Maintaining brand relevancy is a continuous journey


June 7, 2018 // Thought Leadership

Change keeps life interesting and helps us stay current with the times. It broadens our thinking and allows us to better define ourselves.

The same goes for brands. Even the most famous brands in the world periodically change to remain relevant. Look at the logos for companies like Coca-Cola and Ikea through the years and how they’ve changed. If you want to go a little deeper, read how they referred to themselves and represented their companies over the years. You’ll see much has changed. They’ve kept their brands fresh and relevant, and in the process maintained a close connection with their customers.

When it’s time for a brand to be revitalized, it’s not as easy as simply updating a logo or changing the letterhead. Successful brand re-engineering requires a compete examination of a brand and its strengths, as well as employee engagement from every department.

Uncover the greatness

A brand isn’t created, it’s discovered. A good place to start is a brand assessment that identifies a company’s greatest strengths, from the perspective of leadership, employees, customers and the industry. It identifies key strengths and opportunities. An in-depth immersion into a company’s products and services adds to those findings by identifying differentiators that set the brand apart from the competition. These differentiators may have gone undiscovered and unleveraged for years.

Engage and celebrate

A crucial step in re-engineering a brand is engagement. Larry Light, former CMO of McDonald’s, said, “For a brand to be successfully revitalized, everyone needs to be on the same page.” That includes employees and customers. For employees, an internal brand launch is the best way to engage them with the new branding, get their buy-in and guide them on the best way to communicate it to customers. This is an important time in a company’s history, so celebrate it, make it special for employees, get them excited and on board with the new branding.

Many brands, from Nike to Sony to Skittles, use brand books as a kind of litmus test to ensure they’re living up to their brand promise. It’s a company’s playbook that helps them get everyone on the same page and consistently representing the brand.

Introducing new branding to customers is another crucial step in brand re-engineering. An updated brand can be met with support or criticism from customers. When customers are used to seeing a brand represented in a certain way and don’t understand the reason behind the change, it can be unsettling and alienating. That’s why it’s essential to clearly communicate the thought behind the new branding. When Airnb launched its new Bélo logo it explained the story behind the new symbol with an engaging video and an infographic on their website. The company’s CEO created a webinar explaining the logo’s purpose. It even allowed customers to go on the website and create their own unique symbols and stories using the logo.

Beyond the visual changes, like updating a logo, signage, website, etc., there’s a palpable energy that comes with re-engineering a brand. It gives it new life and new relevance in the market. Brands that continue along a journey to remain current and relevant will rise and surpass those who remain complacent and count on yesterday’s success.