My Awkward Brand Evolution - A Case Study

Being a late bloomer sucks when you're a marketer. 

Why? Because all of my embarrassing growing pains are online. Early headshots, old Facebook posts... all shelved and searchable. Not that anyone would really care to look, but knowing that they could…

It’s nearly impossible to shake one's digital shadow in the age of social media. In my case, my digital shadow is wearing crumpled dress pants (I didn’t own an iron until 2014) and is trying to sell websites. 

Google never really forgets. I can only cringe.

As tempting as it is to NEVER BRING THIS UP, I feel a personal responsibility to use myself as a case study for brand evolution. I'll even provide a few examples as we continue. 

Elle Connects recently had a brand update complete with photography and a new logo a little over a year ago, but since then, the business has grown incrementally. With growth, comes change. And this evolution just wasn't being represented by my materials any longer. When I began to hesitate before sending off my proposal packages, it became obvious to me that my marketing materials no longer fit. 

The first step? A fresh round of professional photography in a more relaxed setting than the previous. I felt like I seemed stiff and unnatural in my older materials. I brought my nutbar dog with me to this shoot, and she had me laughing the entire time. It shows in my smile. Do this. 

Using those, I slightly updated my social and web banners. My logo and brand colours stayed the same, but my materials were revitalized, as you can see: 

 Above: Marketing Materials 2014-2015  Below: Slightly Updated, late 2015

Above: Marketing Materials 2014-2015

Below: Slightly Updated, late 2015

The changes might have been small, but the impact was big. I felt a renewed sense of pride in the business, and confidently submitted a couple of new proposals for exciting projects. The cringe factor had disappeared.  

So how do you know when it’s time to refresh your brand? First of all, there’s a difference between a rebrand and a brand refresh/update.

A rebrand is a complete overhaul of your professional image. 

 Like the time Gap tried to be cool.

Like the time Gap tried to be cool.

Much less drastic (and risky), a brand refresh is when your brand is updated, but still remains recognizable. 

A rebranding team is typically called for extreme situations like new management, revamped artistic direction of a company, or to salvage the more dire cases, of plummeting sales or a catastrophic PR incident. Requiring a full rebrand often represents a major turning point for a business, whereas a brand refresh typically might happen several times during the lifespan of a business.

Three signs it might be time to consider a brand refresh…

Your brand is outdated 

Much like fashion, font and graphic styles come and go. Your image speaks before your words can – and an outdated look will easily place an expiration date on your brand. Consider both the digital and offline applications of your brand – does you look relevant on all platforms?  Chances are, if it’s been a few years, it probably looks that way. Making changes assures your market that you are growing with the times.  

Your target market has changed or expanded

Whether your target audience is simply growing up, or you’ve expanded your marketing efforts to capture new audiences, your brand needs to ‘speak’ to your customer – where they are, right now. 

Your business has evolved 

Any significant changes within your company (think key services, markets, or philosophies) should be communicated to your audience. A clear communications plan coupled with a brand refresh can tell your ‘brand story’ the way it ought to be told.  

If you’re looking to leverage your existing brand equity, attract new clientele, appear relevant, and keep your current fan base intrigued, a brand refresh can be a great strategy. 

Be sure to consult professionals for the successful execution of your new, evolved brand story for optimal results. 

Questions? Contact us today.

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