News & Views. 23rd June 2020

What drives brand change in a changed world?

Your brand is the sum of all the experiences that a customer has with you.

Your brand is the sum of all the experiences that a customer has with you, and their interpretation of those experiences becomes your brand story.

By pairing design and strategy we craft a brand presence that directly influences the desired perception of your customer base.

There are many simple and sometimes complex reasons as to why an organisation makes the decision to embark on a brand change, but one thing is for sure – great brands rarely happen by accident.

Brands require a pragmatic approach to developing and implementing a clearly defined brand strategy that leads to a successful brand identity.

The need for brand change is often very clear to those fully engaged with growing their business. And one of the first steps in developing the brand strategy is understanding what drives brand change – as it will help guide and prioritise the branding decisions and process both for the client and for the brand consultant.

Broadly speaking, a client’s decision for a significant brand change comes about due to one of three main drivers – Structural, Strategic or Functional1, and often more than one is in play.

These drivers are not the big idea or vision behind a brand direction – they are if you like, the business-case for brand change. Knowing what drives the change allows us to pragmatically plan the process in delivering a new brand – allowing us to prioritise resources, set practical timelines and agree on realistic budgets.

As a creative agency we are innately tuned to design thinking, and are able to bring this mindset and knowledge to businesses to draw a practical roadmap to the creative decision making and design process.

Structural Drivers

Structural drivers are just that – changes to the structure or make-up of an organisation. Common examples would be a merger between two businesses or an acquisition / de-acquisition of a business. A third scenario may be the spin-out of a company division or subsidiary as a new separate entity.

Whatever the type of structural change happening to a business, more than likely there will need to be a change in company branding. It may be a desire to preserve and capitalise on existing brand equity across new entities or conversely there may be a need to break from the past and pursue a new vision.

Branding utopia.

Utopia Financial Partners benefited from our expertise in developing a clear, unified brand structure for their suite of integrated financial services that delivered a consistent brand experience, yet still provided the necessary legal differentiation.

Strategic Drivers

Strategic drivers are about the business strategy and strategic repositioning that is sort by a company through market pressures, opportunities or direction. It is a leadership decision based on a business strategy – requiring a need to elevate or realign perception in the marketplace.

Market changes or a change of culture could trigger a realignment of the values, mission, and vision of a company. This will affect the brand position especially if the organisation has outgrown or moved away from its original identity. Brand perception needs to change to align with strategic goals.

A powerful brand for a new era.

When a strategic business decision was made to pursue new market opportunities, OFI Group saw a need to refresh their brand to better represent and reflect their position.

Functional Drivers

Functional drivers – sometimes a brand simply needs fixing to make it work better. Updating the core identity is needed because the original design may be dated or poorly designed causing technical problems in reproduction or limiting brand extension opportunities. Renaming the business or product may be necessary due to a weakness, conflict or confusion in the marketplace.

Occasionally a change to the brand is made to exploit a positive or recognisable impact in the marketplace – a successful new product or advertising campaign for example. And on the rare occasion, change is needed due to legal or legislative requirements.

A groundbreaking rebrand.

Rapid business growth often leads to a company’s brand falling behind, as was the case for GMS who needed a more professional brand presence in order to better support the business and prepare it for the next stage of growth.

How can we help?

A brand change is a decision that should never be taken lightly – a clear strategy and plan, both in business goals and implementation needs to be carefully considered if it is to be successful. Knowing that the driver is Structural, Strategic or Functional provides a starting position, steers the design direction and keeps things on track to achieve desired brand goals.

For over 25 years Axiom have helped companies invent, reposition, renew and ignite their brands. We successfully traverse both sides of brand change by applying real business nouse to the creative process. Understanding what drives brand change is a first step – to find out more get in touch.

1 – – Tony Spaeth & Tom Vanderbauwhede

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