Every brand needs to be updated on occasion. Even well established brands have benefited from rebrands. Think of Google, Microsoft, Starbucks, and the many others who have ever so slightly changed their style over the years. Sometimes making a few modern tweaks is necessary. Here are a few things to consider prior to coming up with a rebrand strategy.
Presentation Over Product
The good thing about adopting a modern branding technique is that it usually doesn’t require a company to change the product or service that it offers. In fact, sometimes it’s best not to alter the original offering. This can deter loyal customers, which for most enterprises, are the most profitable customers. That’s why modern branding has more to do with presentation than with the product or service itself.
Branding for a Competitive Advantage
One of the best things a company can do when deciding if it needs a rebrand is taking a look around. What are competitors currently experimenting with? If they’re shifting their branding strategies to fit the changing marketplace, sometimes this is a sign that you should, too.
Furthermore, a modern approach to branding can be a way to get a leg up in a competitive marketplace. Do what other brands aren’t doing. Or, do what they are doing, but better. Finding an innovative way to differentiate yourself from the competition is one of the best ways to maintain growth.
Keeping the Company Legacy
One of the more challenging hurdles of a rebrand is finding a way to drive growth without losing your established identity. Sandeep Dahiya of Entrepreneur, explains the importance of knowing your brand values. For a smooth, safe transition into a new branding strategy, companies need to stay true to their roots.
Take Wendy’s food chain, for example. As a fast food company, it would have been a leap — and probably a nose-dive to the ground — for them to jump on the health kick trend. A vegan or paleo menu is just too far from their original value proposition and their customers’ expectations of them. So instead they found a way to modernize and stay true to their established identity by marketing “fresh, never frozen beef.” The company successfully used customer insights to make a slight change to their brand. The result was a contemporary rebrand that still aligned with their values.
Digital Problem Solving
Keeping up with the times can seem daunting. Consumers have instant digital access to the latest trends. But so do companies. Thanks to the digital age, it’s easier than ever before to listen to what customers want and need. Using data and market insights, companies can listen to their audience and make informed decisions about their branding strategy.
How To Modernize Your Branding
There isn’t a one size fits all when it comes to modern branding. How you choose to modify your marketing strategy will largely depend on your audience. Think about who they are and where they are located on and offline. Then, think about how you want the company to be perceived and the associations you want to create with your brand. After that, you should have a clearer picture about which of the following approaches is best for your brand.
Approach #1: Go Digital
Many brands are going digital with their marketing. But before jumping on the bandwagon, it’s important to understand that there is more than one way to “go digital.”
The most common way is by establishing an online presence through advertising, blogging, and social media. If done well—by providing your audience with the content they crave on the platform they prefer—it can be an effective tactic. However, this approach is becoming easier to master, which means that everyone is doing it. Be wary that it’s easy to get lost among the thousands of other brands competing for consumers’ attention online.
Another method to go digital is a tech savvy twist on traditional marketing. It’s essentially promotional marketing geared toward devices. Companies can display their name, logo, contact information, and other attributes on electronics accessories, such as portable phone chargers, microfiber screen cleaner stickers, and phone wallet pockets. The idea is that, since people spend so much time looking at their devices, placing a brand name right next to their screen optimizes exposure.
Not only are branded gadget accessories more unique, they are also more likely to be noticed than an advertisement on a social media feed. Consumers often turn on mental filters to block digital marketing that they see on their phones and computers. When they look away from the screen itself, though, they turn these filters off and open themselves up to offline promotions. The result is that promotional items are considered more seriously than typical digital ads.
Both the online and offline tactics help signal tech savviness to consumers. Furthermore, creating an association between technology and brand name gives brands a modern feel.
Approach #2: Rethink Your Logo
Even America’s favorite brands have updated their logos to stay with the times. Oftentimes it’s small tweaks to the font of a brand’s name or increased saturation of a color’s logo that are needed. It’s sometimes unwise to completely overhaul a company logo since it might make the brand unrecognizable to customers. Instead, maintain key elements that are relevant to your brand and offering, such as symbolic shapes and characters. This helps to clarify your brand, even in the midst of other marketing changes.
If you’re opting for a more modern aesthetic for your logo, remember that less is more. In a market cluttered with decorative logos, simple designs stand out in the crowd. Uncomplicated designs are straightforward and give consumers a clear idea of your brand’s style. Furthermore, minimalist design communicates to consumers that a brand is high-end. According to Mark McNeilly at Fast Company, it’s the ultimate signal of sophistication.
A final note on logo makeovers: modern doesn’t mean trendy. If you try to stay on top of the latest design trends, you’ll be remaking your logo every other month. Trends change too quickly. Aim for timeless, not fashionable. These are the types of logos that endure, resisting outdatedness at every turn.
Approach #3: Humanize Your Brand
Consumers no longer like when companies hide behind big names and logos. They want a more human, less corporate feel from their favorite brands. That’s why one of the most revolutionary, yet most simple, ways to modernize is to put a face to your brand.
For large companies, this can mean having CEOs and other leaders take a new approach to public relations. One recent trend has been for CEOs of large firms to take an active role on social media by directly promoting and discussing product launches and brand developments. Done well, it can add a new level of transparency and authenticity to a company image by unveiling the visionaries behind the brand.
Smaller companies can add a human element to their brand, as well. Attending trade shows and hosting pop up stores are great opportunities to interact with an audience face to face. More than just collecting feedback and improving customer service, these interactions are key to putting a face to a brand. They help a brand feel personable rather than distant.
If stepping into the limelight doesn’t feel right for your particular brand, consider recruiting influencers to promote your product. For an especially modern approach, opt for real people rather than celebrity endorsement. Consumers are more likely to trust someone who is relatable rather than famous. Take the cosmetic brand Glossier, for example. They adopted a strategy to “treat everyone like an influencer” by reposting real customers testing their products on Instagram. With a following of over two million, this influencer strategy has proved quite successful at helping them appeal to their audience.
A modern approach to branding doesn’t require a complete overhaul of a company logo and marketing strategy. All it requires is listening to and connecting with customers. Go where your customers are (ehem, on their phones). Clean up your logo. And come out from behind the corporate mask. These strategies can help your brand stand out from the competition without sacrificing your core principles.