped companies and organizations breathe new life into their brand and revitalize their marketing efforts. AKF Partners is a recent example:
Sometimes, organizations change their product or service. If the brand is tied to an outdated concept or name, it should be updated to avoid confusion.
In 2011, Netflix announced that they were separating their original physical DVD rental service with a new Internet streaming service. They had plans to re-brand the DVD business Qwikster and allow the Internet streaming service to take over the iconic Netflix name.
Although the reasoning makes sense as their DVD delivery service is a dying segment, the announcement could have been handled more delicately. As it turned out, the decision was reversed.
Organizations can benefit from this type of re-brand by using it to announce their direction has changed. It can be used as a positive signal that confidently declares your organization’s new focus.
Westminster has worked in a similar capacity for the Mountain View Art & Wine Festival. The difference being that it is crucial that they use the brand to announce the upcoming event on a yearly basis and build excitement in the community months before the festival.
Sometimes an organization just loses some appeal over time. If other marketing methods fail to invigorate the brand, they might consider the a re-brand as a marketing campaign. This concept is similar to how local businesses advertise that they are “Under New Management” to let people know that they should expect a different experience while receiving the same services.
With any change, people are always curious to see what the difference is. McDonald’s did something similar a few years back with their “I’m Loving It” campaign. They were not performing well due to a couple of factors such as the documentary, Supersize Me!, consumer attitudes toward fast food and just general apathy towards them in comparison to edgier marketing campaigns by competitors.
The “I’m Loving It” campaign focused more on the intangible aspects of the brand like how they wanted to appear healthy as well as tap into the nostalgia and tradition of what McDonald’s means to a community.
A smaller organization can use this concept as a rallying cry to change momentum. It could be a change to the tagline similar to what McDonald’s did or something drastic like a new aesthetic direction.
In the example below, Westminster worked with the Junior Golf Association of Northern California to produce a cleaner, more refined version of their previous logo that would better appeal to their current audience.
Without warning, any organization can have an incident that is so reprehensible that they need to dis-associate themselves completely from what the public knows them as.
This is the case with BP, the oil company that suffered an oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico. Drawing from my own experience with their filling stations and television ads, I would have said that BP had an outstanding brand. They appeared eco-friendly, trust worthy and ‘safe’. Most people were probably shocked when they heard BP was behind this unfortunate incident.
Their name and brand is now synonymous with that disaster. Many business media outlets have advised that they should formally abandon the BP moniker/brand and start anew after reaching certain goals in their clean up campaign.
Re-branding is a very drastic change and organizations unfortunate enough to have such incidents occur should consider it a last resort. They would have to decide whether it is worth the effort to overcome lingering bad perception or start fresh.
We’ve all have that gut feeling when something just doesn’t feel right. Whether it’s the weird knocking sound in your car or the way your pet is acting, there are subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) signs that something is… amiss.
If your interaction with customers has been positive but wonder why it hasn’t translated to sales or perhaps your sales have been stagnant even with quality products and services… again, this could be a sign that something is amiss.
When things are “amiss”, finding out the nature of the problem can be very trying and at times — even emotional. However, despite being emotionally attached to your brand, organization leaders need to investigate the problem. Take a look at your competition from a customer’s point of view and interview loyal customers. Remember, your brand is what distinguishes you from all other organizations.
A re-brand can be a time-consuming, tedious and expensive task that not every organization is ready for. However, when it’s necessary and your team is ready for a change — it can be a positive, rallying experience for the entire organization. Think of this as an investment in to the future of your brand. It’s your baby after all.
We’ve worked with clients ranging from ground breaking software technology companies like Composite Software, to non-profit local gems like the Junior Golf Association of Northern California, to fresh enterprises like Fifth Element Soundworks.
Thinking it might be time for a re-brand of your own? Check out the Westminster branding portfolio and email firstname.lastname@example.org.