When Is It Time To Revitalise Your Brand?
Branding is an exercise in storytelling, and the evolution of brand identities from their early experimental beginnings through to a wholly realised, established and consistent style is a reflection of a business evolving from its roots to a recognised symbol of the industry.
This is what makes revitalisation, renewal and rebranding efforts such a fascinating challenge for brand agencies, as it is about choosing how much of that old story a company wants to keep whilst establishing an identity closer to the vision and values the company holds most dear today.
Part of the challenge is knowing what to change but the other part is choosing the right time to forge a new path, and here are some reasons with notable examples of companies taking a chance to form a new brand identity.
Writing A New Chapter
Large companies often have eventful histories filled with periods of significant change, and often a new era coincides with a brand look that reflects a modified or completely new approach.
The best example of this in action is Apple’s subtle but iconic shift from its brilliant rainbow apple logo to a monochromatic version of the same outline.
Not only is it perhaps one of the most perfect brand logos ever made, but reflects Apple’s fundamental change towards a minimalist approach to hardware design, keeping everything simple and becoming one of the biggest companies in the world in the process.
Conversely, the rebranding of Twitter to X was seemingly devised on a whim, was largely detested by users and has caused a company bought for 44bn to lose over three-quarters of its value in a year.
Fitting In A Changing World
One of the most common reasons for a brand renewal is to reflect a changed market. Established companies feel like they have reached a peak of a ceiling and to grow further must change and evolve with the times.
This can be a difficult and complex decision to make and should be done with care, for the right reasons and with the right methodology in mind.
Whilst roundly mocked on principle BP’s adoption of the Helios logo and a stated claim to go “beyond petroleum” might have worked had the company practised what it preached.
Contrasting this, when The Royal Mail realised it had a lot of services that went beyond postmen delivering letters every day, it wanted to create a unified brand identity for what became known as the Royal Mail Group.
Unfortunately, they went with the baffling identity of Consignia, a name that confused practically everyone except the consultancy company that developed the brand, and after years of mockery was replaced in 2002.
By far the worst example of this was with the company RadioShack, which in 2009 rebranded as simply “The Shack” to try and appeal to a younger audience and emphasise its change in focus from electronics components to mobile phone products.
Unfortunately, not only was it largely mocked, it was seen as a move designed to alienate its core customer base of electronics enthusiasts and tinkerers, one that would contribute to its bankruptcy in 2015.