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: