Do Brands Have an Expiration Date?

July 13, 2016

Unlike a gallon of milk, a company’s brand can have quite a long shelf life. The key to maintaining long-term brand life lies with the ability of your brand to stay relevant and current. For most brands, doing a complete overhaul isn’t necessary. Rather, a refresh in some capacity will keep your brand from looking and feeling stale. 

Related: When your brand speaks, what does it say?

Logo Refresh

In terms of brand hierarchy, your logo is the face of your company. If your logo looks dated, chances are, your whole brand will be perceived that way as well. An update to your existing logo can help your brand look more current. And, by not completely starting over, you can maintain some of the brand equity you already have. A logo refresh usually falls into one of three categories:

Updated Colors or Fonts
Your logo may be solid in design and structure, but just need a fresh take on the color palette or font selections. Depending on how extreme of a shift you make, this type of refresh can be as subtle or dramatic as needed for what you want to communicate.

Updated Logo Redraw
Sometimes the initial execution of a logo falls flat, or the style looks outdated. A great way to breathe new life into your logo is to simply redo it with a more current or appropriate style in mind.

Same Concept, New Design
This third option gets close to a redo without completely starting over. There are so many ways to communicate one concept, and it may be that the one you ended up with on your logo was not the most effective or lasting choice. Is the idea still strong and relevant? If so, just give it another go and make sure you explore several design directions to communicate your concept.

Imagery/Visuals Update

Brands today have access to a multitude of visual options to tell their story. There are so many stock resources for photography and graphics available now. The quality, options and diversity of the imagery has gone up while the expense has dramatically gone down. Custom photography also has become more affordable with the growth of that industry. Even video production and stock footage can work within a wider range of budgets than they could just five to 10 years ago.

By rethinking the visuals that are communicating your message and thoughtfully selecting or producing imagery that works with your brand, you can dramatically change your brand’s complexion and how it’s perceived in the marketplace. Changing out imagery also can be accomplished more frequently than other brand elements (such as a logo or colors), because it’s normally considered more of a fluid part of a brand identity.

Change Your Voice

Your brand’s Voice (the words and phrases you purposely and consistently use to communicate your message) can really add to your brand’s personality. A brand voice is commonly overlooked by many companies, but it presents a huge opportunity. Addressing a voice that isn’t defined, or revamping your messaging can definitely help with your brand’s longevity.

You may just want to tweak some of the words you commonly use with synonyms that align more with your brand’s personality. It may seem subtle, but can resonate with your audience on a very fundamental level.

If you need more of a global shift in how you communicate with your customer, changing the overall brand voice can have a dramatic effect and pay big dividends when it comes to making your brand feel new and re-energized.

When Does it Make Sense to do a Refresh?

A refresh of some of your brand elements is usually done to address a need. It’s not something you want to undertake just because a certain amount of time has gone by – constant changes to a brand causes confusion and overall diminished brand equity. You should consider a refresh if one of the following situations occurs:

Competitor Brands Look and Feel More Current Than Your Brand
Identify which parts of your brand need to be updated and address them specifically to be able to compete on the same level (or better).

Your Position in the Market has Shifted
Has your company introduced or acquired new offerings that change who or how you do business? Or maybe your business has grown and needs to look and feel bigger. These situations present an ideal time to visually announce there has been a shift in your company.

Audience Perception has Shifted
A business needs to continuously monitor trends in how their target audience perceives not only their company, but also the industry as a whole. Some examples of perception trends that might affect how you would like your brand to be perceived: environmentally friendly, healthy, local, less corporate, rugged, specialized, global, fast, socially responsible, etc.

Stay Fresh!

Overall, a brand refresh can maintain and build upon the brand equity you already have. It also helps maintain customer relationships through changing times, and can help your company speak more effectively to potential new customers. By keeping on top of your brand with a refresh when needed, you can avoid having to do a complete rebrand at some point.

 

Think your brand might need a refresh? Contact ROBOT to discuss your needs and keep your brand from going stale!

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