Every business begins with a story. From that story the brand comes to life and it becomes the foundation for the name and logo. It is unlikely the logo and brand name would come first.
When a rebrand occurs, it usually happens for a reason. Eric Thoelke, president and executive creative director of TOKY depicts a rebrand as:
“It’s very rarely done for aesthetic reasons and almost always done to strengthen the business to compete better with rivals or to signal a change in the direction of the company, like a merger, acquisition or spin off.”
When you think about your business branding or maybe your favorite product brand, how do you feel? In most cases there is a story and possibly an emotional connection behind the brand you like.
Consider this video by LEGO.
Who knew LEGO could create such an emotional connection with their brand? Maybe it started years ago for you and the memories you still carry with you as a parent. More on the LEGO brand later.
A strong brand generates emotions
Every good brand creates some form of emotional connection between the brand and their audience. The stronger the emotional response created the more powerful the brand impact can have on its audience. It isn’t easy to create an emotional bond with your target audience but when you do, you know you’ve hit the right mark.
Your brand is your biggest business asset because a successful brand builds brand awareness, defines value proposition, creates customer loyalty, and grows market share. The story helps to create that emotional connection.
[Tweet “A strong brand generates emotions”]
When a business decides to go through the process of a rebrand or brand refresh there is a reason for it. Let’s look at LEGO.
Sometimes a rebrand isn’t about changing or modifying a brand name or logo. It may not even be about changing a product. Sometimes, the power of a rebrand lies in its story and its ability to adapt to change. This is where the magic happens, when the story of a brand takes on a life of its own.
In a world filled with digital technology, digital games, apps and programs there is one company who has stood the test of time – LEGO! One of my favorite toys when I was a child and continues to be to this day as a parent, leaving a strong cross generational legacy for the brand.
The simple LEGO design brick hasn’t changed much in 50 years but what has changed throughout the years is Lego’s ability to connect with their audience.
Throughout the years LEGO has continued to inspire creativity, discovery and awesomeness. Even in a tech savvy world, parents like myself are all about LEGO toys. It’s a wonderful way to get back to basics.
As studies continue to show LEGO is a great toy to develop motor skills and hand-eye coordination, problem solving skills, following directions and creative and divergent thinking. All this makes LEGO a great toy for child development.
LEGO is also not resistant to change or against technology either. Partnering up with Hollywood giants such as Disney, Star Wars and Marvel for instance helped the brand expand into new niche markets and make its mark among a new generation of fans.
For instance, here is a piece of work from one of the popular Star Wars theme collections that my 5 year old son proudly put together by himself. He’s never even seen any of the Star Wars movies and yet he is in awe of the Star Wars brand.
Its digital presence with the success of The LEGO Movie has only helped the brand to secure its place as a household brand powerhouse. This incredible digital marketing strategy took the company to that next level. In addition, LEGO also has a division called The Future Lab where they quietly test market technology spin offs of the LEGO brand name.
Although the core product design hasn’t changed much throughout the years, LEGO has been able to successfully rebrand itself within the last couple of years. The LEGO brand is synonymous with a living breathing entity that has evolved to meet the needs and demands of its fans.
LEGO is far more than just a toy – it’s an experience and one that has withstood the test of time. It’s creative, immersive and fun and what we are seeing is brand loyalty at its best. At the heart of it they understand who they targeting and are focused on the consumer.
The Apple brand is one of the world’s most valuable iconic brands and is one of my favorite examples of rebranding from a company who did it right.
It wasn’t always rosy apples for the successful brand giant. A company once doomed for bankruptcy had one last shot to turn things around when Steve Jobs took over in 1997. A number of significant changes had to happen first before they could turn things around.
Some say the single most important branding lesson that we can learn from Apple happened when “branding begins on the demand side of the market.” In other words, Apple identified an opportunity in a prime market that was ready for disruption. Apple doesn’t create new markets; they just find markets with opportunity and huge potential in order to build a better product.
It’s about understanding your market and who you are marketing to. Apple took the time to focus and truly understand who they are, what they want and how they want it. What they did was identify a gap and fill it.
At the core of any brand strategy there needs to be an understanding of the ideal buyer persona. Apple’s rebranding success stems from the customer itself. Knowing exactly what the customer needs and then exceeding all their expectations. With that kind of focus you can add real value to your customer’s lives and build an incredible amount of influence within your market.
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Apple’s success comes from creating the best innovative technology and beautiful designs within a unique ecosystem. The ease of use and the positive user experience with their products is what helped grow a niche market into a mainstream product line. Being the first to own an Apple product or wearable technology is almost like a social status. That’s brand power at its best.
Successful rebranding requires focus
When you try to target everyone with a marketing strategy you really end up targeting no one because the message isn’t personalized. The message is weak and ends up speaking to no one in particular. Little emotion arises out of generic marketing.
Like all good business owners when you started your business you created some form of a business plan. From that you formulated a clear set of business objectives that drive your day to day business and marketing decisions. Next you developed a clear marketing plan that helped you to know who you are targeting. Everything is interconnected and tied to the story of what started it all – the story behind you and your business.
A rebrand or brand refresh can be a great opportunity to realign and refocus your business. Remember it can be very different from one business to the next so the strategy and outcomes can also be very different too.
What can we learn from LEGO and Apple when going through the process of a rebrand? I would like to leave you with three key points to consider:
- Do it for the right reasons
- Make your target audience the core of your rebrand
Do your market research, know your target audience and speak with them. Understand what it is that you hope to achieve with your rebrand. Give yourself the best odds of success by taking the time to do it properly. As Seth Godin once said:
“Spend 10,000 times as much time and money on your brand as you spend on your logo.”
Your brand is more than just a logo. It is your logo and everything around it. It is what your target audience thinks of when they think of you. An emotional connection creates an even stronger bond.
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In marketing there are many moving parts. When a company decides to go through a rebranding process it is a critical decision. It impacts not only marketing but the business as a whole.
In conclusion I leave you with a short note about our own brand refresh
InnovaMap has just gone through our very own brand refresh. Following many of the best practice tips discussed in this blog post we are pleased to present our fresh new look that better speaks to the focus of our business and the interests of our target audience.
You may have already noticed some of our changes in our social media designs, our blog newsletter and now on our website. Most noticeably, our logo has changed. Our logo is now a stronger representation of our brand and our focus – marketing based in science and fueled by innovation and creativity.
The founder of InnovaMap, Jennifer Arnold, has her PhD in neuroscience. She uses her expertise to integrate techniques for engaging the brain into the marketing strategies we create. We wanted the brain to be part of the logo to reflect that our marketing strategies are based solidly in science and we wanted the colour green to reflect that our approach is fresh and creative. We hope you love the new logo as much as we do!
Our brand is also much more than a logo.
“You’ve really made me think about my marketing strategy in a way I never did before.”
We love to hear this and we hear it from each of our clients. It is an approach that we take right from the beginning, even before we are engaged to do any work. We refer to it as the discovery process. The results are astounding when we can provide that kind of clarity and focus to our clients. We love to make you think about your marketing in a new way.
Our goal is to help you connect with your target audience using the fundamentals of neuroscience and the precision of analytics and data mixed with innovative and creative content. This is why our team has backgrounds that balance both science and creativity and what makes our approach to marketing unique and successful.
So there you have it. The story behind us and our brand refresh.
Diana Davies-Harju, Partner, Marketing at InnovaMap
InnovaMap is an Ottawa based content marketing firm, specializing in the health industry.