Lately, I’ve come across the situation when most of my clients come to me for rebranding. Some companies and institution do have something to rebrand, but the majority just have nothing to change because they simply are not brands and have done nothing to become some. I apologize to all of the clients I cooperate with now and ask them not to take this article personally because this topic is crucial to be analyzed. Too many no-names consider themselves strong multi-dimensional brands. At first, let’s look at the definition of the brand itself and consult the business dictionary. And please read the text to the end when you come to the corporate identity.
What many digital design companies provide as branding services are actually corporate identity design which has nothing to do with company’s strategy, business effectiveness and the brand awareness which we all need to achieve by the endless efforts to gain our audience’s love, respect and further $$$. If to consider the whole process of branding, visual identity of a brand is like Lichtenstein on the map of the world: beautiful, conceptual, unique… but very small. The brand itself in the 21st century has much more complex meaning. It is something integrated, like biometric passport which doesn’t just show the name and visual image of the person, but also provides the health and legal information about its owner, and allows us to make a deeper conclusion about him/her. A real brand doesn’t just catch your eyes but also touches your brain and your heart. So if you have bought a brand book for 6000$ with colors, fonts and logo variations you can use in visual materials, it doesn’t mean that your audience will understand, and, as a result, position you properly, and, on the other hand, that logo and colors may not represent you and what you offer properly.
I will not say anything new or revolutionary if I mention the importance of finding out your company’s archetype before starting a process of creating any visual element. FINDING OUT, not CHOOSING.
I may really admire the Ruler and Outlaw archetypes, but they may have nothing to do with what I really am. A good branding consultant will advise you to analyze your company, the way of your making decisions, and find out which archetype/archetypes you are closer to, but a BAD branding consultant will tell you that Ruler is a trend, because red logos on white space are easily perceived and yellow-violet-purple combination is difficult to understand even if it does represent your real identity.
So even visual brand elements are not something you may order just because you like the combination of colors or the trends among graphic designer is white-space simple rounds. Your logo must be a result of your self-analysis, and the industry and audience study.
Before you come to the idea of rebranding, think what exactly you want to change: logo, corporate style and the fonts on your site, or you eager to become closer to your audience via changing all the processes in your business that make your development slow or even impossible. Recently, while analyzing the competitors of one of my clients (a language school), I came across a kind of famous school with a catchy logo and smart motto, and then I analyzed the feedback of their students and also a behavior of the company staff, and especially their chief. The result was like a photo of that famous small kitty looking to the mirror and seeing a lion in it. So you must show who you really are because if your audience finds out that you are showing what you want to be, and you aren’t even close to your Ideal Me, that’s a total disaster. So in other words, if you have found out that your brand archetype is Every Man don’t try to show that you are a Ruler just because of Mr. Trump’s popularity.
The other thing you have to think about when you want to change is in which country/society and age you live, and also which industry you represent. By the word industry, I don’t only mean the market you are in and its permanent particularities, but also the modern needs of the audience. So when you are a teacher or a coach in the 21st century you may not change your concept if you don’t need to, but your touchpoints with the audience may need to be changed. Because sometimes rebranding is when a famous teacher/ personal coach who used to rent a classroom in the center of the city or used to cooperate with institutes, decides to invest in YouTube channel because it is not the Tomorrow of the industry it is its Today. And believe me, this change will affect many things: from the language of the coach to his/her archetype, and as a result a style and then a logo, a font of the written content and so on. So change has to start from the inside.
Don’t think that if you change your logo or a package of your goods before or without changing yourself or the quality of your products, it will lead you to success. Because I hear much: let’s change the appearance and everything else will change itself. Believe me, this way of thinking has destroyed many businesses. The audience is not a group of fools, they understand and feel everything. For example, you have changed your logo to a very modern hi-tech one, your motto sounds very differently now and promises something great, but you still produce outmoded low-quality things and still hire sales representatives to sell them personally instead of creating an online shop. It will be a total mess. You may sell a bit better during the first months after your so-called Rebranding, but in the long run, it will turn into a loss.
The other thing is the strategy. If you feel that the lipstick that you produce does possess the quality to compete with Yves Sent Laurent, don’t just change your logo and package, and sit waiting for your customers to appreciate your product and start buying it for twice a price. Change your sales strategy too. If you sing better than Madonna, to steal her fans you need to have at least the same touchpoints with her audience. Because singing in your flat in Bangalore, don’t wait for a miracle, that a producer will come to your home and explore your talents. Analyze the industry, make a roadmap for your further actions, start posting your masterpieces somewhere to be seen. So let’s go back to the lipstick. Analyze the POP of your expensive competitors to find out the absolute minimum you need to have to start the mortal combat with them, and get the inspiration via analyzing how they sell, what values they promise, which objectives they reveal, and, the most important, what are the expectations of your goal audience, and then build a proper strategy which will let your new visual elements and the new appearance SHINE. So to rebrand, see whether you have built a complete brand, and start changing from inside if you need. If you feel incomplete about today’s situation of your brand, that’s OK. It’s never late to start the proper process of branding, not rebranding. The other thing is to understand why you want to rebrand your company, and what are your expectations in the end. Do you need it, the industry and audience demand for your change or you’ve just bought a new red Ferrari and you want to set the color of your logo with your new car?
In the end, I want to ask all the people who will read this article and especially those who work in the field of branding to join the campaign #brand_is_not_just_logo. I see how important is educating our clients about what they need to understand by the word BRANDING and what they have to expect and demand from the branding specialists they hire. Waiting for your feedback.