Thursday, 22 October 2015

Refresh your company's brand to reflect its future

Maybe your business is heading in a new direction, entering a new phase of growth or planning a major sales drive. Usually, this type of forward thinking raises the question of the brand look and feel: “Does it represent we’re we are going, does it look modern and dynamic, does it reflect our new products and services?”

Clearly if a company wants to enter new markets and engage better with new customers and clients, this needs to be backed by a viable business plan, of which the brand refresh will form part. This will help ensure the visual identity and company language moves in line with the company’s vision and objectives for the next few years.

A wrong reason to refresh would be just for the sake of it or because a few of your competitors are doing it. The latter may initiate a review, but it’s only worth progressing if backed by a sound business rationale and the required resources and budget are allocated.

Once the decision is made to go for a refresh, it can be a very positive move for your staff as it will inject a line of enthusiasm into the new drive for growth, development or sales. It will give focus to the new initiatives and the aim here is to get staff buy-in so they become ambassadors of change.
Freshening up the elements of your visual identity typically includes:

Logo: Often seen as sacrosanct, a logo a can be tweaked to keep in line with the new ethos. It’s very much evolution rather than revolution in terms of a brand refresh. Colours, fonts and icons can be updated. Remember though, changing the logo means it has to go on all elements of the company’s sales, administration and corporate literature as well as marketing collateral. So it can be quite a big commitment to take on. Make sure you’re resourced to do it both internally and with your marketing agencies.  

Brand vocabulary: How does your company speak to customers and business partners? Think about the key words and tone of voice that best reflect the new approach. Blend them in with the propositions that your business wants to promote. Review your old headlines, stale straplines and corporate key words. The tone of voice is important for all communications, because it helps establish the new personality of how your company wants to be perceived. Customers and business partners should be able to tell something is new just by reading the copy, even without the updated graphics.

Colour palette: Look to introduce colours that best reflect where the company is going. This may be a mixture of old and new. A key consideration is to be different to other companies in your sector to avoid visual confusion.

Typography: Bring this up to date with changing styles and the way content is consumed on different platforms and devices. Where are your customers seeing your information? Different fonts work better on different media.

Imagery: An important point here is to introduce a consistent style – images, cartoons, drawings. Follow them through on all everything you do for staff, customers and suppliers. Also pick a style for company and staff photos that look forwards to the company’s future.

Consistency: Bring your brand in line across all marketing media, stationery, staff communications, customer contacts, business partner literature and suppliers contracts. Having a consistent theme will play a huge part in effectively strengthening your brand message.

Branding is about sending out strong, positive and consistent messages. It is essential to establish both powerful propositions and clear communications to ensure what distinguishes you from the competition is well promoted and compelling. A brand refresh will help you communicate these values as your company moves in to new ventures, launches new products or plans to enter new territories.

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