Is it Time to Take a Look at Your Identity?

Okay, I will save my, “Your brand is bigger than your logo,” speech for another time. Today I want to focus on reasons why you should change or consider changing the most important, outward facing components of your brand:

Your name and/or your logo.

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To live the Thread brand of “Connect. Simply.” I have grouped the reasons into three simple categories:

  1. Running away from something?

    Not all problems, even a national crisis like Tylenol faced in 1982, need to be solved by changing your name and logo. However, if the identity was weak to begin with, a disaster may be the sign that it is time to go in another direction. In 1992 a discount airline was founded as ValuJet. In 1996 the airline suffered a devastating crash, blamed on a lax company culture for safety. The airline was forced to shut down. When cleared to resume flights, ValueJet never recovered its former customer base. In 1997, the airline's parent holding company purchased a smaller regional airline (Airways Corporation) and merged ValuJet's holdings into AirTran operations, believing that using the AirTran Airways name moving forward would help. Perhaps it was the accident or the competitive nature of air travel, but AirTran was sold to Southwest Airlines in 2011 and ended flights in 2014.
  2. Running toward something?

    Logos and taglines are often described as the suit your company wears. Sometimes there is a growth spurt and the suit no longer fits. Yes, identities need to evolve and most do it slowly with incremental changes on the outside that still align with subtle changes on the inside. However, there are times when a change in product or service offerings renders the identity obsolete.

    It could be an issue of your name being tied to a specific geographic territory that is now too limiting. For instance, Toledo Area Community Credit Union became Directions Credit Union when they merged with a company based in central Ohio. The merger afforded multiple locations outside of the Toledo area, thus requiring a name change. Or it could be that the name is tied to a single product offering and now you have a suite of diverse products. CallCommand became OneCommand when it branched out from simply offering phone-based marketing solutions to include email, direct mail, and text solutions all from one provider.
  3. Staying ahead of the pack.

    Competitive companies can gravitate to similar colors and visual icons. Often times you'll run into copycats or others who want to skim off your brand reputation by being a close follower. You work hard to differentiate your brand and what it stands for. You need to make sure that it doesn’t visually blend into the competitive background.

    In 2017, the Northwest Ohio healthcare market scene was a sea of blues and greens. Our client The Toledo Clinic knew they needed to differentiate and came to Thread requesting an identity update. We conducted a color study which directed us to a color scheme that was ownable and provided separation from others. When The Toledo Clinic rolled out the new logo the community took notice.  The facility signage alone with the new logo and bold colors, helped everyone realize The Toledo Clinic was more wide spread throughout  than originally  perceived.

    A lot goes into any type of identity change and organizations must do their due diligence to ensure they have the right motivators driving change. Your identity is reflected in thousands of applications.  There can be high costs associated with a change and it should always be approached for the right reasons.  

Topics: creative, Marketing Communications, Brand, Strategy, Marketing Strategy

Rod Frysinger

Written by Rod Frysinger