Clients frequently come to PR pros for help developing a new logo and brand identity.
We typically jump right in on a project, but there are times when we should counsel against changing a long-standing visual identity.
Here are three reasons not to change your brand identity:
1. “Because it’s time…” isn’t a good reason.
CEOs and clients will often say they are “tired of their logo” and ask for a fresh look. However, without supporting data, you should be skeptical. Organizations work hard to establish a familiar logo and brand identity that connects with audiences. Making a change can derail important relationships.
Before switching anything, begin first with internal analysis of your positioning and promise. Then, dive deeper into consumer attitudes. Research can help you learn how your key audiences feel about your business. The findings will reveal the best ways to enhance connections to your customers—and it may not involve a logo change.
2. Valuable brand equity is at risk.
A good logo and brand identity are familiar symbols that connect consumers to positive experiences and expectations. Science has proven that our brain takes shortcuts and prefers symbols of comfort, such as the logo of a favorite brand. Familiarity and brand equity can help consumers more quickly choose your product.
Changing your logo is a quick way to disrupt this important brand equity, both consciously and subconsciously.
3. You may lose loyalty.
The true extension of brand equity is building trust and relationships.
If you change your logo, customers will inevitably wonder why. When GAP tried to change its highly familiar icon, they had a lot of unhappy customers who felt betrayed and expressed nothing short of wrath. The new logo was abandoned, and the company took heat for a poorly executed program. Consumer loyalty has never been fully restored.
While you consider these words of warning, keep in mind that there are many valid reasons to change your brand identity. Your logo may need to work more effectively with new mediums or to reflect new product and service offerings. A merger, acquisition or an irreparably damaged reputation can also be cause for significant brand identity changes.
When a true need exists, logo and brand identity change can be done very well. The key to success is understanding how you are perceived by crucial audiences. How much do they understand you? How much do they trust you? More important, how will they react to change?
Understanding those perceptions will guide your brand identity strategy.