How Do You Know When to Update Your Brand?


Everything changes. Birds molt and lizards change colors, styles go in and out of fashion, cartoon characters change with the times—look at Mickey Mouse, he is different now than what he was in 1928. Even established companies’ that are decades old change their identity to match with the times: Aunt Jemima, Prudential, UPS. It is all in the Power of Image! Here are three circumstances that indicate it’s time for you to update your identity:

1. You’re part of a merger.

Without going into the many issues around mergers, if you have a new company you have a new identity whether you want to admit it or not. One company does not swallow another to make it disappear (though they do try and the bigger companies are more successful at this than smaller ones). The concept of a merger is that you blend together the two organizations (easier said than done of course but that’s another issue). Therefore just slapping the buyer’s logo on the bought company’s stuff doesn’t cut it. That action is just a very visible reminder to the employees of the bought company that their company has been taken over. There needs to be a transition strategy around the change, of the company, its brand, and the experience.

2. There’s no way to tell your company apart from your competition.

If your offering has become a commodity and the data tells you that your customers are having difficulty seeing what makes Brand A different from Brand B, it’s time to help them out by visually differentiating yourself better. Or, if your brand looks and/or sounds like your competitors and they just got into trouble it is vital that you protect your company, your brand, and your reputation! Have you ever stood in the grocery store unable to choose between two brands of rice you can relate to the feeling your customer may be facing? We are very visual creatures and we make a lot of value judgments based on the visual images we see. Rationally you know that a torn label does not mean there is anything wrong with the product inside but you still reach for the can with the intact label every time, don’t you?

3. The customers you attract aren’t the customers you want to serve.

If your sales staff is well trained and you’re confident they’re doing good work, but the bulk of your customers are complainers who drain your organization, perhaps you’re attracting the wrong customers. Most consumers, and even businesses, are price sensitive to a degree, but if the price is the prime motivator of your customers you are headed into a dangerous place. Your existing identity may be working against you by attracting people who are price-driven turning your product or service into a commodity--which they can get anywhere!

Your brand’s visual identity must work effectively with the verbal messaging and delivery of your product or service to clearly communicate your position in the market--it needs to tell the whole story. Attracting the customers who most want to do business with you and who will be happiest with what you provide.

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