Does your brand have more than a few miles on it? Indeed, the goal for anyone’s business is to establish a long and successful track record, but sometimes, the wear and tear of time starts to take its toll. According to Hanover Research, more than 75% of companies have updated or maintained their brands since 2020, and 81% of those companies report positive ROI on their brand efforts.
Whether your product or service offerings have evolved, you’ve merged with other entities, or—YIKES—you’ve been awash in a streak of negative or unwanted publicity, sometimes the next logical step is to freshen up with a well-thought-out brand makeover.
“Well thought out” is the key phrase. Undergoing a brand relaunch is not for the faint of heart, but it does offer a unique opportunity to take a deep-dive inventory of what’s working for you, what’s working against you, and what flat-out doesn’t exist.
If updating your brand makes business sense for you, don’t fall prey to thinking this is just a “quick tweak to the logo.” Even if your efforts comprise nothing but a simple logo change (and trust me, they won’t), you will still need to keep in mind the myriad of places where your brand appears. This is why a full and thorough brand audit should always be the first step in your journey. You’d be surprised at the number of brand elements that fall outside of your managed channels.
During my time with the Brand Team at Delta Air Lines, as it embraced a 2007 brand changeover, the primary spreadsheet of brand instances was a treasured resource that made things much simpler to bucket and prioritize. Not only was it a crucial roadmap to completing the changeover, but it also often brought many items and systems to the surface that could be simplified, combined, or—in many cases—completely sunsetted. We uncovered decades-old, branded forms and documents bordering on obsolescence that we then purged from the system, providing some surprising cost savings. I often cite taming and simplifying this overly complicated ad hoc list of items to something leaner and easier to manage as one of the most satisfying accomplishments of my design career.
And don’t forget your key stakeholders during this process. Not only do many hands make light work, but it is absolutely crucial to success that any change in your brand has the full support of your employees, partners and—very often—your highly engaged customers. Stakeholders outside your communications and brand teams often mistake a brand update as something they have no direct stake in. When I would conduct brand roadshows to internal groups at Delta, it would often surprise many of the front-line employees that they THEMSELVES were major factors in a healthy and successful brand. When you involve your stakeholders during the process and investigate what your brand means in their day-to-day work, your eventual launch will not only be more successful, but you will also have a well-informed band of ambassadors ready to send your fresh new face out into the world.
Is a brand update for everyone? Absolutely not. But when it is, do all you need to make it count. This is not a process that should be undertaken regularly, but if done correctly and thoughtfully, it will level up your organization for bigger and better goals down the road.