Viva la brand revolution? (Or not).

Brands with purpose need to constantly evolve to keep relevant in a fast paced and ever-changing world.

So, when the time for change with your brand arrives, how far should you go?

Before you get started, you need to properly understand the reasons for change.

Is it because you feel your brand is tired and outdated? Have you outgrown it? Or is there a more fundamental reason – a change of business direction, M&A activity, a slump in sales?

All of these are perfectly valid reasons, but what do your particular circumstances mean for your brand?

Do you need a brand evolution? Nuanced and subtle changes to how you look or are perceived in the market? Or, are you looking for a brand revolution? Exactly what it says on the tin – a major change in direction, a big bang, an opportunity to shift perceptions.

So, the question is: evolution or revolution?

And the answer is: listen to the strategy.

Defining your strategy needs to be the first stage of any branding exercise. To put it bluntly, you can’t work effectively on your brand without careful consideration and you should avoid creative agencies who say you can.

Don’t view this as a laborious, administrative task – getting in the way of the exciting creative stuff. Done properly, defining your brand strategy is a rewarding and fulfilling process. A combination of interactive workshops, research and distillation will provide unique insight into your company – from an internal and external perspective.

The defined strategy will help you understand the four pillars which are essential for a purposeful change to your brand:

1. Your target audiences

  • Who are they and how are they segmented?
  • How do your audiences currently perceive you?
  • What are their issues and concerns?
  • What are their needs and motivators?

2. Your market

  • Who is your competition?
  • How do they position themselves?
  • Is there an accepted and generic language within your industry?
  • Can you break away from that language without damaging your brand or alienating your audience?

3. Your offer

  • What are your services?
  • How do you organise and articulate them?

4. Your difference

Most importantly, what is it about your offer that is truly distinctive, true to you, true to your personality and your values? What do you have that’s motivating for all audiences and sets you apart from your competition?
How can this central difference inspire employees and appeal directly to different audiences?

If you can get to grips with these four pillars, then you can understand if your current brand is fit for purpose. Then you’ll know if it’s time to evolve or time for real change. Viva la brand revolution.

Example 1: Evolution

If you want an example of a brand which has seen a true evolution throughout its entire life, then look no further than Shell Oil. From a very rough drawing of a mussell shell in the early 1900’s the Shell brand has evolved continually into the iconic and instantly recognised brand of today.

Example 2: Revolution (IMHO) Getting it right

The Co-Operative goes back to the future. When the Co-Operative rebranded in 2017, they turned the clock back to their classic clover leaf branding of the late 60’s to great success. The rebrand, by London based North Design, is a great example of how a rebrand can breathe a new lease of life into an established organisation.

Example 3:  Revolution (IMHO) Getting it wrong

It doesn’t always go to plan. As this quick forray into a new brand for Gap demonstrates – with the new logo launched on 9 October 2010 and swapped back on 12 October 2010.

A poorly managed rebrand project – or a great PR exercise?

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