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Oftentimes, we think of brand identity development as part of an organization’s roots. And while this legwork is an important step, it’s just the beginning of the brand identity journey. As the business grows and dynamics change, one’s brand identity must also be nurtured to adhere to the times, without losing the essence of what’s been created. After all, you don’t want to create an unnecessary disconnect with previous prospects or customers.
In some cases, the need for a brand refresh is triggered by internal factors like cultural changes within the business, or the introduction of new product or service lines. Other times, external factors are the catalyst, from changing market conditions that alter the needs of your target audience to a rise in competitors with a strong brand presence.
When there is reasoning for a brand refresh, these three steps help guide your efforts.
The brand discovery process involves analyzing your organization from several angles, but most importantly from your customers’ point of view. Their insights paint the picture of how your target audience perceives both the market and your brand — perceptions that may have changed over time, if you’ve been through this exercise before.
One way to reach customers is through short interviews or surveys. Let’s consider a provider of third-party solutions for mortgage lenders. Through targeted questions, you can have a lens into the current market challenges your audience faces — after all, real estate dynamics are always changing — and what they need from a provider.
While such insights can help you strengthen relationships with existing customers, they can also be funneled into your buyer persona development. By refreshing personas to speak to current challenges and goals — and perhaps even adding new personas — you’ll have a foundation to better communicate and connect with your target audience.
Your brand strategy encompasses many different components —your company’s value proposition, positioning statements around your products and services, visuals and more. Updated insights from your persona discovery process can inform each of these variables, creating a cohesive brand architecture that aligns with your new vision while respecting the history of your brand.
Going back to the mortgage solutions provider example above, the discovery process may reveal that customers are most concerned with compliance as industry regulations have become more strict and expediting turnaround times as borrower expectations grow. As an established brand with a 100+ year history in the financial space, the provider wants to bridge their rich background with the investments they’ve made to modernize their operations.
Here are some ideas on how to weave these sentiments into your brand architecture:
Before you launch a brand refresh, it’s vital to ensure everyone is speaking the same language, both vocally and visually. Be sure to update your brand guidelines based on your revised brand strategy so internal personnel are operating on the same page and external prospects and customers are having a consistent experience.
Closing the loop on a brand refresh means tuning into how the updates are received by your target audience. This feedback, available in many forms, can help you see if your efforts are hitting the right marks or if there’s further room to build upon your findings.
For instance, after you’ve updated the messaging on your website’s homepage, you can create a goal related to that change in Google Analytics. Comparing time on page and bounce rate metrics before and after the update can provide insights into whether or not the new messaging is resonating well with your target audience.
Social media can also serve a valuable purpose, too. As you promote posts that utilize new imagery and messaging, take note of the engagement you see — from comments on the posts to shares that boost their visibility. This is a helpful way to see how your brand identity refresh is impacting the way your target audience connects with you.
Refreshing an established brand is a delicate balancing act. It requires a careful approach that respects where a brand has come from and capitalizes on what it’s doing now to best serve its target market.
With years of expertise in brand experience, Kuno Creative is well positioned to help brands not only establish their identity but refresh it as business dynamics and goals grow and shift. Learn more about our process here.