There comes a time in the evolution of many businesses when the visual representation of the company just isn’t working. Certainly the longer a company is around, the greater the possibility exists that a refresh every once in a while can help keep customers engaged, and provide the perception of a forward-thinking company that hasn’t resorted to resting on it’s laurels. Even global giants like Pepsi and Shell, that have been around since the late 1800s, regularly go through the process of freshening shapes, colours and fonts. Think of the almost imperceptive changes to the Google font that are an ongoing occurrence, and this over the course of a much shorter existence.
There was a time that if a company had established a strong, professional and relevant visual identity, that no further action was necessary, short of perhaps only ongoing implementation and maintenance. This does not seem to be the case any more, perhaps the result of an instant gratification generation who seem easily bored, who are bombarded with thousands of messages daily, and who may thrive on newer and fresher experiences than their predecessors.
1. A Poor Existing Image, Reputation or Culture
A reset may be needed if a business has determined that it suffers a poor reputation for reasons such as inferior products or services, unethical business practices, human resources, legal issues or the corporate culture is need of change. There’s a chance that if any of these are the case, no amount of lipstick on the pig is going to improve the reputation and a total “do-over” may be in order. This could include a name change and totally new visual identity. Of course if the company hasn’t pulled up it’s collective socks to show improvement in any of these areas, this too may still be a lost cause.
2. Change in Ownership, Merger, Acquisition, etc.
If it’s been in operation for any length of time and achieved some level of success, or failure for that matter certainly, there’s a chance a business could change hands. At this point, new management could decide whether they want to maintain the current name and visual identity for continuity if the company is seen favourably, or that it might be the opportune time for a reset to establish a new direction if perceptions have soured.
3. Direction Shift – Change, Addition or Subtraction of Product, Service or Market
Companies sometime need to re-invent themselves when their offering changes, or where they are offering it. It becomes important at this point to change the visual presence to match the new direction.
4. Visual Identity is Dated or Irrelevant
There is a certain value in maintaining a positive brand, but when it becomes tired and dated, just the opposite may occur. If the company doesn’t want to be seen as washed up or backward, it might be time to improve its appearance.
5. Global Opportunities
If new markets open up internationally, the current name and logo could have negative connotations due to language or cultural differences. Significant research is often required to determine ideal names and visual identities that work on a global scale.
The reasons to consider a rebrand are numerous, but any new direction should be met with careful consideration for all stakeholders, employees and customers, particularly where perception is involved. Osborne can help if you need assistance with your re-branding efforts.