Rebranding means recognizing the signs of time
A brand is not a rigid construct, but a structure that needs to be maintained and managed to stay alive. Social trends change markets, target groups and their needs, which in turn affects brands – strategically and thus also in terms of design. What can happen if you ignore the signs of the times for too long is shown by the example of Victoria’s Secret in our post Between self-knowledge and self-similarity.
When it’s time to review the existing corporate design
Brand management involves constantly reviewing strategy and positioning in the light of the changing world – and occasionally challenging the image accordingly. This does not mean, of course, that you have to or should chase every trend. In the following, we show exemplary scenarios that require a review of the corporate design or even a rebranding; as a rule, these factors interact.
Rebranding due to social changes
Social changes influence markets, lifestyles and needs, in other words: target groups. Zeitgeist and aesthetics go hand in hand, nobody wants to look old. That applies to most people, and it applies to brands. A visual identity that appears outdated allows conclusions to be drawn about the attitude of a company, or in the worst case, about the potency of a brand. Rebranding does not mean making a brand trendy, but positioning the brand. Rebranding should always be a visual expression of further development or cultural change and not a purely cosmetic measure.
Following the diesel scandal and in the wake of ever louder sustainability demands, Volkswagen is staging itself as a pioneer of e-mobility.
Rebranding after personnel changes
Under emperors in ancient Rome it was quite common to have pictorial representations of his predecessor consistently destroyed so that nothing more reminded one of his power. Admittedly, since then we have come a little further in terms of intention, but at the core of radical rebranding is the same message: from now on things are different, and everyone should see that. Significant structural changes such as changes in management and the associated strategy often go hand in hand with a renewal of the corporate image. Douglas, for example, parted with the mint colored image, especially the logo, after almost 50 years of repositioning under Tina Müller.
The scenario is independent of the size of a company: At our client entity, a complete reinvention of the brand was necessary after the departure of one of the founders. In the course of this process, a clear image of the brand was created – internally and externally.
Rebranding after structural changes
Depending on the brand architecture strategy, mergers and acquisitions require creative intervention. Audi is a wonderful example of all three of these scenarios: The iconic four rings were created in 1932 through the merger of the brands DKW, Horch, Wanderer and Audi, which visualized precisely this process.
The step away from chrome and towards two-dimensionality in turn reflects the digital transformation in the automotive industry and claims the brand’s claim to “Vorsprung”. So much so that the rings can now do without a word mark.
We revitalize brands
For the rebranding we consider all relevant external and internal influences in our branding process. What are the actual drivers for a new or redesigned appearance? Have corporate strategy and culture and target groups changed, where does the brand want to position itself in the market in the future? On this basis we review the existing design, develop it further – or reinvent the brand.