5 SIGNS YOUR BRAND IS AGEING
Let's face it, we're all getting older, it's a fact of life. However, brands don't need to accept this fate, hypothetically brands are immortal, ideas can live forever. So why are there so many examples of brands growing old and losing the power they once had?
Even the biggest brand comes to a point when it no longer has the force in the marketplace that it once had. It is no longer new or innovative, trendy or exciting, the recipient of consumer trust and confidence. It is now seen as old fashioned, stale or boring, and is on a slow decline into oblivion. A brand in this position has only two choices: either let itself slowly die out, or revitalise and evolve.
5 SIGNS YOUR BRAND IS AGEING AND HOW TO FIX IT
1) YOUR VISUAL IDENTITY IS OUT-OF-DATE
It is imperative that your brand design looks contemporary and fresh. These changes can be fairly subtle, but they will keep your brand’s visual identity current and relevant.
Traditionally, bigger brands are better at this than smaller ones. Brands such as Guinness and Coca-Cola will continually and subtly update their logo every few years or so to ensure they always look fresh and appealing to the market. These companies ensure they revitalise their brands before they have the chance to go out of date.
2) YOUR PRODUCT OR SERVICE IS NOT KEEPING PACE
In every area of delivering your product or service (whether that be technology, design, packaging, or even terms and conditions), you have to ensure what you’re offering is cutting edge, or at the very least, up-to-date.
When it comes to branding you're never too big to fail. We've seen many large corporations get lost in the sand of time such as Blockbuster and Kodak. What we can learn most from these fallen titans is that if you don't keep up with the market, you'll get left behind.
3) YOUR CUSTOMER BASE IS AGEING
Customer loyalty is fine, but this must also be supplemented by attracting new consumers to the brand. Diversify or update your brand to take a share of new - and profitable - areas of the market.
This is a common problem faced by brands such as Levi's and Harley Davidson. They once found success in appealing to young men. But when those young men got older and kept on sticking around these brands, it made these companies look "less cool" and appeal to new generations of men harder.
Old Spice faced a similar problem where its scent became associated with the older generation of men, and the "hip" youth of the '80s and '90s didn't want to be associated with the company. It wasn't until it was purchased by P&G and given a large rebranding associated with comedic marketing campaigns that the brand again became desirable to a younger demographic.
4) YOUR POSITIONING IS LOSING RELEVANCE
Brand positioning is an important thing. How you position your brand will determine how you are perceived by the market. It isn't uncommon that brands will need to rethink their positioning in order to keep up with market trends.
Guinness is a brand that has adjusted its positioning in response to market trends. It understands that its current positioning is that of a more distinguished drink and not an entry-level beer. It has aimed to position itself as a brand for young people by responding to the current demand for craft beers in the industry. Guinness has accomplished this through the creation of sub-brands such as the Hop House 13 Lager, which is better aimed at younger lager and craft beer drinkers.
5) YOUR TOUCHPOINTS ARE BECOMING INCONSISTENT
Over years of operation, you will often produce new touchpoints whether that be business cards, websites or advertisements. The natural temptation is to improve with each new output, making each one better and more modern than the last. However, this will eventually lead to increasingly inconsistent touchpoints. No one wants to see your old logo on your business card but your new one on your website. Your old brand voice in your brochure but your new one on your social media. This will lead to an inconsistent brand at best and a confused and suspicious customer at worse.
When making strategic changes to the look or feel of your brand, the transition should take place over an agreed time period. To ensure consistency, the transition should be handled by a team - whether it be a brand consultant or a marketing agency - who are in continual communication with each other and are following a singular specific vision.
It is not really a question of whether your brand is ageing, but of how you respond to it. Through a process of constant evaluation of all key areas that affect your company, services or products, and adjusting them accordingly, your brand will continue to thrive in the face of a constantly shifting and flowing market.
We might be getting older but at least we'll always have brands!
If you'd like to see how we rejuvenated companies and helped them thrive again, check out our case studies page!
About the author: Vincent Bissette is a freelance Brand Strategy and Design Consultant with over 30 years experience of branding and rebranding businesses and organisations, systematically, thoroughly and objectively. He has worked in major Design Consultancies as well as having run his own agency for 25 years, working with SMEs all over the UK to help them modernise their brand, grow their business, attract new customers, penetrate new markets and increase their sales, market share and profit. Throughout that time, there’s not much he hasn't done or many industries he hasn't worked in. He’s a creative, strategic thinker and problem solver with a wealth of experience in diagnosing trouble spots in brands and discovering their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Now based in South Lanarkshire, Scotland, he works throughout the entire UK.
Get in touch with him on Linkedin here