Christy Kingsbury is a senior designer at Fixation Marketing. Her decades of diverse design experience and journalism degree make her an invaluable creative and communications resource for clients.
What’s in a brand? Well, a lot of things! More than just a logo, a brand encompasses your message and your reputation. It’s both tangible and intangible. It’s not meant to be finite, but rather to grow as your company grows. To stand the test of time, your brand should be able to evolve, responding to your customers’ needs and thinking ahead to “what’s next?”
The pandemic has pushed a lot of companies to adapt to new circumstances. No doubt it also made some of those companies rethink their brand.
So, how do you know when it’s time to reevaluate and refresh some or all of your company’s branding elements? Consider whether these criteria apply to you:
Great news—your services are expanding! However, if your identity doesn’t reflect your current offerings, you’re probably in need of more future-proof branding. Maybe you’ve been using the same tagline for decades that calls out one product, service or industry, but now you target a much larger audience and offer an expanded set of services. Or maybe in response to the COVID pandemic, you’re now conducting most of your business online instead of in-person. Regardless of the circumstances, a major shift calls for a review of your brand position.
If your clients/prospects can’t differentiate your brand from your competitors’, it’s going to be an uphill battle when it comes to building brand loyalty and recognition. Maybe your competition has grown significantly in the past year (hello, PPE companies!), and now you’re blending in—this is a strong indicator it’s time to rebrand.
Maybe your logo looked great in print, but now with online advertising opportunities, it’s just not working (or even fitting). With the dominance of web and mobile communications, the ability to shrink and scale your logo to fit a variety of platform demands is a must. In addition, if your logo has only ever existed as a small, bitmap image, it simply won’t scale without losing fidelity.
1. Figure out who is in charge of your rebrand. A rebrand is a huge undertaking; without experienced professionals at the helm, things can quickly get off track. It’s helpful to have an outsider’s perspective, a partner in your rebrand who will guide you in the right direction and keep you on track.
2. Perform a competitive analysis. In order to set yourself apart, you should research the competition. Maybe your top competitor has a circular, green logo with a thin, sans-serif font. Or perhaps there’s a common word or phrase that it seems everyone in your industry uses. It might be a good idea to steer clear of similar characteristics and also firm up your value and differentiators.
3. Conduct an internal Value Proposition exercise. What you discover in this stage will guide your next steps. What exactly does your company or product do or promote; what do you offer that makes you special? You should craft a statement that succinctly defines this, states who your audience is and describes what value your company brings.
4. Establish your brand messaging BEFORE your visual identity. It’s important to revisit all areas of messaging before moving forward with the design side of things. That old tagline we mentioned earlier? Time to revisit that.
5. Define brand guidelines. It’s important for anyone who will be using your brand to be able to easily interpret the guidelines and apply them to whatever format is needed. Without brand guidelines, you’re allowing a variety of interpretations and decisions to be made about your brand. For instance, in what environment it lives, and how/where it’s going to be implemented. Simply put, brand guidelines will help to maintain the integrity of your brand.
6. Introduce your new brand! From the outside, this will look like a “voila!” moment. From the inside, you’ll know how many months of research, planning and work went into your rebrand. It’s important to think through a proper execution of your brand launch, which could include a press release, coordinated social media posts, a blog, video, mailer and/or email, to name a few examples.