We have seen a lot of rebranding lately – everything from Nabisco freeing their historic circus animals to Uber redefining their mission. In a bold move this month, Nabisco removed the cages from their iconic red box to align their message with current views on the mistreatment of animals in the circus industry. Over the past year, Uber has responded to a maelstrom of negative press surrounding the safety of their ride-hailing program by taking on the new slogan “We do the right thing. Period.” (New York Times) Logos and brand taglines are the visual representations of businesses and are the two most important visual aids in developing a brand. As culture and corporate landscapes evolve, branding must follow suit.
The need to rebrand, however, does not affect large-scale companies alone. According to Visme, “90 percent of all information transmitted to our brains is visual. People remember 80 percent of what they see but only 20 percent of what they read.” (SmallBizTrends) Companies, large and small, need a memorable logo and a quick slogan to stay top-of-mind for consumers. Brian Lischer, contributing author to Forbes put it best: “…there is one immutable truth about modern day business: Every company has to rebrand itself at some point.” (Forbes)
Deciding When to Rebrand
But how do you know when it is time to take the leap and rebrand? There are many reasons to change your signature mark including mergers, bad reputation or negative image, international expansion, and even a change in leadership.
There are myriad resources available detailing the reasons to rebrand, but two reasons stand out among the rest: a brand is either outdated or increasing competition and market changes have rendered branding ineffective and unmemorable.
The easiest way to identify an outdated brand is whether or not your branding requires some level of excuse or explanation. As Lischer reminds us “If reaching for your business card makes you cringe, or if you feel the need to explain why your website is outdated when you share your URL, it’s a good sign you’re ready for a rebrand.” (Forbes) Your brand should inspire confidence, regardless of how it is presented, be it a business card, your website, or your brochure. Whether your brand no longer reflects your updated products and services or it simply looks out-of-date, it is time to refresh.
According to Brand Strategy Insider, a leading source in branding trends and insights, “Trends mean that over time brands come across as old-fashioned if they have not been updated.” In fact, some of the longest-standing, most recognizable companies have rebranded several times. According to Entrepreneur, the fuel-supplier giant Shell has updated its logo eight times since 1909 to keep its image modern. Even further, Pepsi’s logo is now unrecognizable from its first iteration in 1898, evolving from a wordmark to a clean and modern icon. If your brand requires an explanation, it is time to take a page from these corporate leaders’ playbook and update your brand.
Increased competition in your industry or changes to the market can also pave the way for new branding. Increased industry competition across all verticals requires, now more than ever, that businesses create branding that stands out. Nichole Rodrigues of the Forbes Agency Council, advises that businesses “Build a brand that can live and has a strong presence – online, offline or wherever.” If your company has updated its products and services, changed leadership, expanded to new markets, or is facing new cultural pressures like Nabisco, it may mean your logo no longer represents your business and it’s time to rebrand.
An Important Note on Rebranding
Mashable, a global, multi-platform media and entertainment company, notes “We live in a society painted with brand logos. Even toddlers who can’t yet tie their own shoelaces recognize many logos or are able to deduce what a company sells just by looking at its brandmark.” If your logo is a representation of an old business model, an old philosophy, or old products and services, it is no longer providing the value of recognition. If a consumer cannot immediately recognize the product or service you provide in a market flooded with competition, they are likely to choose a business that is more identifiable.
Kelli Corney of the Forbes Agency Council advises “The most important thing to understand is that a brand isn’t something you make up out of thin air… A brand is one very simple thing: the truth. It’s just who you are. And just like people, brands have complex identities. A good agency will not only discover what that core truth of your brand is but they’ll create tools for you to express it.” As an integrated marketing agency specializing in branding, we couldn’t agree more. Branding must evolve in the same way businesses develop over time and consumer expectations change. Increasing competition means new and innovative players are hitting the market every day – don’t let your company fall to the back of the pack due to outdated branding. If you are considering refreshing your brand or want to learn more about the process take a look at our portfolio and contact us!
Ocreative is a Milwaukee marketing agency, with expertise and broad experience in developing digital marketing strategies, and growing their online presence, for their clients. The company’s core values include offering the highest level of customer service, award-worthy quality, and performance that surpasses client expectations. Ocreative is located just outside Milwaukee, and works with clients locally, nationally, and globally. Their clients have access to some of the most fun and knowledgeable professionals around – ones who inspire, educate, and problem solve. The agency provides marketing and brand strategy, advertising and design, website design and social media, and video expertise to their clients, fulfilling their desire for business growth, and their aspiration to make a mark on their industry.