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The Importance of Brand Evolution – It’s Sink or Swim

  • - By Jack Shepherdson

There’s no stagnation in nature, just growth and decline. Your brand is no different.

A brand is the perception of a business held in people’s minds, as you’d expect this is far from a static impression. Your brand must fit into your customers constantly evolving perceptions, so your brand must evolve with them.

As trends arise and opportunities to strengthen and update your brand appear, it’s important to take them, not only to maintain brand relevancy but to further convey to your target market that your brand is the most relevant and current option in the market.


It’s not just a logo that needs to evolve

It’s important to stress that a brand is not just a logo, so the evolution of your brand shouldn’t just extend to a logo refresh. Once these perceptions are formed a good logo must act as the timeless physical embodiment of the brand.

There’s a natural risk when a brand evolves their logo but fails to evolve other aspects of their brand. As customers align themselves to a brand and become attached to it, a visual redesign indicates change in not just looks but in brand positioning, so if a brand fails to deliver on this promised change customers can become disenfranchised.

A logo change is just one tool in a successful brand evolution, so embrace updating your tone of voice, messaging or photography style; all these aspects of a brand are vital to keep updated in order to fluidly evolve your brand.


Evolving for a Moment

A key step to maintain relevancy and keep your brand evolving fluidly is to keep a finger on the pulse of current trends and cultural movements, not only will this give you an edge to ensure your products and services are contemporary, but it’s the first step to keeping your brand and image up to date.

Trends get a bad rap, though figures don’t lie. The strongest brands, from tech giants to banks, never shy away from an opportunity to quickly jump on the latest social trends and briefly rebrand themselves to align with a social or cultural movement. For example, when Australia held its referendum on same-sex marriage in 2017, a myriad of brands jumped in support and rebranded themselves in a sea of rainbows. You’d expect this from the liberal tech and social media giants, though all of the Big 4 Banks, traditionally quite conservative brands, joined in as well, with ANZ briefly rebranding as GayNZ and creating pop-up GayTM’s around the referendum and Mardi-Gras.

Brands that aligned themselves in support of same-sex marriage saw a massive spike in trade, positive affirmation and a wave of free publicity. With a simple temporary rebrand and small ad-spend, these brands used the collateral media attention to catapult themselves in front of their audience, not just displaying their values but proving their brand is fresh, cutting-edge and up to date.


Don’t overstay your welcome

Whilst social trends like this can be a great opportunity to align your brand to a cultural milestone and maintain relevancy, there’s always an expiry date. Nothing shows your brands fallen out of touch more than hanging onto a design or industry trend well after it’s fallen out of favour and been abandoned by your competitors, returning to a timeless brand image is essential to executing this technique well; after all, they are just trends.


Design Evolution

Whilst trend-based brand evolution is an easy way to quickly maintain relevancy, it’s not a strategy that can be applied to all brands. One aspect of brand evolution that’s vital to evolve and update is your brands logo and corporate identity.

Regardless of when your logo was initially designed, consciously or not, it was influenced by contemporary styles in graphic design of the time. Like all aspects of design, graphic design evolves like fashion, so evolving your visual identity will not only maintain relevancy but signify change in the business.

It’s vital to understand what the update is and how it will be perceived by the brand’s customers. Rationalise the design changes in regards to what people think today and what you want them to think of your brand in the future.

Take Google as an example, and imagine if their visual identity and logo hadn’t evolved from their clip-art origins in 1997, or even their kitsch, serifed logo they used until the 2000’s; would they be the tech powerhouse they are today? I doubt it.


Why not Stick to Your Guns?

It may be tempting to rest on the laurels of your successful brand. Don’t, unless your goal is to become the next Kodak.

There’s no stagnation in nature, just growth and decline, your brand is no different. If you don’t evolve your visual design, brand position and strategy your competitors will, you’ll be outpaced, outdated and lose your customer-base and audience.


Brands are like people, they aren’t stuck in time, and need to evolve with the world to become stronger and truer to their vision. Don’t shy away from giving your brand a fresh coat of paint or a change in direction once in a while, embrace trends rather than shunning them and see your brand as a living, breathing, evolving entity.


Ready to revive your stagnant brand? Get in touch


Banner Image © Jack Shepherdson

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