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October 16th, 2018

Two Years Later, It’s Still Never a Good Time to Change. But Should You?

In the 2 years since this blog was first written, much has changed. Economically, socially, politically, environmentally. And much will continue to change in our near future. All the more reason to revisit, and again ask yourself, “Is it time for your brand to change?”.

“Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward.”

—C.S. Lewis

Change is inevitable. Especially if we are to grow. I’ve said before that I don’t like change for the sake of change, and I stand by that. But I also don’t like avoiding change because it’s too hard or too complicated or too whatever. A great brand, like great design, takes a lot of talent. And a lot of courage.

We’ve been talking around the studio a lot lately about the customer journey. Specifically, about creating moments that matter out of your brand experiences by valuing your customers, and increasing your brand’s value to your customers through these experiences. We all agree that this is a key trigger to not only keeping customers, but also allowing them to become part of your brand with you. To build a culture of brand within the space that your brand occupies. Every touchpoint of your brand can contribute to this, if strategically conceived, designed with excellence, and thoughtfully executed to imbue brand fidelity.

In 2016, Michael Bierut and Pentagram introduced a masterful rebrand of MasterCard—its first update in nearly 20 years. One might ask, “Why did they bother?”. Because the MasterCard identity was quickly becoming irrelevant to today’s consumer, and today’s technology. By focusing on the compelling truths of the brand, which MasterCard owned, they brought it back to life for a modern consumer-facing identity. They were smart enough not to start over. Experienced brand firms know this. That’s because we do the heavy lifting to discover the right moves. We do the research. We do the analysis. Two years later, Interbrand pegged them as one the top growing brands in their annual “Best Global Brands” rankings, with a 19% percent growth in their brand value. They highlighted “responsiveness”, “relevance”, and “consistency” as top performing factors contributing to their growth. 3 factors any brand would consider worthy to be measured against when considering their brand as a higher performing asset for their business.

So great brands take talent, courage, and experience.

Knowing if your brand is losing relevance or consistency among your many constituents is the first step toward acknowledging the need for change. Typically, there are symptoms:

  • Your web site looks or feels outdated
  • Your messaging is not connecting with your target
  • Your packaging has lost its shelf appeal against the competition
  • Your sales numbers are slipping with a certain demographic
  • You’ve lost the confidence of your internal “customers”
  • There is a lack of brand culture and positive behavior toward your brand

In a healthy brand ecosystem, these are all maintenance issues with your brand and the customer journey.

Think of your brand as you think of your car. It may be a fine example of German engineering, but it needs maintenance. You have to keep it clean, have the oil changed, the brakes checked, the tires replaced, the filters and injectors cleaned, etc. If not, it will start to lag behind at the light. You lose that ability to get out in front of the guy next to you. You won’t be as attractive, and soon, no one will want you. Even you! It’s never a good time to change, so just do it.

Is your brand experience changing the behavior positively of your consumers right now? Are you winning digitally? How relevant is your brand to your emerging customers? Is your brand aligned with your business goals? If not, muster the courage to consider change. It may not be a good time, but a year from now (or 2), you’ll wish you had done it yesterday.

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