This is a question that often confronts many executives as their business evolves over the years. In today’s world, where businesses have to adapt daily to new technology, new products and new services, many times a brand line, which successfully described the older company, is no longer relevant.
The question to change a brand, especially one where years of marketing dollars have been spent to support that brand, should not be taken lightly. There are a series of questions that should be discussed prior to making that decision. Is my brand still believable? Does it truly reflect my current business or where I expect to be in the next few years? Is my current brand line detrimental to my growth? Have I successfully marketed my brand, and how will changing it affect my business?
One option to consider is whether you need a new brand or can evolve your current brand that might be a far less risky. Examples of brand evolution include Fortune 500 companies like General Electric. In the past evolved the brand line “We bring good things to light” to “We bring good things to life”, before finally changing the brand completely to “Imagination at work”. GE, which started as a manufacturer of light bulbs, now offers hundreds of products from light bulbs to jet engines. It was clear that as the company expanded into new fields, a brand that would not limit that growth needed to be created. Their new brand line puts no limits on the company’s growth. Other examples of brand lines with no limits include Nike’s “Just do it” and the universal “Swoosh” symbol and McDonald’s current brand, “I’m lovin’ it”.
If you make a decision that your brand line needs updating then make sure you choose a new brand that can successfully evolve with your company. Remember the basic rules of branding, starting with the question, is my brand believable? Creating a brand line that successfully represents your business now and in the future is your main goal. Creating a brand that makes your company seem too perfect or does not truly reflect your product or service is only going to create consumer disbelief, and in the long run need to be changed. It is easy to feel that you are the best at everything or your products are the best on the market, but it’s better to find a niche where you do exceed the competition, and then create a brand that accurately depicts that.
When thinking about your brand you need to look at all facets of your company’s business and make sure all materials live your new brand. Things to consider include; How is my new brand positioned? How should my new brand be presented? How do I market the new Brand? How should my employees and customers experience the brand?
Start with the basics; new stationary, business cards, signage and point of purchase materials, brochures and your website. Anything that a customer might see needs to live the brand. Do not launch your new brand until everything is in place. Make sure your employees understand your brand message and support the brand in everything they do. Become a brand guru and preach the need to live your brand in all aspects of your work. A great brand with no support will fail miserably. If you do your homework, you will create a brand that can last for generations. If not, you will continue to have a brand with little relevance to your consumers and it will ultimately hurt your sales.