It’s often human nature to resist change because persisting with the comfortingly familiar feels ‘safer’. Sadly the marketplace is littered with case studies and examples of once very successful brands now gone forever, often because their leaders didn’t implement the critical changes needed, together with a brand refresh, that were essential to ensuring a successful future.
“A Business That Doesn’t Change
Is A Business That Is
Going To Die”
The most recent example of this kind of demise is Stuttafords, a 159-year icon leading department store in South Africa, which will permanently close its doors at the end of July 2017.
Another example is Sears, America’s previously largest retailer. It was a mistake their leaders made to assume no one could overtake them, and yet both Walmart and Amazon have. Sears failed to adapt and as a result, in June 2017, closed yet another 72 stores.
Both Stuttafords and Sears could still be flourishing today if they had been more open to real change and the sad fact is, to quote Buckminster Fuller, “You never change things by fighting reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete” so a well-timed brand refresh underpinned by a thorough brand audit could have resulted in a very different story for both.
In this article, we’ll uncover the 7 ways a brand refresh could have prevented the downfall of some of the world’s greatest companies, to make them more productive so they could have maintained and increased their sales.
What Is The Meaning Of “Brand Refresh”?
The findings can change the very foundation of a business, indeed the whole business model. It may have kept Sears, once the largest American retailer, and the doors of Stuttafords open.
For example, a brand refresh may mean a change in communication emphasis internally and externally, or a change in operations or perhaps an aspect of the brand story needs leveraging differently or the development of a whole new product or service is required to add a new revenue stream and meet customers’ needs. It may be that the company’s messaging, language and copywriting needs re-evaluation because it’s no longer relevant or appropriate to where the market has moved.
Refreshing your brand may even require a change at the very core of the business and what it stands for, and how that manifests in the organisation’s culture. What’s often misunderstood by many is thinking that a “brand refresh” entails cosmetic changes in the form of design only — that is a big mistake!
Changes such as design, video, photography, fonts, colour palettes and so forth should only be instigated as a result of much deeper strategic input where the brand has been fully evaluated, re-codified and mapped out for current and future market relevance.
In fact, nothing in the visual aspect of a brand should be touched or given a visual refresh until the strategic rationale behind that change has been fully developed in depth because it’s the outputs from that process that informs and provides much-needed direction for a design change.
Approaching your brand refresh in this way ensures a successful result and strong return on investment while also avoiding decisions based on uninformed subjective preferences.
Zopa, a UK based company founded in 2004 and consisting of approximately 200 staff members, was the first peer to peer lending company, and provides clarity on what “brand refresh” entails:
On a larger scale, Westin Hotels shows the cosmetic changes of their brand refresh in this video:
Top 7 Ways A Brand Refresh Will Make You More Productive & Increase Sales
#1: A Strategic Brand Refresh Increases The Sales Of Outdated Brands
Once every other fast food restaurant started adding toasted sandwiches to their menus, Quiznos lost their uniqueness.
A brand audit to evaluate areas of new opportunity, innovation and growth, not to mention strengths and weakness, would certainly provide the much-needed direction to identify where to innovate so a brand refresh delivers a real return on investment and brings much needed, perceived uniqueness and personality back into their offering, and thereby increased sales.
If you want direction giving your brand a health check then take a look at our brand audit programme called the Auditing Analysis Accelerator™. This online course takes you through all the key steps you need to consider in giving your brand a health check. It enables you to identify areas of strength, weakness and pinpoint new opportunities for innovation and growth.
Alternatively, if you want in-person professional direction with experienced expertise or would like us to conduct your brand audit for you and would like to discuss the process and working with us then drop us a line to [email protected] or give us a call T: +353 1 8322724 (GMT hours 9:00-17:00). We’d be delighted to talk with you.
#2: A Brand Refresh Enhances Customer Experience
When brands keep in touch with the needs of their primary customers, innovate to develop new offerings, re-invent to maintain relevance, and address their ideals customers’ needs expeditiously, they continue to satisfy their customers and attract new ones too.
Things constantly change, and if your business has a flourishing model today, it doesn’t mean it will keep flourishing tomorrow because change is the heartbeat of all growth.
