What if an existing brand no longer supports your business goals?
Have you recently created new services, products or digital solutions and felt that an existing brand might not be quite right anymore? You are noticing that companies around you are evolving, changing, and their actions and faces change over time - should you change your brand too? You can read more about what the brand is from our previous blog post.
We often do service design and digital projects with the client, and in the process it becomes clear that the concept of the existing brand no longer supports new goals, such as newly created innovative services, products or platforms. How to proceed?
What is the difference between brand refresh and rebranding?
Though the two terms are similar, the differences are quite significant. Brand refresh is like giving your company a facelift – core values remain the same, but you will get a new logo, font or modern colour palette logo. Rebranding is basically leaving everything you’ve built so far and starting again from a scratch, composing a business analysation and researches – you need to create totally new feeling, visuals and brand strategy.
It's all about timing. Our client City24.ee decided in favor of brand refresh so that they could keep the elements that are already well known on the market. City24 was in the process of updating digital service platform. As everything was going to change for the platform users, it was good timing to refresh the visual appearance too. A modern platform and modern brand goes together. Updated CVI is more modern, logo has its distintiveness and can be used as a icon in the apps etc.
When is a brand refresh needed?
The reason for a brand refresh is actually just the need to keep up with the market - how else can you keep your competitive advantage when everyone else are upgrading their services, products, brand, and using innovative communication channels and ways to reach existing and new customers.
Even conservative and long-established companies can convey with a well-thought-out message that old traditions are valued, but they can also connect old with the new. The reason for the refresh may also be simply that the current WCAG requirements provide specific recommendations for color contrast etc.
In summary, a brand refresh could be considered if:
- The brand is outdated but still well known
- Brand image has not been consistent
- The target group has changed over time
- Competitors have changed
- The services and products have changed
- The new digital solution requires an appropriate visual identity
- The company is developing, for example, an expansion or merger is expected
The brand refresh potentially leads to:
- A more modern visual identity and image of the company, keeping in mind the existing core values of the company
- Gives customers confidence that you are a business expert and can keep up with changing market
- Reaching to the new customers
- New breathing within the employees and company in general
Spotify brand refresh
In 2013 Spotify updated their design, focusing on the radio waves motif and kept the green and white solution. In 2015 the brand consultancy group Collins refined the 2013 logo design – they implemented a large color palette. While green is their primary color, they are now using successfully the duotone technique, gradients and pop art graphics. These techniques have helped to pull the brand together as Spotify represent a large spectrum of styles.
When is a rebranding needed?
Rebranding is a complete redesign, so it needs careful consideration and more resources to create a brand and especially to implement it. The reason for rebranding can be the desire to reposition – to change the perspective of an existing or potential customer in terms of the service or product offered, to enter new markets, to grow the service or product portfolio and also to differentiate oneself from competitors.
When Airbnb rebranded in 2014, it was very controversial both inside and outside of the design world. Now it's easy to look back and see that they made the right decision to move away from the then trendy script logotype to the more iconic stylized "A." Simplifying the logo from words to just an icon was done with a purpose of eliminating language barriers and making it universally recognizable, so that any culture or country can identify with the Airbnb brand.
Read more from DesignStudio homepage.
In summary, rebranding could be considered if:
- The brand is outdated
- The target group has changed and your goal is to address a new target group
- Competition is growing strongly and more uniqueness needs to be emphasized
- Desire to market new products and services
- Existing marketing methods no longer work
- Entering a new market
- Desire to create a sub-brand
- The company is developing, for example, an expansion or merger is expected.
Rebranding potentially leads to:
- Creating a new brand strategy - shaping core values, mapping target groups, monitoring competitors, positioning, creating uniqueness and value proposition
- The need to change the name (if necessary)
- A new modern image and visual identity
- Speaking the „language“ of new markets and segments
- A new way of breathing and acting within the company
In 2015 it was announced that the Statoil branding would be phased out, and replaced by Circle K as part of a global rebranding scheme involving all Couche Tard-owned retailers. Till April 2017 Estonian service stations were under Statoil name. We all might still remember how stations turned into Circle K branded stations step by step.
How the process for brand refresh might be?
The complexity of the process depends on the extent to which upgrade is needed. Different service design methods are used, co-creation workshops and discussions would take place. To sum up, the process consists of the following steps:
- Preparatory activities – reviewing the materials and agreeing on the purpose of the refresh and what remains from the old brand
- Revaluation of brand differentiation – target groups, positioning, strengths, differentiation, value proposition
- Monitoring competitors - comparing competitors gives a good input on what are the new trends in your business field. The goal is to use good ideas, but also to ensure the differentiation of the renewed brand
- Updating tone of voice
- Updating the visual identity
- Introducing a new brand to employees and customers
- Updating visual identity carriers
- The alignment of activities with the new brand strategy, for example the way the service is provided, must be in line with the new style of talking and writing too
How the process of rebranding might be?
Rebranding is very similar to creating a totally new brand, so the process is thorough and time consuming. Here too, various service design methods are used, co-creation workshops and discussions would take place, and some researches or surveys are also required.
- Preparatory activities – reviewing the materials and agreeing on the purpose of the new brand
- Creating the foundations of the brand – formulating values, mission, vision and work culture
- Brand differentiation analysis – who are the target groups and what are their needs, competitors and their advantages, market position, strengths, differentiation and value proposition of your company. A market and competitors’ research and a customer satisfaction survey may also be needed to get the input
- Creating a brand messages - composing a company's story, character, tone of voice
- If necessary, changing the name
- Creating a visual identity
- Introducing a new brand to employees
- Launching a new brand for the customers
- Updating visual identity carriers
10. Aligning all activities with the nature of the new brand.
If you feel your brand needs a refresh, to be created or just a review then feel free to contact us anytime.