But how do you know when it’s time to refresh your brand? The answer, which is surprising to many, is that it’s always time, because a brand needs to change in order to stay strong. It’s just a matter of degree: evolution or revolution?
Evolution: The Little Things Matter
Updating your brand doesn’t necessarily mean a complete overhaul. Small changes to your brand’s appearance or adjustments to your marketing messages can make a big difference.
Consider your customers, your competition, your marketplace and the trends impacting your business. Ask yourself, “How do we look in the marketplace? How do we sound in the marketplace? Is the way we look and sound still relevant to our customers?” Google your business and your competitors; does what you find surprise you?
If asking yourself these questions helps you realize your brand isn’t keeping pace, you can evolve it with small updates. A brand evolution may be as seemingly small as updating the fonts you use in your brand materials or using more relevant language in your marketing. These changes can alter how your business is perceived by the outside world. And instead of talking at customers, create a more casual conversation with them. It will feel more natural in today’s social and mobile scene.
Running a small business on a tight budget, you might not think it’s worth investing in updating something as seemingly trivial as fonts. And yet, we all know presentation is important. You wouldn’t wear a completely outdated suit to an important meeting; you shouldn’t “dress” your brand in out-of-date “fashion” either.
Revolution: Telling a Bigger StorySometimes brands need to communicate a significant business change. Something more revolutionary. If your business has evolved substantially—into new market segments, for example—then you may want to more dramatically update your brand to reflect that.
Does your logo or messaging convey something about your business or brand that no longer applies? Then it’s time for a revolution. Look at where your business is headed; then reintroduce it to the world with a brand revolution that reflects your new direction.
Starbucks continually develops their business—expanding beyond its well-known coffee retail stores to consumer packaged goods ranging from tea to ice cream. So recently, as part of their brand revolution, they updated their identity. They took “coffee” out of their name. Now their brand identity is just their logo, without the Starbucks Coffee name, because they’re more than just coffee.
At FedEx, we had a pretty radical brand revolution in the 1990s when we went from Federal Express to FedEx. We were signaling something new: We were transitioning from a U.S. shipping service—founded on delivering overnight packages for governmental agencies—to a global transportation company. So we signaled that business change with a brand revolution.
Evolution or Revolution?If your business changes, if the market changes, your brand needs to change with it. And in the words of Andy Warhol, who fashioned himself into a highly recognized and enduring brand, “They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.” You also have to decide how much to change: Is it time to continue your brand evolution? Or is it time for your brand to have a revolution?
Small-Business Grant Opportunity
What would you do with $25,000 for your business? Tell us, and you could win a $25,000 small- business grant from FedEx. Don’t miss out—submit your story before Nov. 17! Get all the details now.
Monica Skipper led the brand strategy team at FedEx for six years before becoming the director of FedEx Global Brand Management.
Note: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of FedEx.
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