May 12th, 2017
At BrandCraft, one of our most common project request is to undertake rebrands, in this post we will look at why a company may wish to reconsider the visual assets of their brand.
To maintain visual relevance
– Does the current logo look out of place against the current visual landscape? Do customers and stakeholders continue to relate to the brand? Does the logo use out-dated techniques such as shadows or overly complicated graphics that are not legible when their size is reduced?
MasterCard is a great example of a company wanting to remain visually contextual. The logo has gone through rebrands almost every decade without fail since their introduction in 1966 with Interbank. They rebranded last year with a super minimal and a little futuristic overlapping circle logo. As their customers equity in the brand is at an all time high, and the introduction of online payment companies such as Apple Pay, and PayPal they needed a logo that can stand aside such new technologically advanced companies.
For brand flexibility/ growth
– Does the company need room to grow and expand into new markets to reach new clients with new products?
This was the reason for Uber’s rebrand in 2016. As the company positioned to enter new markets with new products they needed a brand that could be flexible to remain contextual cross countries and cultures. Uber built a brand toolbox with patterns, illustrations and photography style guides for each of their 65 countries of operation.
To unify the brand
– Is the company offer many products or services under different brands, diluting brand equity?
This was the reason for FedEx’s now famous rebrand in 1994. Federal Express, as it was known, had many sub brands, and looked to unify under one brand to develop it's brand equity as the company grew. FedEx's current logo is famous for the use of 'whitespace' in its design of the arrow hidden between the 'E' and the 'x' characters.
To remove a brand's negative image
– Has the company suffered negative customer feedback? – Does the company need to respond to a loss of market share?
Burberry first introduced it's logo in 1901. In 1924 Burberry introduced a black, white and red checked pattern across many of it's garments. However, in the 1990's, the pattern became associated with British gangs which almost destroyed Burberry's image and it's stakeholder's equity in the brand. The company fought back, and used the pattern more subtlety, whilst introducing a youthful feel, transforming the brand to where it is today.
There are various levels of rebranding, from the major to the minor.
Types of rebranding
During a full rebrand, everything from the name, through the logo design, brand colour, typography use, photography usage standards, brand social media voice, brand usage guideline, is reconsidered. A total rebrand is the best chance for the company to reconsider its position against its target market, current and future competitors, the social environment, everything.
A partial rebrand might look at one specific area of the brand assets as above. It might simply be a case of a logo redesign, to maintain the relevance of your company’s visual identity, a reconsideration of the brand colours, or usage of photography or social media voice.
Creating or revising a brand usage guideline is a great and simple way for a company to create consistency across it's touchpoints. Brand usage guidelines commonly cover logo lockups, standard logo signatures, logotypes, typography, colour, stationary collaterals, photography style guides and social media brand language and media usage.
Brand usage guideline
About the author, Adam
Adam is the design director of BrandCraft. BrandCraft is a branding and design consultancy based in Hong Kong. We specialise in branding, visual identity, corporate identity and rebranding.
Adam is a branding consultant and has worked with clients in the UK, USA, Hong Kong, Tokyo, South Korea and China. He has had self-initiated art and design projects exhibited at various galleries and museums including the Victoria & Albert Museum of Art and Design and regularly writes about branding and design theory.
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