Identity crisis

Change can be painful, particularly when looking at a brand overhaul

Can you remember the last time you looked for a product on the supermarket shelf and couldn’t find what you were looking for, only to eventually see that the object of your desire has adopted a new and unfamiliar exterior? Or maybe you couldn’t find it at all and just bought another brand. For something so small it’s a disconcerting experience and just one small example of why extreme caution should be exercised when it comes to changing image.

In our fast moving world there can be a tendency to think new equals good. And while clinging onto the past with a blinkered determination isn’t going to do anyone any favours, change needs to be approached with consideration.

At UXB we tend to get involved in projects that have a more holistic approach to a rebrand and start thinking more deeply what the business aims are, what kind of digital transformation the business needs and how best to do it. The exterior comes later in our process when the aims and objective have been fully defined, to ensure that the necessary thinking has been done first.

Look before you leap

Never is this overused phrase more appropriate than with a rebrand. Before you even think about changing any aspect of your exterior or client facing communications, make sure you know why you are doing it. Ask these questions: Does your brand feel outdated? How does it align and support organisational goals? Is your brand communicated consistently across the board? Have you changed what you’re offering recently? Base your decisions in research and never make any assumptions.

Learn from the mistakes of others

Rebranding failures are not few and far between. If you want examples of what not to do then there are many to choose from. Tropicana are frequently chosen as an example of a rebranding disaster. When the sales results came back and Tropicana Pure Premium line had decreased by a huge 20%, they made the decision to revert to their original image. But what went wrong you may ask, their new look was a lot cleaner and had the much desired simplicity that brands are after at the moment. The thing is they lost their brand identity and ended up looking a bit soulless and clinical.

Change with the times

Use your target audience as a measure for what is needed. If they are changing with the times then so should you. A good example of this is in the construction industry. They’ve been stuck in their pigeonhole for such a long time, but in what we consider to be a general softening of the sector's image, we have seen companies such as Mitie and Osborne make bold moves with radical rebrands and digital investment. In both cases they’ve introduced bright colours, soft shapes and a focus on people rather than product.

Thinking of a rebrand like a cosmetic makeover is a recipe for trouble. Instead it needs to be part of a business strategy interwoven with the organisations goals and grounded in user research. Otherwise you won’t have got to the heart of why this change needed to happen in the first place and may miss the mark in terms of what your target audience want.

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