A brand is “a unique design, sign, symbol, words, or a combination of these, employed in creating an image that identifies a product and differentiates it from its competitors.” In the digital world, the perceived value of a brand is of utmost importance. There are two elements at work here – Brand Identity and Brand Image. Brand Identity is the way in which the organization wants its customers to perceive the brand. While Brand Image is the actual perception in their minds. Companies often resort to a brand redesign if the identity and image are not in sync.
Brand Identity includes the brand name, logo, tagline and typeface among other things. It is a cumulative effect of these parameters that create a brand image. If the brand’s design is synchronous with the identity, then the image becomes associated with integrity, distinction and reliability in the customer’s mind. This is something most brands try to achieve.
Can you identify these logos? We are sure you can. These are one of the most recognized logos in the world. Nike. Apple. Mercedes. McDonald’s.
How about these taglines?
Easy to recall, isn’t it? The interesting thing to be noted here is that all these brands went through a series of redesigns with time. There can be different reasons behind opting for a brand redesign, however, at the heart of it all lies the image it creates in the minds of the customers.
Brand Image is undeniably important for the success of any brand. The most basic elements of a brand image are the logo, slogan and emotion with which people associate the brand. Buyers today are more knowledgeable than their historical counterparts. They read and research, look for reviews and loosen their purse strings only when they are convinced that the brand deserves their business. They don’t merely buy a product or service, but also invest in the brand’s image.
When to opt for a brand redesign?
With this basic understanding of the identity and image of a brand, it is easy to deduce that the brand design plays a significant role in improving the perceived value of your brand. As your business grows, your brand needs a facelift from time to time. Here are some common reasons behind brands opting for redesigning:
- Like human beings, brands need to evolve with time. Businesses usually start with an idea but as they progress they start diversifying. This diversified venture needs a new identity.
- Fashion is not the only industry where trends exist. The way people consume information also follows trends. Keeping up with these trends is essential to create a brand image of being aware of the market. Not many consumers think highly of a brand following outdated methods.
- Introduction of a new product or service can radically change the target group [TG] of consumers for your brand. Brands constantly try to redesign themselves in accordance with the new TG.
- BMW has not changed its brand design for decades but it did add a 3D element to its logo. Most brands keep adding subtle variations to their brand design as it refreshes the perception of the brand.
Remember, change is the only constant when it comes to brand designs.
Are you ready for a brand redesign?
Re-branding or brand redesign can be an important event in the history of your organization. A hasty decision can back-fire while too much procrastination can be counterproductive too. Here is a little help. Answer these 7 questions to know if the time is ripe to opt for re-branding.
How old is your current brand design?
If your answer is
- A – The probability of the design being relevant to your business is pretty high.
- B or C – Chances are that your business or TG has evolved and you must analyze them carefully to come to a decision.
- D – The best guess would be that your brand design is not relevant to your business or TG today. Start planning for a brand redesign.
The recommended time frame to assess the feasibility of re-branding is around 4 years. Provided, the brand hasn’t seen any major changes in those years.
How does your brand design make you feel?
Remember, we spoke about the brand image above where we specified the importance of the emotion with which people associate with your brand. Try to visit your website or view your logo and/or other collaterals as a consumer.
How do you feel? – Excited? Reliable? Out-dated? Modern? Feminist? Misogynist?
Does it convey your brand message effectively?
If you don’t find it attractive, chances are that your customers won’t either. Analyze which areas of the design are not in sync with your business today and work on them. Conviction in your brand design is the stepping stone to the desired brand identity.
Has your Target Audience changed?
Whenever businesses launch a product/service, they outline the profile of the consumers who would be targeted as potential buyers. Popularly known as TG or target group, it usually consists of the demographics and psychographics of an ideal consumer. Most successful brands start operations with a specific TG but constantly monitor and modify the group with changes in product/service offerings.
There are times when brand owners do not realize the effect of a launch of a new product on their TG. When was the last time you sat down and analyzed the focus of your branding marketing efforts? Has your TG undergone a change? If yes, then it might be the time that you realign your brand’s design to the new group.
Does your Brand design complement your Brand Story?
Traditionally, brands were more focused on telling people about their products, services, and raw material superiority. Those days are long gone. The growth of social media platforms has induced a shift in priority of brand stories as an important element of a marketing plan. Stories have always intrigued and excited the human mind. There are many studies that corroborate the impact of a well-written story on the reader’s mind. A brand story that connects with the reader establishes trust and a strong emotional connect – elements necessary to build a long client-brand relationship.
The brand design and story have to complement each other. Be it colours, style, typeface or logo it should all seem like a part of the brand. If not, then it might be time to think of a brand redesign.
Competition analysis – is your design from the dinosaur era?
Trends in design can be broadly classified into two types, the classic trends which never go out of style [think Times New Roman font or blue, grey and white palette] and popularity-driven styles [think minimalism, modern retro or hand-drawn]. While it is not recommended to keep redesigning our brand with every change in trend, you can’t stick to an outdated font or color palette either. Even major brands who rely heavily on classic design styles, tweak their designs to keep up with a modern trend.
