Is your business branding outdated?
5 signs your image might need an update
Did you know that it only takes about 50 milliseconds for a consumer to judge a brand by its image? Whether that be with a website, social media presence, or even business card you have less than a second to influence what a potential customer thinks of your business. The Logo that you bring to the table is then by extension, one of the most important factors in the presence you bring to the market.
"But we've been in business since 1982 with this logo and we've done fine,” I’ve heard clients retort. In their eyes, why spend the money on a machine that isn’t broken? What they don't realize is that it's possible this cog in your machine has been missing a few teeth for some time, and while its still running, it’s not the well oiled juggernaut it used to be. Can you think of many other things in your company you still use exactly as you did in 1982? 1992 even?
To aid in the points made in this list, I will need the help of four well known brands.
With these in mind, here is my list of 5 signs your branding might be due for a much needed face lift:
1. Your company has evolved
Many companies don't see the need for a change in logo and cling to their image of the past leaving it up to the consumer to figure out what their service offerings are. This can be confusing to patrons, and when a consumer gets confused they tend to look elsewhere for what they seek. Countless companies have diversified their product offerings and in turn changed their logos to match this evolution, and it has paid off for them. McDonald's would not be the juggernaut it is had they not left behind their "famous barbeque" and evolved into the golden arches. Starbucks made a similar change when they began focusing on expanding into other food items, and ditched the "Starbucks Coffee" line from around their logo.
2. Is your logo way too busy?
Another giant indicator of a logo that might need a refresh is the amount of elements present in it. Does your logo have tons of shadows? Word-art-esque 3d effects? God forbid an actual full color photo in it? These are all strong indicators that either: A) your logo was made at home, or B) during an era where your logo was judged by how "flashy" it was. Current branding trends tend to lean towards the notion that "less is more", leading many companies to ditch crazy effects for clean, clear branding. Even Apple, a brand that is known for its sleek branding went through a period where their logo had too many colors, and 3d effects. They have since changed these design choices, and have been better for it since.
3. Is your logo relevant now?
Even logos made just a decade ago fall to some of the same pitfalls of logos made five decades ago. When a customer looks at your logo can they tell that it was made years ago? If so, many consumers will cling to that notion. There is a fine line between being a company that has a legacy, and one that is stuck in the past. Legacy can be a great tool to establish confidence and quality of service, but it does you no favors if you come off not as experienced but as out of touch. A change of branding can be the perfect indicator that a business not only has a great history but also wants to keep growing and establish new customers. Ford's branding evolution is a perfect example of this. Can you imagine the old swirl bordered logo on the front of every Truck or car they put out on the road?
4. Does your logo appeal to your client base?
Just as a business itself evolves so do the patrons who consume their products. Apple computers is a perfect example of this evolution. Not only has their business model evolved, but so has their user. No longer being the niche product of a dedicated group of artists, and businessmen, Apple now commands almost half of the cell phone market with the iphone. It would have been impossible to anticipate such a thing when they first started the company in 1976, since there was no cell phone market to have a share of. Can you imagine if they had not evolved their logo over time? The old Tree and Ribbons logo would ruin the clean and simple aesthetic that we all have come to expect from Apple each year they unveil a new phone. Rebranding to appeal to a changing customer base can give a business a leg up on their competition.
5. How does your image stack up against your competition?
Technically this is not always attributed to the age of a company, but a brand can also falter by not considering their image when stacked up against the other guys. In an industry like coffee that is dominated by logos that always contain either coffee beans, mugs, or a combination of the two, Starbucks took a turn completely off the beaten path to help stand out among the noise. Now their famous Mermaid face logo is known by millions worldwide. By making sure they stand out they were able to stomp out their competition and have increased revenues almost every year since.
These are just a few of the obvious questions that a business must ask themselves when considering how their image is conveyed in the modern economy. By staying at the edge of these trends a company can truly set themselves apart, and stay relevant and evolve.
About the Author
Alex Borman - firstname.lastname@example.org
Creative Consultant, and Graphic Designer Extraordinaire
Alex is a freelance creative and design consultant who specializes in helping businesses of all sizes create and revamp their branding and advertising presence within the modern marketplace. He loves creating clean, eye catching media.
If you need help with your image, drop him a line, he would love to help. I promise.