Identity Design — Strong Brands Require Solid Foundations

For many businesses late winter is an ideal time to regroup and plan for the coming year. It’s also a good time to reevaluate your marketing strategy and evolve your branding efforts. Where to start? An essential building block for any successful marketing program is a strong brand identity (logo).

Too often businesses rush through the logo design process in a hurry to assemble big-picture marketing plans. Worse yet, some businesses hold onto old, ineffective logos they’ve inherited. Corporate Identity should be the cornerstone of your marketing program—a starting point or foundation to build upon. If this core element is deficient or broken, there’s no base to build upon and future efforts will be ineffectual. So why do companies prolong logo redesigns?

Rebranding a company can be disruptive, expensive and time-consuming. A new logo design has to be applied to all types of marketing materials. Changing out signs, reprinting stationery, updating web sites—the list can go on and on. The rebranding process can be painful, but waiting may be more costly and more damaging to your company in the long run. Here are a few reasons why you should revamp your corporate identity sooner than later:

Brand Equity:
The longer a logo is used in the marketplace, the more recognizable it becomes. This is referred to as brand equity. Logos that have been around for 20+ years such as Nike and Ford have incredible brand equity and are worth millions of dollars. If you happen to have a bad logo, you’re accumulating negative brand equity over the years and the longer you wait to change, the more money you’ll spend reeducating consumers.

Evolving With Your Business:
Successful corporate identities evolve as businesses change. UPS recently updated their classic shield logo, an identity that’s been around since the early 1960s. UPS updated the logo while maintaining its brand equity—leveraging its classic brown color scheme. The key here is to recognize whether a logo is worth evolving or if it needs to go in the scrap pile.

Signal Change:
Companies often redesign or evolve a logo to signify a major event such as a big anniversary or a new product line. A redesign can also help to energize a company or reinvent a stagnant image. A newly designed logo can act as a symbol of progress.

Competitive Positioning:
Companies are constantly fighting for positioning in the marketplace and it’s usually wise to stay one step ahead of the competition. The above mentioned UPS logo update was a direct response to an aggressive branding update by FedEx. One company was perceived as progressively moving forward while the other lagged behind. An updated logo helped with brand positioning. Bottom line, it’s better to act than react.

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