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Brad VanAuken Brand Identity Branding: Just Ask...

Evolving Brand Identity

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Brand Strategy Brand Identity Betty Crocker

Branding Strategy Insider welcomes and answers marketing questions of all types. Today's question comes from David, a Marketing Manager in Salt Lake City, Utah. He  asks:

“I am hoping you can lend some unbiased direction. Our organization has thousands of products in a variety of mediums. As we move towards a more comprehensive visual identity system, we are concerned that by the time we get to the end of such a project, the intended results will be compromised due to the constant change in media. I was at a AIGA PIVOT conference in October where Terry Irwin, Professor and Head of the School of Design at Carnegie Mellon, suggested an era of organic branding and visual identity might be the direction of future visual identity programs.” 

Thanks for your question, David. There are a few things I would have you keep in mind as you are considering this: 

  • To be highly effective, brand identity needs to be consistent across media/uses and over time. Otherwise it is much more difficult to encode and decode brand recognition and associations in memory.
  • Any time a brand identity project is pursued, one should strive for an identity system that works in all current and potential future contexts. That is, maximum flexibility needs to be designed into the system.

Brand identity can and will evolve over time, but usually it does so incrementally so that the new identity is a refreshed extension of the old identity. In this way, one does not lose the recognition and positive associations that existed with the previous identity. Consider brands like Betty Crocker (pictured), Quaker Oats, KFC, Xerox and Morton Salt, they changed significantly over time, but only a little bit at a time.

In addition David, we think you'll find these thoughts on brand identity change meaningful:

Successful Brand Identity Change Begins Within

Branding Debate: Does Logo Design Really Matter?

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1 Comment

Luis F. Mejía
Twitter:
on February 13th, 2013 said

As long as the evolving brand is capable to retain the subconscious attention of its stablished loyal followers and generate a harvest of a new following flock, YES, Brand evolution is good and strengthens equity.
Special attention must be given to the various technological applications in order that the evolutionary intervention does not become a “Fashion & Make-up” exercise.
Of equal importance is the behaviour and direct interaction of the corporation as it communicates with all stakeholders, under the influence of the evolved brand.

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