When it it, or is it ever, time to change your brand?
First let's define what we mean by "brand." Your company's brand exists in the hearts and minds of your consumers, and is the sum total of all their experiences with your product or service. The first step to a successful and valuable brand is to thoughtfully define your brand, and then build a strategy to deliver the desired brand experience to your consumers.
If you've followed a solid process to develop your brand and brand strategy, it is likely that you will never actually have to "change" your brand. However, you will need to allow your brand to evolve. The truth is that any brand lasting for a significant amount of time must evolve in order to remain relevant. So what are the appropriate reasons and ways to update a brand?
Think Coca-Cola, McDonald's and
Ford Motor Company. These brands have been around for decades, and yet their logos today are not the logos of years past. These companies have updated their logos over time in order to keep them looking fresh and current. But always, these updates were done gradually while keeping the main components in tact.
Think KFC and LG. The former evolved to meet changing consumer attitudes, and the latter to meet opportunities of new
technology. Successful companies are always aware of how their brand co-exists with the current market trends, and those that are long-lasting have been able to evolve without straying too far from the originalbrand. For example, KFC (formerly Kentucky Fried Chicken) did not try to become known for salads. Instead, they took the emphasis off "fried" and developed a baked chicken product in order to remain relevant in a market newly concerned with health.
Think Sears. In the late 1800's Sears began as a catalog order store that promised better than retail prices to a market primarily of farmers. As more cities developed, Sears began to open more retail outlets in order to meet the needs of a changing consumer habit. Over the years, Sears has continued to evolve to meet these changing needs.
Brands that do not evolve become stagnant. The trick to successful brand evolution is that it is done thoughtfully and with great care. Successful companies develop brands with a future focus, in order to ensure room for evolution, without reinvention. They know their consumers, what those consumers expect today and tomorrow, and they adjust their strategy in accordance with their brand evolution.