Brand evolution is an important part of long-term brand management. When delivering any branding project, I often get asked ‘how long will this design last?’. There is no clear-cut answer to this as the longevity of your brand assets depends on a varying number of factors such as your competition, any changes in your product or services offering, technology advancements and of course your positioning in the marketplace.
As a generalisation I would say that every brand requires at least a little maintenance every five years and it can be reviewed by the marketing and sales team every three years to make sure the right assets are available to maximise opportunities.
It is also common that additional brand assets get added naturally over time such as internal communication brand elements and branding for very special events. These should all be consolidated and be included in the company brand guidelines from time to time to ensure everyone stays ‘on-brand’ but also to avoid unnecessary brand elements being created. I have written about brand guidelines in this blog if you'd like to read more on that.
Evolution vs Revolution?
When it is time to rebrand, one of the first questions to come up is by how much should we update the branding? How far is far enough to retain brand equity whilst also future proofing the brand?
Of course, each project is completely individual, but there are three levels of rebranding that most projects would fall into:
- Keep things fresh, making small adjustments and preventing the brand looking out of date in the near future. This often requires just a few updates to one or two of the brand assets.
- Modernising parts and extending the brand assets.
- A redesign for a distinctly more changed look and feel. For these brands, it is common to only apply one or two assets to the new brand.
To illustrate these three different levels of rebranding, here is a selection of before and after project examples:
Keeping things fresh
For the Swedish Chamber of Commerce for the UK we adjusted the spacing within the icons, updated the typeface and re-organised the elements to deliver a smooth transition to a more modern and practical identity. See full story here
For HPD LendScape we designed a more practical single colour version of the logo, coupled with a brand extension of graphic shapes inspired by the existing icon. We now have a much greater flexibility to create interesting and versatile brand communication across all channels. See full story here
For Thompson Taraz, a more dynamic and visually interesting brand was created to reflect the repositioning of the services and inject contemporary relevance as they celebrated 30 years in business. See full story here
Your Brand Strategy leads the way
What is an important common factor with all these projects is that each has a clear brand strategy to follow which guides the creative work. Otherwise you'll be working 'off a hunch' which sometimes works for very small businesses but it is risky for larger organisations that rely on a bigger team to drive the business forward as there will often be wildly different opinions on what the brand needs to deliver. The brand strategy is what glues it all together and will guide you as to why, when and how to rebrand!