When is it Time to Change Your Brand Identity?
All too often I meet business owners who think that because they hired a logo designer when they started their company over a decade ago, they’re done with “branding” their business. For the next ten to twenty years, they’re “all set” and it’s one of those business decisions they’ll never need to make again. That may be true, to a degree, if you’re a household name like Ford, McDonald’s, or Apple, but it’s not true for the rest of us.
We tend to underestimate the power of our company’s identity and the impact it has, especially on an untapped customer base. Even great trademarks need to be updated, if for no other reason than to tell the world, “we’re not getting older, we’re getting better!”
Say you have a friend who likes his favorite suit. He paid a lot for it 10 or 15 years ago and has great memories wearing it. Is it wise of him to keep wearing it? Sure, it’s a little tight and the lapel is on the big side, but it’s “still a good quality suit,” right? Unless you have a very close friend or an enemy who’s going to be 100% honest, how will you learn that you look like a pudgy disco-king?
How do you know when it’s time to update your logo? Here are five indicators that business owners should regard if they really mean business about maintaining and building a strong brand identity.
1. You should never need to apologize for your logo.
If word ever gets back that people “just don’t get your logo,” pay attention.
If you don’t have quality logo files that maintain the graphic integrity and your logo is inconsistently displayed in various media, you are jeopardizing your brand’s credibility.
If your employees aren’t wearing the cool shirts you provided because the logo looks dated, you’re chipping away at company pride and missing an opportunity to strengthen your company’s culture.
2. It’s been over 10 years since the logo was first created.
Ten-plus years in business is a perfect time to review whether the company’s identity is appearing outdated. It is surprisingly common for business owners to think that if they change their logo, people won’t recognize their brand. Not true, if the upgrade is done well. When a business upgrades its identity, it sends a powerful message in the marketplace and creates momentum internally with employees–having a positive impact on the company’s brand.
3. The business is anticipating a move, merger or going to be sold.
Moving or adding a location requires updating everything from stationery to signage. This is a perfect time to consider an identity redesign. A merger, depending on the stature of the companies, will mandate a need for brand clarification and signify that new and better things will be happening. An updated identity is a no-brainer. When selling, any business that is going to be on the market will glean more if its identity is up-to-date and consistently implemented. It’s called curb appeal.
4. Your company has changed or grown in its offerings.
As a company grows, it evolves, and often this maturation leads to significant changes in the business. Additional product or service lines could mandate new markets, which should mandate new messages. This reason to change is the toughest for business owners to see. Often it’s gradual, taking place over time. Sadly, by the time it’s realized, the competition has dominated the market.
5. Your competitors have upgraded their brand identity.
Don’t let this happen: do it before your competitors do! Forward thinking businesses set the pace for their industry. This will include a progressive and continual analysis of a company’s brand identity as well. If your company delays in a critical updating of your brand identity and message, it’s likely your competition won’t. If your competition takes this step before you do, they look like the leader.
Midway Rotary (now Midway Engravers), a Michigan Manufacturer, updated their logo to reflect their new technology and progressive company.
PROBLEM: After 35 years, Midway Engravers had progressed technologically and decided to undergo a corporate identity upgrade. IGD was hired to update Midway’s identity, explore names, and to create a trademark which conveyed the unique attributes of their products & services.
SOLUTION: IGD created a shorter, more effective sub-line and explored representational trademarks which captured the die-cutting process during the symbol development. The new identity is now creatively distinctive and relevant to its industry.
A distinctive and credible brand identity is only one facet to a business’ success, but it’s one that everyone sees. It’s imperative to maintain your company’s identity intentionally and not just let it happen, or let it go. Failure to do so will automatically lead others to define your brand, and cost you market share you may otherwise command.