Three Reasons Why Your Brand Identity Needs a Refresh in 2021
December 29, 2020
We’ve been discussing the various ways you can proactively prepare your marketing for the new year. This week we take a look at brand identity. As far as branding goes, the tactics generally fall into two broad categories: brand voice and brand visuals. Today we are looking specifically at the visual aspects of a brand and the importance of regularly evaluating the effectiveness of your brand’s look and feel.
There are three big reasons why your visual identity may need a refresh: your brand looks old or outdated, your visual identity appears inconsistent, or your brand needs to evolve to meet changing customer needs. Let’s take a closer look at these reasons and explore ways to build a strong visual identity in 2021.
Three Reasons Why Your Branding Needs a Refresh
1. Your Branding is Dated
Logo design best practice always stresses the importance of timelessness in a brand design. Your initial look and feel should never be modeled after fads or trends that will quickly feel dated. However, there isn’t exactly a shelf life on logos, fonts, and colors palettes. This is why it’s important to find an experienced designer you can trust to evaluate your brand’s graphic appeal and explain the logic behind any recommended changes.
When you’re evaluating your visual identity, a bit of competition research can also be helpful. You certainly do not need to copy your competitors but it doesn’t hurt to see how your branding compares to what “the other guys” are doing, especially if it seems that they are winning more customers. Furthermore, analyzing your competitor’s brand can help you better position your business in a unique way.
It’s also important to make sure that your designs appeal to your ideal customers. Companies like Yeti and Cultivate know their customers well and create visual experiences that draw them into the brand story. It’s important to also consider the audience you’re trying to reach and create a visual identity that appeals to that target demographic.
If you determine that your branding is dated, don’t automatically assume you need a complete overhaul. You may, but your branding may also benefit from a few tweaks and minor adjustments that create a more current appeal.
2. Your Branding is Inconsistent
An inconsistent visual identity is confusing to the people you’re trying to reach with your message. The design “look and feel” of your business should be an accurate reflection of both the product and the experience you’re selling, and translate appropriately across various media and platforms. When these visual experiences are out of sync, your customers will be turned off by the disorganized messages you’re sending.
Visual branding inconsistencies can emerge in different ways. Ffor example, your brand may sell modern, cutting-edge products but your logo looks like it was designed when Clinton was President. Another major branding inconsistency happens when your print imagery doesn’t work well in a digital environment. As digital marketing continues gaining momentum, it’s critical that your branding look great on a billboard, a t-shirt, and a mobile device.
The product, the look, and the experience need to sing together in perfect harmony for maximum effectiveness. It’s a delicate balance and the right designer will understand how to adjust your brand to make an impact across all platforms.
3. Your Brand is Evolving
This year has caused most businesses to rethink their strategic approach to sales and marketing. If you’ve made changes in response to the impacts of the pandemic, your visuals may benefit from tweaks to help communicate this evolution to your customers. For example, if you’re shifting to offer more digital and virtual services, your branding should also match that shift. When you’re offering customers something new or taking the business in a new direction, your visual identity needs to be updated to match what you’re doing as a company.
It’s not uncommon for a business to go through several iterations as it grows. Take Apple for instance. Once a brand selling only computers, Applenow sells phones, watches, and music streaming subscriptions. As the audience and the needs changed, the look of the company changed, too. Maybe your company is evolving and your brand needs to be updated to reflect who you’re becoming.
It’s also good to consider whether or not you’re using your visual identity to its full potential. Another aspect of these changing times is the importance of the “unboxing experience.” If you’re shipping products, don’t underestimate the power of branded packaging. You could be getting a ton of free publicity from delighted customers who video their unboxing experience and share it on their social media channels.
We Can Help You Improve Your Visual Identity
There are many factors that contribute to a successful visual brand, and these factors should be regularly evaluated to ensure effectiveness. If your company doesn’t employ in-house creative services, you may need to look outside of the business for help fairly evaluate the effectiveness of your visual identity. On the other hand, if you haphazardly outsource these services, you risk building a disconnected visual brand that leaves customers confused.
We understand that some small businesses and nonprofits need a trusted team to come alongside them to guide them through the process. The design and development of strategic marketing collateral should communicate your brand values and makes a positive impression on prospects, leads, and customers. But beyond these branding basics, savvy businesses need to think beyond the logo and embrace new ways to use visuals to draw customers into your brand story.
We would love to help you evaluate your visual identity and recommend ways you can use branding to amplify your message and grow your business in 2021. Please let us know how we can help!