Over the course of the past few years, we’ve seen a lot of companies change their logo and/or websites numerous times – some as many as three-four times in as many years. And perhaps you’re thinking of doing the same? Or maybe you’re simply asking if you should or if it’s time?
Or maybe you’re wondering what the purpose of changing so often might be? All great questions.
dBefore changing anything, it’s important to consider – does changing your corporate identity benefit your customers/clients? Or does it just cause confusion? Are you doing it just because you’re bored an in need of a change.
But first things first. A lot of clients tend to use the words “brand”, “corporate identity” and “logo” interchangeably.
What’s the difference between a logo, corporate identity and a brand?
Your business’ brand refers to the emotional relationship between your business and your customers/clients. Your brand is an embodiment of who you are and the way your customers see and interact with you. Ultimately, your brand dictates your clients’/customers’ perception of who you are.
However, your corporate identity relates to the physical look and feel and overall aesthetics presented. Essentially, your corporate identity is the exterior reflection of your brand/persona.
Your logo is the iconography related to your brand. Or more simply the picture (icon) or particular typography your logo uses. You logo is not your brand. It is just a picture used to represent your brand.
So if it’s just a picture, why can’t you change what it looks like every five minutes? Well, in a nutshell, because, if you and your designer get it right, it will (and should) resonate not just with you, but more importantly with your target customers for many years to come. And if you flip about on what you look like or how your brand feels (to your customers), your customers won’t know what your brand/business stands for.
How do you get customers to resonate with your business?
It’s entirely in how the project begins. It’s about taking a detailed brief about where the company has come from, what it’s looking to achieve, who the client is and who their ideal customer is – yes, that’s ideal customer. And exploring the feelings that need to be associated with it.
Here’s some examples.
A few years ago, we were responsible for changing the logo of a large well-known women’s business networking group. We did some detailed research of more than 400 women associated with the group to dig into how they felt about their membership. There were words like “LOVE” (yes, in caps), “makes me better at what I do”, “lifts me emotionally and that lifts my business game” and “vibrant women”.
When we visited events, the women in attendence weren’t in boring corporate black, grey, brown. They were in full colour, green, red, royal blue, pink, coral, white. And yet the logo was reflex blue and grey – in short it was boring and didn’t reflect its tribe or its founder at all!
So we changed it to a bright, warm, aspiring blend of jewel colours to reflect the vibrancy of the women of the group.
At the same time, we had to come up with the names for the levels of the organisation’s membership tiers to reflect the colours used in the logo and to inspire the women to aspire to move through and up the levels.
We changed the organisation’s language to better reflect and resonate with their ideal customer.
We also created an aspirational tagline and used it in concert with the logo. It was an instant hit! Why? Because we’d tapped into the desires of the women in the group. It said exactly what they were looking for the group to help them do.
The logo + tagline was applied to a range of items designed to showcase the organisation. One of those things was a popup banner. The banner not only used the logo (and its colours) and tagline, but also used an image of a working woman that a LOT of women in that room, wanted to be (including me and the client).
Fast forward to the brand’s first big outing in its new look – a launch. We popped up the banner and stood back. Fingers crossed the people in the room would be as thrilled with the result as we were. Heavily involved with the client was a big corporate bank brand that was targeting women. A fabulous vibrant woman, also the head of the women’s banking division (whose banner was next to ours), wandered over and stood next to me (not knowing who I was).
Hitting the mark
She looked between her banner and the one we’d done. And shook her head and sighed. I asked what was the matter. “X corporation’s new look is amazing. It makes ours look boring, stodgy and tired. We really need to lift our game in order to keep up if we’re partnering with these guys.” Yes, she really said that (I wrote it down at the time!!).
YEAAAAAHHHHH! I’ll take that as a win. Praise indeed from someone who had a huge internal marketing/design team and a massive (and I suspect, extremely expensive) team of advertising agency folks externally who had produced their piece of work – that frankly was as uninspiring as it gets. Theirs was all about ‘look at our BIG brand. Aren’t we fabulous! You should feel blessed we let you bank with us’.
The building of the brand
Shortly after the logo and corporate identity were launched, membership numbers went through the roof. The organisation finally looked and felt like the women it was trying to attract. Everything was consistent – look, feel, language – with the women in the room. The brand was the women and the women were the brand. They wore it like a mantle. “Were you an x woman?” And if you were a fabulous business-owning woman and you weren’t, you should be.
When we started the project, there were quite a few women’s networks that were in their early years, all jockeying for market position. When we finished, as with almost every other industry segment, there were two clear players that emerged and the also rans. We’d helped shape Brand X into a market leader. The two leading brands were still market leaders 3 years later. The others, many of which don’t exist today, are contained to the fringe with the hobby business owners. The serious businesswomen, almost all have played at one time or another with one of the top two.
Muddying the waters
Sadly about a year after we stopped working with this client, they started muddying their brand waters again, chopping and changing who they were. The changes confused people. Their ideal customers felt the brand changing. Those changes didn’t really reflect them any longer – despite having been loyal to and very supportive of the brand. It was incredibly sad to see.
And the business? It’s still in the top two. Now firmly entrenched in the No2 spot, the challenger position. And that’s not a bad place for any business to be.
Not quite a year ago, the owner rang me out of the blue, to thank me again and say that we really did get it right. That the work we did was critical to building the business’ foundations some 5-6 years later. That made me smile.
What to do next?
If you’re thinking of refreshing your logo or brand and you want to make sure it’s done well, you can call us on (02) 9994 8005 or get in touch. We’d love to chat to you.
This is just part one of a series of blogs around changes in brand, business name, logos, etc. Next blog we’re looking at changing business name – if, and why you should do it.