“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, not the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” - Charles Darwin, 1809
The world is changing faster than ever before, driving companies to continually evaluate how marketing can continue to contribute to success. Ultimately the purpose of a brand is to communicate effectively with your target audience in a meaningful, memorable way. If the world is changing, companies have to transformwith it and that might mean their brand needs to evolve too.
A strong brand should be developed and marketed strategically based on research, the target market, a strong foundation, and creativity. But these days, for a brand to survive, let alone thrive, it has to evolve and there are several possible factors that may drive an organization to rethink the brand.
In no particular order, the following is just scratching the surface of what may drive a brand to evolve:
First and foremost, brands should be strategically positioned, as they are more than just a logo or selection of colors that someone at the company likes. Rather, a brand is a collection of assets (think fonts, colors, imagery, messaging) used together to create a meaningful message. This brand should be firmly based on the business’ goals—looking at both short and long-term planning. No business plan? No strategic brand. We believe a brand and a marketing plan should always support the organization’s business goals.
Just like a business plan, which should be reviewed and evaluated at least once a year, so should your marketing plan. If you’re an EOS company like us, you’ll be familiar with the annual meeting and quarterly check-ins to stay on track. At a minimum, each year a brand should be planning its marketing efforts and, as part of that planning, should be evaluating what’s been successful, what was less successful, where are new opportunities, and what’s the approach. In short, a Situational and a SWOT analysis should get you started. This evaluation should reveal when adjustments to the brand may be wise. Unsure how to proceed with this annual planning? Work with a marketing agency, like ours!
In short, the right time to evolve is when your brand needs to transform to stay relevant in order to communicate effectively with the target audience.
If you are reading this now and panicking—evolve the brand every year!?—yes! But that doesn’t mean a new logo and positioning statement every year. That’s the fastest way to cause confusion. Evolving a brand may be a major overhaul or it may be small tweaks—depending on what’s driving the change.
Small tweaks to a marketing plan may result in some minor adjustments such as modifying the target audience for digital campaigns to better pinpoint the ideal customer. It might mean adding new products or campaigns such as Massage Studio offering CBD oil or 3 Daughters Brewery launching Palm CBD Seltzer. These adjustments to the brand may require a new tagline, a new call to action, or updating the marketing mix.
Sometimes brands require more significant adjustments to stay relevant. Larger adjustments may include:
The most significant brand evolution is a complete rebrand. This will likely include defining a new brand platform along with creating a whole new logo, a color palette, imagery style, and messaging—sometimes even a new name. These changes may still be subtle, but typically are more drastic. This often is needed when a brand hasn’t been reviewed annually for quite some time and needs to be reset to be relevant. For example, our client at Priority One Financial Services had been a leader in their industry for years, but the brand hadn’t kept up alongside the great work they did for their dealers, which spurred the need for a rebrand in 2021. Northstar Realty and Global Jet Sales also rebranded to be more relevant to their target audiences and to be reflective of the times as both were legacy brands in their industries. Major changes to the business plan and therefore marketing plan may also suggest a full rebrand is imminent.
It’s never too late to take a step back and evaluate your brand, positioning, and target audience. If you’re unsure how to get started, give us a call!