Brand Identity: Start an Evolution

Consistency. Consistency. Consistency.
We’ve all heard it, it’s pretty much in the branding bible (right after differentiation). But why? Isn’t new and shiny and ‘cutting-edge’ always better?  Not always.

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Maintaining a consistent brand identity has one massive benefit – recognition. That recognition leads to trust. People don’t like strangers and certainly don’t like change. It upsets them, makes them uncomfortable.

It used to be that a consumer would have to be exposed to a brand or ad 3 times before they would even consider making a purchase. With the current environment of information overload, that number has grown to 17. Getting to 17 impressions can take years, especially with a tiny marketing budget.

As brand builders, we like new. We LOVE new. We love designing logos and crafting key messaging and redesigning websites.  It’s the fun stuff.  For me, there is really nothing like flipping to a clean sheet of paper in my notebook or hitting Control+N in Illustrator.  But here is one huge disadvantage to ‘new’. It reduces recognition and awareness. With change comes confusion. Change makes consumers think too much. They start to question your credibility and stability. “Why are they changing the logo? Did someone buy them out? Did the management change? Are they going to start selling different types of products? Are sales suffering? Are they hiding something?” These unconscious thoughts don’t occur with a 10-year-old logo.

This doesn’t mean logos or brands should never change. Often, there is good reason for change. They brand identity might be outdated or the company may have changed its strategy. However, when an established identity needs a change, think evolutionary rather than revolutionary. Think revitalize instead of redesign. After all, weren’t increasing consistency and building awareness some of the reasons you developed a brand in the first place?

Look at the top 10 Best Global Brands according to Interbrand. What do they have in common? Brand identity evolution, not revolution.

1. Coca- Cola


2. IBM


3. Microsoft


4. GE


5. Nokia


6. Toyota


7. Intel


8. McDonald’s


9. Disney


10. Google


Beth LaPierre is a Brand + Creative Strategist. When Beth is not helping build brands she’s on her snowboard, spray painting something, or drinking copious amounts of espresso. Follow Beth on Twitter.


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