The second the clock strikes midnight, and the tipsy voices singing Auld Lang Syne have quieted, the cries of ‘New Year, new me!’ and declarations of resolutions begin. It’s very tempting as a brand to take it as an opportunity to tear out the old and bring in the new, but (even though we’re a brand agency so you’d be forgiven for thinking we’d recommend it) it’s not time to throw the baby out with the bathwater just yet.
Your brand needs evolution, not revolution, and here’s why.
When things aren’t going exactly the way you want them to, you’ve hit a stumbling block or simply stagnated for a bit too long, the answer isn’t to start from scratch. It’s not about slapping a new colour palette over the top of the old one and having a cheap and cheerful logo commissioned. Our brand experts instead recommend taking stock of what you currently have, reviewing your existing situation to examine the gap between where you are now and your aspirational goals. This will enable you to adjust your strategies to build upon your strengths and mitigate against your weaknesses.
A good place to begin is revisiting your brand purpose. Understand why your company was formed in the first place; what need it was trying to address; what it was initially trying to say. Then take a look at what it’s saying and doing now, what it cares about and what role it plays in the wider community. Then do the same exercise again, but for the business you want to be in 5 or so years. What are the differences between where you started and where you are now? What are the differences between where you are now and where you want to be?
The way you need to evolve your brand is in those differences. If you’re communicating something different than you were 5 years ago, but the way you speak about it is identical, it may be time for a refresh tonally. If you’re currently in the middle of the pack, but in 5 years time you want to be at the forefront of innovation, it may be time to update your website to feature the latest AI tech.
Lasting brands are champions of evolution.
Take Tiffany & Co. as an example: this luxury jewellery retailer actually started life in 1837 as a stationery supplies store. It sold other more luxury goods too, and by 1853 had identified this as a much more lucrative market, so strategically shifted complete focus onto jewellery. Eventually, it also realised it needed to establish itself as the market authority, so made the tactical decision to clearly mark prices and refuse to haggle, which certainly wasn’t the ‘done thing’ at the time. Over the years, its position as a global authority on jewellery has only gone from strength to strength, due to the strategic tweaks it continues to make to its brand.
Stella Artois spent 351 years as the ‘Den Hoorn Brewing Company’ (hence the horn on the logo) before Sebastian Artois, master brewer, bought it in 1717 and added his name to the bottle. ‘Stella’ was added many years later in 1926 for the launch of a special Christmas beer. Only initially sold in the winter, it was so popular that they decided to make it available all year-round, and sensibly decided that the new name was good enough to stick. By slowly evolving the brand name over the years, backed by strong strategic decisions with conclusions drawn from product popularity, they continue to be market leaders.
LEGO has let its audience and changing environment dictate its brand strategy, which has proved to work exceptionally well. Up until the millenium, LEGO exclusively marketed to children and parents, ignoring its growing adult fanbase. Eventually reacting to the demand, it adapted its product range and marketing to feature new 5,000-piece sets specifically for adults. Realising it needed a stronger digital presence to align with new playstyles, it also developed a successful line of LEGO video games for consoles based around popular franchises of the time. And recently, with the demand for alternatives to plastics surging in popularity, it is pioneering the development of bricks made from sugarcane instead. This reactionary strategy has helped keep LEGO afloat since 1932, despite massively changing landscapes since.
You don’t need to make huge changes to every element of your brand to see a difference this year. Simply adjusting your strategy, and making the intelligent amendments to your brand to facilitate this change, could work absolute wonders for your business in 2019 – and in the many years to come.
Want to change things up this year, but unsure where to start? Our team offer branding and marketing workshops to help you to assess your current circumstances, highlight your goals and understand the changes you need to make in order to get there. To enquire about booking your own workshop, call 01462 262020 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org for a chat.