The Power of a Brand (a.k.a. Don’t Be Afraid of Change)

I recently took on a brand reinvention for a client of mine. They are a fairly traditional organization, with over 100 years of history behind them. There is a lot of heritage in the brand currently that generates repeat and multi-generational business, but at the same time in order to grow, they have to be relevant to new customers today and in the future. While they know this intuitively, making the change isn’t quite as easy.

It’s been an interesting strategic project, and I partnered on it with a great creative agencyout of Delray Beach, FL. They presented an entirely new brand identity for the client, complete with a new series of logos designed to better represent the entity than their current logo (which is fairly generic, yet widely accepted). The new logos tell the story of the company, and showcase their key differentiators at a glance. Frankly, from a strategic perspective, the new logos are spot-on. We’re going through some tactical adjustments, but they really represent the first stage of this dynamic new brand identity.

But, as you may imagine, as we shared the new logos with a wider set of individuals, we got a pretty broad range of reactions. Everything from “I love this, it’s so creative, fresh and relevant!” to “I hate it, it’s cheesy and I would never wear it.” That’s to be expected whenever you take on a brand reinvention like this. People get attached to the current brand, because it’s what they know. If it’s not broken, why change it? Well, here are three important questions that companies should ask themselves when considering a new brand identity:

  1. Does your logo tell your story? Not every logo is baked with heritage, but many of the ones we love have a story behind them – even if you don’t realize it. A strong story behind your logo makes for a great introduction to your product or service, and certainly distinguishes you from your competition.
  2. Can everyone in your organization clearly explain what makes you different? This is a good one – often times founders and leadership at companies have dramatically different views of what they do than the rank and file. Yet we all know as marketers how important consistency is to your brand. If people are talking off different pages, a logo can help bring them together and remind them of the key points of the brand.
  3. Where do you want to be in the next 10 years? As consumers, we are literally bombarded with messages and images at an unprecedented pace. Yes, your current logo may be instantly recognizable. But it’s probably also becoming visual noise. If you aim to grow and stay relevant, your logo has to evolve and change with the times. What’s considered classic today becomes dated tomorrow. And even brands that we think of as static really have evolved over time.

I’m looking forward to seeing where the brand finally nets out for my client. The logo is just the first piece of a new brand story – website, collateral and content are going to be just as (if not more) important than the logo itself. But it’s always fun, always interesting and always a challenge when you take on a project this extensive. But it’s also a critical part of growing any business for the future.