Is It Time to Change My Corporate Branding Strategy?

Branding strategy

Concerned clients keep asking me whether they need to update their company’s branding strategy–  their logo, website look and feel, and marketing materials. Invariably, they worry about the impact on their company’s overall image and strategy.

Essentially, there are two questions that need to be assessed first:

1) How will any changes to your corporate branding identity impact the positioning of your company?

2) When is the right time to change your company’s branding?

The questions are connected. Changing the visual representation of your corporate identity will highlight different aspects of your company. Is that good or bad, you may ask?Well, it really depends on the reason why you need to make this change.

Corporate branding identity can be changed at the company level or at the product level and, regardless of the magnitude at which branding changes, it all comes back to corporate branding strategy. You can see an example below from when Apple launched the iMac in 1998;the company made a drastic jump from a rainbow logo to a monochromatic logo.

apple logo

Xerox, on the other hand, retained a fairly consistent company logo from 1961 to 2004, before it tried to reinvent itself. Everybody associates Xerox with copy machines and this has always posed a major problem for the company. In 2008, the company changed its logo in the hopes of moving away from that stereotype- they adjusted the font of the corporate branding to include a ball with a modern X:

xerox logo evolution

Did it work? I’m not so sure.

The fact is, before you go making any major changes, you need to be clear about why you need to update your corporate branding and determine how to get the results you want.

Here are some good reasons to consider changing your branding strategy:

    • The company/product needs a more contemporary, modern, or fresh look.
    • The company aims to address a new target market.
    • A new name, product, or trend is being introduced.
    • The brand no longer resonates with your target market.
    • The current brand identity has attracted limited or negative attention.
    • The company has changed its overall marketing strategy and it is no longer consistent with the corporate branding identity.
    • The company has undergone major legal, competitive, or financial turmoil and wants to improve or differentiate its image.

For the most part, changes to your corporate branding should be subtle and occur gradually. Take Microsoft as an example. Microsoft has changed its corporate branding over the years but, as you can see below, most of the drastic changes occurred early in the life of the company:

microsoft logo

You’ll often see the same kind of incremental changes for their product branding as well. Microsoft’s branding of Internet Explorer evolved gradually to take on a sleeker, more modern look:

internet explorer logo evolution

The point is that even very mild changes can make a world of difference. Once you’ve justified the change in your corporate branding identity, the next step is to make the transition without confusing clients. This is a professional job which requires you to:

    1. Capitalize on your existing positioning.
    2. Convey your new or updated message.
    3. Bridge between the old and the new corporate branding identity.
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At Direct Objective, this kind of challenge is right up our alley. We create silent revolutions with major image transformations that work. Consult us before updating your branding strategy. We’ll lead you to a successful corporate branding identity change.

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