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 is no longer the force in the marketplace that it once was. 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1) Your visual identity is out-of-date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 These companies ensure they revitalise their brands before they have the chance to go out of date.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 Levis and Harley Davidson. They once found success in appealing to young men but when those young men got older and began to stick around the brand awkwardly lingering, it made it "less cool" and appealing to new generations of men.
Old Spice faces a similar problem where their 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 them. It wasn't until they were purchased by P&G and given a large rebranding associated with comedic marketing campaigns that the brand again became desirable to a younger target market.
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 who have adjusted their positioning in response to market trends. Guinness understands that their current positioning is that of a more distinguished drink and not an entry-level beer. They have aimed to position themselves as a brand for young people by responding to the current demand for craft beers among this market. They have accomplished this through the creation of sub-brands such as hop house 13 lager, which is better positioned to appeal to younger lager and craft beer drinkers.
5) Your touchpoints are growing 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.
A good example of sharp and effective brand transformation is Juventus football club which we covered here.
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, service or product, and adjusting them accordingly, your brand will continue to adjust and thrive in the face of a constantly shifting and flowing market.
We might be getting older but at least we'll always have brands!
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About the author: Vincent Bissette is the Creative & Managing Director of Propel Marketing & Design, as well as acting as a Brand Advisor at various client companies. For over 30 years Vincent has been helping local and national companies across the UK achieve greater commercial success while minimising the cost of doing it. Vincent has been at the heart of design and marketing in Glasgow for 30 years and. Throughout that time, there’s not much he hasn't done or many industries he hasn't worked in. Now based in Hamilton, South Lanarkshire with Propel Marketing and Design he looks to continue to transform the fortunes of businesses through modern professional branding.
Get in touch with him on Linkedin here