Our work over the years often focuses on working with “brands in transition” — perhaps a company falls under new ownership, or an organization enters into a new market. A new product line gets introduced, or a visual identity just isn’t hitting home with a target market as a company has grown.
Our work in branding is much more than what you see or even what you experience. Branding often parallels closely with business modeling, and thus, we really take pride in focusing in on business goals and how, often times, small, subtle changes can make a big impact.
Recently I was putting together a pitch for one of our current clients (a large corporation based in Chicago). There’s been some hesitation with upper management on their side to make what would seemingly be a small change to the name of the company and its overall identity. I (and we) get it — why fix something that isn’t necessarily broken? Will this seemingly small change have a big (negative) impact?
Through strategy and market research, we, of course, hope to break down these barriers, but they’re all incredibly valuable and valid concerns — especially when you’re talking about thousands, millions, or in this case, billions of dollars and thousands of employees.
Our focus with this particular project has been paying homage to where the company’s been — it’s rich history — its original industry disruption, where it finds itself today — and how we can leverage this in the development of a new brand identity — name, logo, message, and overall aesthetic.
And what this project has made us think critically about is that the difference truly is in the details. That big, monumental shifts aren’t always the answer.
Other industry leaders like Starbucks and Google, have followed a similar evolutionary path.
- Google recently evolved to a cleaner, simpler, more approachable brand mark that combines the mathematical purity of geometric forms with the childlike simplicity of schoolbook letter printing.
- As Starbucks became more iconic and now as an internationally recognized symbol, the need to include “Coffee” in the name “Starbucks Coffee” became less significant and now obsolete. It’s an example of a brand growing into its own and understanding its community.
Sometimes the best brand evolutions are truly in the details. A subtle name change, refreshed line details. These updates can and do often speak volumes to the sophistication and revitalization of a mark — and reflect the growth and innovation of a company.
In our work, we never want to lose sight of where a company has been and what’s gotten it to where it is today, but we’re active in encouraging our clients to think aspirationally about where the brand is going and what refinements are important and essential for continued success.
Innovation. Disruption. Impact. Leadership. None of these require a big splash to achieve. The difference, and often, what defines success, is in the details.