You’ve spent a lot of time carefully and strategically establishing yourself as a brand and crafting your image: creating a logo identity and branding color palette, writing a mission statement, shaping your messaging and developing a website that perfectly reflects all of these efforts. As time goes on, trends change, and maybe your vision and goals as a company do as well. You may feel as though your branding no longer reflects who you are as a company, and you lack pride when handing out marketing materials or telling prospective customers to check out your website. Perhaps your company is undergoing a merger or acquisition and you are moving on to bigger and better things, or redirecting your efforts to a different market or target audience. Whatever the reason, your company is likely evolving along with the rest of the world, which means that sometimes a brand refresh is necessary to stay current and relevant in the market.
Companies such as Chobani and CoverGirl have recently undergone major branding makeovers, complete with new logos and packaging. After introducing Greek yogurt to Americans back in 2007, Chobani’s competitors like Dannon, Yoplait and Stonyfield Farms were quick to follow suit. Soon the market became overcrowded and muddled. Chobani found itself needing a change to once again stand out on the supermarket shelves. The rebrand included a new logo and updated packaging that features a more holistic and natural feel to it. This new look also hints at an expansion outside of the yogurt category, according to Peter McGuinness, Chobani’s chief marketing and commercial officer. For CoverGirl, their rebrand was an attempt to modernize themselves to stay relevant among increasing competition in the cosmetic section of the drugstore. They abandoned their iconic “Easy, Breezy, Beautiful” tagline after realizing that the women of today prefer more bold and expressive looks. Their update includes a new, more linear logo, and primarily black and white packaging.
Over the years, Sabre has worked on many rebranding campaigns. Recently, we helped Spectrum Health Systems bring their brand image up to date, including a transformation of their longstanding logo. Founded in 1969, Spectrum Health Systems is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of individuals impacted by addiction. Spectrum needed to modernize their brand without losing touch with their roots. It was important that their industry recognition and reputation was preserved. This is something many brands struggle with, as most people think “rebrand” equates to a complete overhaul of their identity. While that is sometimes true, often brands can merely refresh their branding to reflect advancements or changes while maintaining core aspects of their original image.
Cindy Buraczynski, Vice President of External Affairs at Spectrum, headed into the rebranding project with the company’s advancements in the forefront of her mind. “Our company has undergone significant strategic growth and diversification over the last few years. We view ourselves as a leader in our industry and wanted our new logo to project this image,” she shares. In this case, Spectrum’s corporate colors were preserved, as well as the general quadrant structure of their icon, but the type treatment was changed to a cleaner, more modern font and the icon updated to better reflect who Spectrum is today and where the organization is headed.
“The new logo design is symbolic on many levels. Addiction treatment has always been Spectrum’s cornerstone, represented by the first block in the icon. The other two blocks symbolize mental health and wellness. The intersecting center square signifies the integration of these three essential elements of Spectrum’s treatment approach.
The shape of the stacked squares depicts the steps involved with recovery, emphasizing continual growth and progress over time. The different shades of the squares in the icon represent diversity, and the interconnecting lines signify Spectrum’s treatment of the whole person.”
-Spectrum Health Systems, Inc.
Throughout years of carrying out brand initiatives for various companies and industries, we’ve learned a few things along the way. Here are our top five tips to consider whether you are establishing your very first brand identity or performing a brand refresh:
1. Identify Your Goals
What exactly is your company looking to accomplish through the brand initiative? Are you looking to capture the attention of a specific demographic, convey a feeling or message through a particular color or shape, or just looking to update in order to “get hip to the times”? For established brands, you must determine whether your image is in need of a minor refresh or a complete overhaul. It’s important to establish these goals and an overall vision for your brand ahead of time so that you can focus on the big picture when making small decisions during the branding process. People will judge your branding in just seconds, so it is essential to make an immediate and positive impression. If you are looking to become more memorable, consider changing the color palette associated with your company. Many brands use the psychology of color to evoke a certain feeling or emotion in its viewers. Using a signature color can increase brand recognition by 80%! If your goal is to become more relevant, consider your use of fonts, icons, and graphics. Do they fit with current styles, state of technology and market trends?
2. Tell Your Company’s Story
Your logo and branding should reflect who you are as a company and your services. If your rebrand is a result of a new service or company philosophy, be sure to mimic that in every place that your new branding appears. The logo should also tie into your goals for the company as a whole – what feelings are you trying to evoke and what messages are you trying to convey with your new identity? What do you want prospective customers to see and feel when they look at your branding, and what do you want it to tell them about your company? As described above, Spectrum’s new logo embodies the steps that are involved in recovery with the ascending blocks, the diversity of their clients and services using different shades of purple, and also the treatment of the whole person with interconnecting lines. That story and that symbolism are very significant to both the employees who carry out their meaningful work, and the clients working hard through the treatment process to overcome the disease.
3. Establish Clear Guidelines for Branding & Usage
When undergoing a rebrand, whether it is a minor change or a total re-work, it is imperative that everyone is on the same page. This includes all employees, any vendors or alliances that use your logo or branding in any marketing materials, signage, website pages or anywhere else. You must establish a firm set of rules and guidelines that can be passed on to brand participants and partners that outline the fonts, colors, typesetting, proper usage and accompanying visuals that accurately represent and uphold your new branding. You’ve invested both time and funds in your shiny new look. It’s imperative that the new look is presented properly and brand guidelines are followed.
4. Consistency Is Key
Your brand initiative will undoubtedly bring an updated or brand new look and feel to your company. When rolling out a new company logo and visual identity, it’s all hands on deck. Every department of the company must be accounted for so that your new look is translated across all aspects of the company, both internally and externally. This was one of the challenges noted by Cindy Buraczynski from Spectrum Health Systems. Reflecting back on the transition, she states, “…it’s important to recognize the ripple effect this will have throughout the organization and the number of people who will need to make changes to the materials they utilize in their respective work. At the end of the day, having a brand new logo is well worth the time and energy.”
Your office and building signage, business cards and stationery, business forms, marketing materials, packaging, website, social media accounts, etc. must all be made to be consistent with your new image. It is important that everyone involved with the company is well informed about the brand initiative. Share the brand story and explain reasons for the transition so that they, in turn, can enthusiastically share it with customers and partners with confidence and pride.
5. Plan for The Future
Make sure that your new branding can withstand the test of time. Do not succumb to the latest fads of today that will eventually fade into the past. When creating your new brand identity, make sure that your messaging and visuals are current and relevant, but also maintain a timeless essence, so you do not end up in only a short time having to hit the refresh button yet again. Most likely, the entire purpose of rebranding is to align your company with future goals and potential expansions. You should keep an eye on goal tracking and evolution, and revisit your branding periodically to ensure that it is not becoming mismatched with your values, beliefs and that which makes your company stand tall.
The brand strategists at Sabre Digital Creative are fully equipped with the expertise and experience to take your brand from ordinary, to extraordinary. To kick your brand up a notch, call us at 508-652-0012 or e-mail email@example.com.