Innovation is the change that unlocks new value on which to build your brand’s life because it attracts future generations of customers while keeping the existing ones.
For instance, years ago not all businesses needed a website, but now whenever people initiate a search for goods and services it’s online. Today it’s essential for every business to have their own website, and a generic cookie cutter solution won’t cut it either if you want to stand out. Your website must reflect what your brand stands for and exude brand personality to attract your ideal customer profile to grow sales. It must be a great user experience which makes it easy and pleasurable for your prospects and customers alike to do business with you too.
It’s far more cost-effective to keep a customer than it is to replace them.
#3: A Brand Refresh Enables You To Command A Premium
The cafe around the corner may charge $1 for a great tasting cup of coffee, but many people would rather pay $4 for a Starbucks coffee or one where they can sit down and enjoy the whole experience. Because more often than not, coffee is not just about coffee. Food is not just about food.
When companies touch on the emotional, as Electrolux did in 2015 by showing the benefit of their products instead of the features, by making emotional “warm homely associated feel good connections” through telling a story about everyday happy family life with visual imagery we all relate to like preparing and enjoying a meal together or celebratory occasions shared with family and friends, they touch a chord in us which is far more powerful because it gets our attention about making memories together.
This in turn potentially convinces us to buy because we’re sharing those experiences and making those memories together with a little help from Electrolux. In their “make life delicious” feature, they demonstrate – without hard selling – how their products can, well, make life delicious:
When a company refreshes their brand, sometimes from the very core of who they are as a business, they can charge a premium because customers perceive the brand to be offering greater value. Just like Starbucks.
#4: A Successful Brand Refresh Attracts The Best Employees
It’s common knowledge that the best employees are those who are happy in their jobs and with the companies they work for. As a result, they are more productive and enthusiastic about carrying out their tasks.
It makes sense then, that those employees are more valuable than those just clocking in, because they get more done in less time, and are likely to be highly engaged, positively speaking to friends and family about the company they work for, create word-of-mouth referrals, be great brand advocates which are the most revered and cost-effective form of advertising available today.
A brand refresh is a powerful way of raising morale, strengthening team bonds and creating a passion for the company from the inside out.
Once the fire burns from within, it naturally gets transformed externally, thereby attracting the best employees to fit your company’s culture. And company culture, by the way, is always integral to a comprehensive brand refresh because cosmetic changes will never deliver changes in attitude, engagement, satisfaction, productivity or sales. Change has to be at a much more fundamental level to achieve long lasting results.
Attracting the best employee for your brand reduces costs, increases productivity contributes towards a positive brand reputation and the result is increased ROI.
#5: A Strong Brand Refresh Creates Powerful Word-Of-Mouth Advertising
Since the dawn of ages, word-of-mouth has been the most powerful form of advertising. It’s why smart companies make customer satisfaction a primary priority.
And since consumers began shopping online, it’s become an even more profound way of creating high trust levels which are essential for online buying. When customers don’t trust you, they won’t buy from you.
Now here’s the thing: in time, an effective brand refresh will result in word-of-mouth advertising, which means you spend less on paid advertising because your employees and customers become free representatives and influential brand advocates.
Those who underestimate their employees’ power to make real change in the business are wrong in their thinking. The Edelman Trust Barometer for 2013 reported that “Employees rank higher in public trust than a firm’s PR department, CEO, or Founder. 41% of us believe that employees are the most credible source of information regarding their business.”
#6: A Brand Refresh Ensures Engaged Employees Are More Productive
We’ve already discussed how the best employees are the most productive employees. This is because they are emotionally engaged with the brand.
The best-to-work-for companies are also often the companies who make the most profit because they understand the value of high employee engagement.
High engagement means staff do not simply work for a paycheck, but work for a sense of fulfilment, contributing to something bigger than themselves in which they play a meaningful role as part of the team. High engagement levels don’t just “happen” in a business, they are created by intentional design, and this is part of a brand refresh.
The vision of the company is translated to each individual person as part of the team, from the catering personnel to customer-facing staff to the office based professionals, sales managers and senior executives.
