A brand is more than a logo or your website's color scheme. It's your business's identity writ large and put out into the world. But that identity doesn't just come out of nowhere. From what you look like to how you sound, your brand's identity is built on top of the scaffolding of a brand strategy - what you stand for, what makes you you, and what kind of success you're reaching for.
A brand isn't just something you slap on top of your business. It's something deeply and inextricably intertwined with the whole essence of your organization. It's your foundation all the way up to your roof.
So when should you start thinking about branding? The answer is both ASAP - and always.
Change Is In The Air? Get Branding.
There are a bunch of different situations when a new brand is in order. Here are a few of the most common:
- You're starting a new company. Congratulations on your new endeavor! Make sure you add branding to that business plan. Working out your mission, values, goals, and audience will give you the building blocks you'll need to create a winning visual identity.
- You've changed your name. A name change often comes with a change in brand identity. If your new name reflects a shift in services, audience, or niche, your brand probably needs to course-correct alongside it. When Andersen Consulting became Accenture, you bet they updated their branding.
- You're leveling up. If your one-person, homemade brand has grown into something bigger, it's probably time to think about a professional rebrand. Sole proprietors and local businesses can get away with a less-than-professional brand for a while, but if you want to level up your business, your brand needs to do the same.
- You're revitalizing your brand. Repositioning, relaunching, rehabilitating, or refreshing what you're all about? It's time to give your brand a nip and tuck so that it makes the right kind of splash in the market. Revitalizing a brand doesn't have to be a wholesale do-over: sometimes a few tweaks to get you back in line with a current design or market expectations are plenty. Take a look at Google's increasingly minimalist design over the years.
- You're integrating various aspects. If you've got a bunch of brands, products, or services, bringing them together under a unified brand umbrella can be good for business. A singular brand can show customers how these various products or services fit together and help create the right kind of expectations. Check out Reynolda Estate for a great example.
- You've merged with or acquired a company. Depending on how the M&A shakes out, you've probably got a new strategy, identity, and culture you want to reflect in your branding. Take Penguin Random House, born of the merger of Penguin and Random House. The new identity not only had to reflect both of these iconic publishers' identities but had to be flexible enough to incorporate their dozens of imprints as well.
Revive Your Business Branding or Lose to the Competition
The world around us is evolving faster than ever before.
The online experience redefined the way we do business. Then mobile devices revolutionized the world yet again. It's only a matter of time before the next significant shift. And when the reality in which your business aim fundamentally changes, your business must respond with a brand pivot. These disruptions are occurring more frequently as technology (and your competitive landscape) progresses.
If your brand is perceived as inflexible or ill-equipped to survive in its new landscape, then it will likely fail. At one end, there's the mild visual tweak to an existing brand and related brand assets – think Google's type font update or Gap's logo redesign.
At the other end, there's the complete from-the-ground-up rebrand with maybe a new company name, new company logo, new overall visual rebranding; this should include a deep dive and discovery on positioning and messaging.
Rebranding isn't an all-or-nothing proposition. Different situations may call a quick oil change or a complete engine rebuild. Either way, your business will end the process more substantial and more agile to compete far into the future.
Thinking About Rebranding?
Whether it's you or the market that's changed, a rebrand can be a high-value way of putting your organization's best foot forward. A rebrand isn't just about looks. It requires you to dig deep and think strategically about your industry, competitors, goals, audience, and vision for who you want to be. Once you know what your organization wants to achieve, what niche you want to fill, and whom you're trying to reach, you've got a solid basis for turning your brand identity into the visual and verbal trappings that are so vital to communicating what you're all about. Because winning brands need to do more than just look good. They need to have a deeper story that people - both customers and employees - can connect with.
Thinking that a rebrand might be on the horizon for you? At StellaPop our strategists can help you determine when a rebrand is in order and just how extensive that rebrand needs to be. We can also take you through the process of building up your new brand - from strategy all the way through to your visual and verbal identity. If you're thinking about rebranding or even just refreshing your brand identity, contact us!