The traditional definition refers to branding as a set of mental associations people have in relation to a product, service, organization, person, geographical area or cause. An extremely important idea that is not mentioned as often as it deserves is that the most important component of the brand is the product or the service itself. And this perspective changes the definition, the brand becomes a promise of value respected on the long run, a commitment to deliver value that impacts buying decision.
Branding is not logo or nice-looking design. It’s the strategic process by which the brand owner ensures that the associations in the mind of the consumer are unique, exclusive, strong and positive. In time, even the best-built brands are worn away, because the product, the values and the communication no longer align with the present circumstances or with the business strategy.
Organizations used to change their identity at every 7-10 years or more but nowadays, in a fast-paced environment this interval diminished significantly. Brands feel the need to reinvent themselves, refresh their rhetoric or visual identity and to align their products and services to contemporary trends every 1-3 years. In online retail and other dynamic sectors it’s an ongoing process.
When is rebranding a necessity?
- When the company goes through substantial changes, acquisitions, mergers, internationalization or when it enters new markets.
- When the portfolio of products or services changes. Brand architecture needs an update that can refer to the relationship between the corporate brand and the product brands, to the need of brand extension and so on.
- An outdated digital presence: even if perceptions around the brand are positive, if the digital environment is of great importance in the overall strategy of the company it needs to constantly adapt to the latest technologies and trends.
- When the brand lacks a strong emotional connection with its consumers. There are industries based mainly on rational factors, but in most industries, even b2b, brand empathy is essential. Strong brands have a high dose of seduction.
- Positioning in a different category or niche sometimes triggers the need to change the brand promise, slogan and/or and visual identity.
- When the overall image (logo, applications of visual identity and visual communication) are anchored in the past in a world where everything changed. The need to reinvigorate the image, the brand rhetoric and the brand experience must be balanced with the brand heritage and its intangible assets.
- When the brand plays an important role in managing change internally and rebranding becomes a factor that can inspire employees and audiences. Brand management is part of the strategic arsenal of a company with huge influence both inside and outside. The employer brand is built in close relation with the company brand.
- In the unwanted case of legal problems related to trademarks and access to new markets that were not initially on the list of expansion targets.
- When a new name is needed, relevant for the European or global market.
- Reputation issues reflected in the business results may be a reason for rebranding. PR crisis management campaigns may sometimes need more long-term changes that include revitalization of the brand identity.
Rebranding is so much more than the redesign of logo, more than the facelift of the website because the brand is first and foremost its products, services and the real values of the people who work for the company.
A rebranding process we developed: Dare Digital.
Ioana Biţin, Senior Graphic Designer Onomatopy spoke to IQads, the most prominent advertising publication in Bucharest, about the challenges of brand identity and the new generation of customers:
“We work with a brief model that we have developed and perfected over the years. Many of our clients admitted that after going through this brief, they understood better what they want, business wise and communication wise. It’s an instrument that makes the naming and branding process more efficient and ensures the right start, with all the information and resources we need.
We heard and will hear again for sure requirements such as “I have this business and I need a logo”. What makes a big difference is how you choose to respond as a communication professional. And how much you are willing to get involved and understand what the real needs of that business are. A logo will not solve your cash-flow problems or the small number of website visits. But a brand strategy that supports your business goals will clearly have a long-term beneficial effect. Most customers are open and enthusiastic about this perspective. Others take a step back. However, this is a necessary aspect for educating the new generation of customers and pushing things forward.
Companies often focus on immediate results and short-term strategies. But branding does not fit in here, nor should it. We worked with clients who started the branding process timidly, not quite convinced of its necessity. But we also worked with entrepreneurs who knew they couldn’t perform without a well-developed brand strategy and a consistent visual identity.
The interview can be read here.
Interview: “An agency creating brands that relate to people. Alina Chirvase, about the rise of independent brands, minimalism in identity design and subtlety in packaging:
Onomatopy is an agile brand strategy and design agency with a small but senior team that functions in the center of an ecosystem of small companies and freelancers to deliver the best results for SMEs. We create unique and memorable voices for emerging companies and help them grow by embracing change, not resisting it in order to pass the test of time.
Branding or rebranding, permanent alignment to present challenges is more than necessity, it’s an investment. A smart one because when you know what your focus is, the difficult decisions become simpler and the changes less disturbing.
We deliver a highly competitive start-up kit for entrepreneurs. Naming, brand identity and design, everything related to the digital presence of a medium-sized company, the key messages that build brands and add value to businesses.
The entire interview is available on IQads, the most important voice in the advertising industry in Romania.
Branding is the process of creating and growing a brand that makes a company, product or service to be remembered and ultimately preferred over its competitors. The most important aspect in branding is the product or service itself, which speaks clearly about the unique promise of value and how the promise is respected.
To the intrinsic value of the products, branding adds a multitude of intangible values, differentiating ideas that increase favorability and help to a unique voice and a unique market segment. Brands multiply the value of the business – often exponentially compared to the value of the tangible assets.
In the graph below we list the most important steps in the process of creating and growing a brand:
At email@example.com we’d be happy to tell you more about our branding process and our recent results. We’re based in London and we create brands for the global village.
A brand identity we created: Sublime.