It’s fundamental psychology: people are wired for fulfilment.
When they feel as if they are contributing to a greater cause that they believe in, they are more committed, and the outcome is higher productivity.
#7: A Successful Brand Refresh Ensures Strong Brands Generate More Revenue
It’s a fact. The stronger the brand, the bigger the profits.
They both sell brown, sweet flavoured liquid but Coca-Cola generates more revenue than Pepsi because it’s a more powerful brand. Even though in blind testing many people actually prefer the taste of Pepsi in blind taste tests, the next time they are faced with a Coca-Cola or Pepsi choice, Coca-Cola typically wins.
Psychology Today explains it as, “… in the early 2000s, new brain imaging studies found evidence that that an area of the brain called the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, or VMPC, is the seat of the warm fuzziness we experience when we contemplate a familiar brand-name product.”
And this is why Coca-Cola dominates Pepsi, even though more people actually prefer the taste of Pepsi in blind taste research.
In addition, strong brands foster high employee engagement levels. Smart Business says that “The bottom-line impact of having engaged employees was recently measured by Towers Perrin. It estimated that high-engagement firms grew earnings per share at a rate of 28 percent, while low-engagement firms saw a decline of 11.2 percent.”
Non-profits who go through brand refreshes also see a shift in revenue. Non-Profit Pro reports that a survey they conducted showed that non-profits who did brand refreshes, saw a “sizeable shift in their ability to raise money and that more than 50% of those nonprofits saw an increase in revenue.”
Successful Brand Refresh Examples
A brand refresh is far more than a logo redesign or website update. However, a logo redesign or new look website may be part of the resulting outcomes from of a brand refresh strategy. In these two examples, we see the “new look” SurveyMonkey and Canadian Yellow Pages logo and website upgrade resulting from a brand refresh strategy.
Survey Monkey has 746 employees and was founded in 1999:
Survey Monkey’s logo BEFORE and AFTER
Website before the brand refresh
Website after the brand refresh
Canadian Yellow Pages
YellowPages BEFORE and AFTER its Brand Refresh
YellowPages website before the brand refresh
YellowPages website after the brand refresh
It is a sad day when leading brands are forced to close their doors or downgrade from a position of leadership to a struggling little company when a strategically driven brand refresh may have propelled them to greater heights or at least ensured a comparably successful future.
If those brands that have disappeared from the market entirely or declined from previous heady successes had implemented a brand refresh, they may still be experiencing leadership today because a successful brand refresh offers at least seven key benefits:
- It increases sales, especially when the company is outdated
- It enables companies to keep customers instead of replacing them
- When brands are strong, they can charge more than their competitors
- Good brands attract the right and the best people to work for them
- Effective brand refreshes result in word-of- mouth advertising from customers and staff
- It creates passionate employees who are more productive
- Strong brands make more profit than weak ones
The questions are;
- How well is your brand performing?
- When did you last give your brand a health check?
- Have you identified new areas for innovation and growth using a brand audit?
- If you’re considering a brand refresh have you underpinned that with a robust strategic review to ensure you get the best return on your investment?
Want to refresh your brand but you’re not sure where to start to get a successful return on your investment?
Drop us a line or give us a call…we’re here to help!
If you want direction and support transforming your brand so it fully embraces changing trends and increases sales then the Persona Brand Building Blueprint™ Mastermind is the perfect fit for you.
This is a two-day brand building intensive shared with a small group of like-minded peers where you work on your brand with our leadership. In fact, over the two days, you re-evaluate your brand, codify it and create your brand strategy from the ground up whether you’re revitalising an existing brand or creating a new one.
At the end of the two-day Persona Brand Building Blueprint™ Mastermind you leave with your fully documented brand strategy ready for implementation in your business or organisation.
If your team is larger and you’d like to include everyone’s’ participation in the Persona Brand Building Blueprint™ Mastermind then we also run in-house private client brand building intensive programmes too.
Just drop us a line to [email protected] or give us a call T: +353 1 8322724 (GMT 9:00 – 17:00) to discuss your preferences and we’ll develop your brand building intensive bespoke to your particular brand requirements so that you have your brand solution built to secure your future success.