It is a thin line. Assess your competition and see how people are reacting to the change in design. Don’t follow the herd blindly but don’t be the primitive-odd-brand-out either. Take your decision of brand redesign meticulously.
Is your ‘Brand Design Quality’ = ‘Product / Service Quality’?
Let’s look at the logo of the luxury wristwatch manufacturer – ROLEX. A simple design, elegant and a crown as the motif. The word Rolex is derived from a French phrase “houloguorie exquise”, meaning exquisite. Their slogan is “A Crown for every Achievement”. The crown symbolizes prestige, victory, and perfectionism – something Rolex always strived for and prides itself on.
Among other things, one of the important things to be noted here is that all elements of the logo – which is the face of the brand – are in sync with the quality of products offered by the company. It symbolizes richness and manufactures high-end watches. However, this logo would probably be out of place for a mid / low segment watch manufacturer.
How does your brand design rate on this parameter? Is the quality of the design synchronous with the quality of your products? If not, it’s time to bring the balance back and opt for a brand redesign.
Is your decision of re-branding impulsive or analytical?
Apart from being a brand owner, you are also a consumer of various marketing activities targeted towards you as an ideal customer. Scrolling through your social media feed can bring you face to face with a design that takes your breath away! The brand owner starts taking charge and wants to create a design that has this WOW factor in it! You decide to rebrand.
Sounds familiar? Hold on to your horses. A brand redesign needs a much more analytical approach. It needs to be an evolution from your previous design and must be in sync with your brand story while being indicative of the products offered by you and talk to your target group. Avoid making impulsive re-branding decisions at all costs.
CASE STUDY – Zomato
The food services company, Zomato has rebranded six times from its launch in 2008.
In 2008, Zomato started out as Foodiebay.com. It was a website that posted restaurant menus and reviews and recommendations of places to eat. Here is the logo:
In 2010, Foodiebay.com re-branded itself as Zomato.com. The company realized that the name Foodiebay wasn’t a good choice if they wanted to touch broader horizons. Also, preventing any overstepping of eBay before accepting online payments was important too. Hence, they chose the name ‘Zomato’ – with the idea of food at the center but a name that is timeless and encompassing.
Within the next couple of years the word mark was used as the brand identity [the sliced tomato was dropped]. Here are the logos between 2012 and 2014:
By the end of 2014, Zomato had evolved into an international food community with a presence in 19 countries. This led to the evolution of their brand identity:
This logo symbolically, and literally, stands for the love of good food. Also, it symbolizes Zomato’s connection with those who share their passion for food. The people who love, and live, to eat. At the beginning of 2015, Zomato acquired Urbanspoon – a Seattle based food portal and decided to opt for rebranding again. In the words of Deepinder Goyal, the Founder and CEO of Zomato: “We had to make sure we could get Urbanspoon’s existing user base in the US and Australia, accounting for two-thirds of our traffic once we complete migration, to start using Zomato.” This is what the brand looked like:
In June 2016, the company dropped the spoon from the logo as Urbanspoon users were now comfortable with the brand. Their current logo looks like this:
History – Pre- 2014
While many people find Zomato’s re-branding decisions too fast, there is a history of the company that most are not aware of.
- The service began as Foodiebay in 2008.
- In November 2010 it was renamed as Zomato.
- By 2011, Zomato launched in Bengaluru, Pune, Chennai, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad and introduced smartphone applications.
- Zomato expanded overseas in September 2012, to the United Arab Emirates, Sri Lanka, Qatar, the United Kingdom, the Philippines, and South Africa.
- In 2013, the company launched in New Zealand, Turkey, Brazil, and Indonesia with its website and apps available in Turkish, Brazilian Portuguese, Indonesian, and English.
- April 2014 – launched its services in Portugal. In July, it made its first acquisition by buying Menu-mania for an undisclosed sum. The company pursued other acquisitions such as Lunchtime.cz and Obedovat.sk for a combined US$3.25 million.
- September 2014, Zomato acquired Poland-based restaurant search service Gastronauci for an undisclosed sum.
- October 2014 – the firm launched its services in Canada.
- November 2014 – it extended its reach to Lebanon and Ireland as well.
- December 2014 – it acquired Italian restaurant search service Cibando.
- January 2015 – Zomato acquired Seattle-based food portal Urbanspoon. The acquisition marked the firm’s entry into the United States, Canada and Australia, and brought it into direct competition with Yelp, Zagat and OpenTable. In the same month, the firm also acquired Mekanist in an all-cash deal.
As can be seen above, Zomato, after settling in during the first three years of operation, started expanding and acquiring other brands. It was imperative for them to make the transition of customers from the acquired brands into Zomato seamless. Zomato did a fine job of balancing their current user base while making acquired users comfortable by implementing subtle changes in the brand identity. In Deepinder Goyal’s words, “…we hope to be in a position where Zomato users across the planet will be able to easily recognize this icon on their phones, and fire up the app to find restaurants lightning-quick.” The brand surely is on its way to achieving this objective.
As an ending note
The decision to opt for a brand design is a critical one. The shoe that fits one person usually pinches another. There is no formula for a good brand design – only questions. Answer the questions listed above and lay down a marketing strategy to help re-brand effectively.