Did you read part one of our rebranding series
and are still on the fence about moving forward? We get it. A rebrand is no easy choice. You need good reasons to support your decision beyond “things feel kind of blah.”
A rebrand is a serious undertaking, you may not even know where to begin. And that’s okay! The first question to consider, how large a rebrand are you considering? Will it be an evolution, a revolution or maybe something in between? There truly is no one size fits all approach, because every brand faces its own unique set of challenges.
This post will cover three different types of rebrands your brand should consider, provide helpful insight of where your brand stands and suggest where to go next.
Not every brand needs to be completely burned to the ground, so let’s not break out the flamethrower quite yet. In many cases, an evolution or a refresh is sufficient enough to create positive momentum. Small incremental changes and updates to your brand often push the needle and keep your brand relevant while refocusing on your customers’ needs.
Brand Evolutions consist of cosmetic changes that revolve around a brand’s look and feel. Maybe it’s a change to the brand's typography to update the fonts for a more modern look, or perhaps it’s a new color palette that adds more excitement.
Brand Evolutions can be larger in scope, such as a new logo, a website redesign or collateral updates. In these situations, everything else likely remains the same as you’re already successful, have a great following and your audiences know and trust you.
Brand Evolution Example - Twin Oast Brewing
thunder::tech was tasked with evolving the logo and identity for Twin Oast Brewing. The two oasts, featured in the logo, were iconic for their brand. Not only were they part of the name, but they’re also prominent landmarks on the brewery’s property. This meant they were a must-have in the updated identity. In this brand evolution, the logo was cleaned and typefaces were narrowed down to be friendly for both print and digital applications. Additionally, due to the complexity of the main logo, simpler variations were created that could be applied to glassware, apparel, coaters, signage, menus and more.
Twin Oast Brewing’s brand evolution later included reworking their packaging design to create a cleaner and more uniform template. It was flexible for their internal marketing team to edit and create new labels as needed in an easy-to-use format.
Brand evolutions are great for brands who have a great reputation. In the case of Twin Oast, their brand was already strong but they knew subtle refinement would allow their brand to look great across many different channels.
Perhaps this is the case for your brand as well. Little changes can make a big difference—just don’t overdo it. You certainly shouldn’t be evolving your logo every year because you’re bored. This will only cause confusion to your audience and make your brand appear unconfident in its design. Make the changes last and your brand will, too.
An evolution isn’t always enough to help propel a brand to the next level. When you need to make substantial changes, a brand revolution is your next option. This means drastic measures and heavier lifting are required, sometimes starting with a completely clean slate.
This fresh start almost always begins with cosmetic changes, and often includes reworking brand messaging. New brand messaging will reflect voice, personality and the way your brand speaks to your audience. In even rarer cases, a brand revolution can even go as far as a completely new name. In this case you have to be ready to abandon everything you once knew and had. But that’s ok, you’re not the first brand to start over and certainly won't be the last!
Argus Risk Advisors, formerly i3 Brokers, came to thunder::tech for a full branding revolution. Their brand wasn't telling enough of a story to their audience. The nature of their business, physician insurance coverage, can easily fall into the trap of feeling flat, bland and all business. Both parties agreed the brand needed to feel friendly. It needed to feel alive.
After discovery and countless working sessions, we had to find a new name for i3 Brokers that represented protection, reliability and trust. Most of all, it needed to mean something! The new name, Argus, comes from Greek Mythology. Argus, a Godly being, who had 100 eyes on his body and was always watching, never sleeping. The symbolism behind “never resting,” spoke true to the brand’s constant commitment to its customers’ livelihoods.
thunder::tech wrote new brand messaging reflective of this protective nature, ensuring customers that as a risk advisor company for physicians, Argus is always looking after them. A new vision, mission, reason to believe and tone of voice strongly supported the watchful eye of the Argus, making them a trustworthy brand and more approachable than before.
The new visual identity also includes a strong storytelling aspect. Mythology states that the 100 eyes of the Argus were preserved, eventually becoming the feathers of a peacock. This helped create a powerful identity, where the “A” in the logo represents the eye of a peacock's feather, where the colors are boldly incorporated.
To complement the new identity, our design team created new collateral, stationery, website updates and other marketing tools, giving this brand revolution a fresh new face.
Not all brands require this level of work, but when they do, it’s done carefully and strategically. Ideally, a brand revolution should only be done every few decades, if not only once—period. Completely tearing down and rebuilding your identity too often will only confuse and distract your audience.
Brand Hybrolution (Hybrid-o-lution):
Sometimes your rebrand will actually involve a bit of evolution and revolution. Maybe some things about your brand may be working well for you, but plenty are not. Every brand has different needs and solutions are not one-size-fits all.
This type of hybrid fix is often applied to legacy brands that are successful and well known, but still experience some outdated aspects to their brand. These brands can only rely on their positive reputation for so long when they need to stand out and attract new customers to survive in a competitive market.
Our client R.E. Warner, a well-known firm of engineers, architects and surveyors, recently partnered with us for a full-blown strategy to rebrand their company from an identity and messaging standpoint.
Surveys with their employees and customers showed the brand was very favorable from a service and quality of work standpoint. The name was timeless and had been part of the company since its inception in 1951, so there was no need to change the name, just provide a much-needed face lift.
Both internal and external stakeholders felt the brand looked outdated in the industry and their voice wasn’t speaking true to what they do. We began reworking the brand messaging using more powerful and emotional language that spoke to their people-friendly culture. This complete rewrite of the brand’s mission, vision and tone better communicated their service offerings and the impact they have on customer success.
After messaging was finalized, we began work on an all-new identity designed to propel the brand into the 21st century, far from its early days in the 1950s. A completely new logo with a rich color palette and modern typography helped create a striking new visual identity. Redesigned collateral incorporating the new messaging helped support the fresh look and feel.
R.E. Warner’s brand change, although drastic, still chose to remain true to what worked for their brand. After putting messaging and identity under a microscope and making some tweaks and changes, the new REW brand stands out in today’s market. With careful maintenance, it will remain strong for years to come without requiring a revolution any time soon.
Ready for your rebrand?
Effective brands are constantly evolving and changing for the betterment of their customers. Even the most powerful brands are in an ongoing state of refresh and growth. They never stop looking into what’s on the horizon. Most of these ongoing changes are subtle and maybe not even noticeable, but it’s what keeps the brand connected to the audience throughout the years.
Your brand should be no different. Just because it isn’t Apple or Nike doesn’t mean you should invest time to nurture and grow the brand continuously. With smaller brands, annual or quarterly evaluations can help you keep tabs on what needs evolved or refreshed.
Time to evolve, revolve, or a mix of both? The thunder::tech team loves taking an old brand and making it new. Click here to one of our favorite branding case studies.