Thinking about a rebrand might make you sigh. Pinning down your values and figuring out how they can be translated visually may seem like a mammoth task. However, lots of businesses are now finding that getting back to the basics is the most effective approach.
There’s lots of noise out there, so you’d be forgiven for thinking that you need to get lots of big, bold and complex messages out there to stand out. However, data shows that when it comes to your brand, your product or your service, customers actually appreciate you keeping everything clear and simple.
Harvard Business Review found that “63% of consumers are willing to pay more for a simpler experience, and 69% are more likely to recommend a brand because it provides simpler experiences.” This data has led to a growth in the ‘keeping it simple’ rebranding approach for both large and small businesses, otherwise known as brand simplification.
What is brand simplification?
It’s really very simple. Brand simplification is a new approach to brand evolution that requires businesses to get right back to basics. Stripping back to the fundamentals enables a brand to return to its core values and rebuild its visual identity into one that’s both simple and versatile.
Whether it’s stripping a logo back to its bare bones, pulling your colour palette back to one or two shades or trimming excess information from your collateral, brand simplification can help you to get your key messages and personality across in a clearer, more direct way – one that communicates with your audience.
Why refresh your branding?
Refreshing your brand requires enough time and investment to potentially put you off completely (it’s only a logo after all). However, there are lots of benefits to breathing some new life into your branding which you need to consider:
• It can help you inspire new audiences and excite old ones: if you’re entering into a new market or looking to reconnect with your customer base, then a brand refresh should be on the cards. By refreshing your brand, you can bring a new focus to your marketing, clear up any grey areas and remind customers of what you really stand for.
• It ensures you stay relevant: new businesses are entering the market all the time. So, if you don’t stay relevant, your business will fade into the background. Refreshing your brand will bring it up to date with the latest trends and ensure your branding always chimes with your target market.
• It can re-engage your employees: rebranding won’t just generate excitement in your customers, but in your internal stakeholders too. Everyone wants to work for the coolest brand on the block, so a brand refresh can be a great way to re-motivate your team, drive sales and pass on this excitement to customers.
• It keeps your business moving forward: whether you want to become more sustainable, are reacting to market demands, audience feedback or competitors, evolving your brand is a great way to refresh, refocus and reset your business.
What benefits does simplification have?
To work effectively in the modern market, branding has to be entirely flexible and versatile. Brands need to be adaptable to multiple channels, chime with your target audience and work cohesively across online and offline mediums. Simplifying your brand gives you the ultimate flexibility and versatility, with the freedom to add or strip layers of meaning as and when required.
Plus, getting back to basics can have a positive impact on your business strategy too. By returning to where it all started in the first place, you can clarify what’s really important and take these values into your marketing, messaging and business strategy.
However, if you are looking to simplify your brand, there are some key points you need to keep in mind to ensure your refresh still makes an impact.
Mr. Pringles’ gets a haircut!
We all feel better after a trim, and Pringles is no exception. Their mascot Mr. P recently had his first haircut in 20 years thanks to design studio Jones Knowles Richie (JKR). While retaining the iconic look and feel of the brand, the new logo and packaging have been stripped back to their essential details to create a bold, unfussy and impactful refresh.
Mr. P has been put front-and-centre of the refresh, bringing the 56-year-old mascot to life and giving him a fun, relatable personality that’s perfect for the digital era.
The Electric Vehicle era is bringing lots of changes to the automotive industry, and Volvo is getting ready with a simpler, flatter logo design. The first update since Volvo’s 2014 3D version, the flatter Iron Mark is versatile enough to be used across all products, interfaces and across both of Volvo’s corporate groups.
By emphasising the simple, meaningful shape of Volvo’s original logo, they’ve got back to their brand’s fundamental values and made it ready for the market’s ongoing digital transformation.
However… sometimes, brands misunderstand or fail to communicate a valid reason for conducting a rebrand – causing the opposite effect and creating controversy with the audience. Sometimes, brands ‘do’ know why they want to rebrand, but they don’t apply vital consideration of the brands multi-channel application in the modern marketplace.
British Rail goes green!
Although simple can be more effective, it is key that any changes are driven by values that are true to the business, rather than ones they think they should have. This is a lesson British Rail learned when they took their ‘going green’ message literally and temporarily changed their logo colour palette in readiness for the COP24 summit in November.
Unfortunately, in this case, what seems like a simple change has actually come across as a try-hard tokenism. With no clear communication or meaning behind it, the refresh feels untrue to the brand and makes an impact for all the wrong reasons.
Zara misunderstands digital-first.
To create a high-end Vogue editorial feel, Zara has refreshed their logo and branding to make it more stand-out and stylish. However, in some cases, these fashionista strides occasionally come into conflict with the clarity of their communication.
Their clean, minimalist website design is an upgrade of the brands appeal, and aligns nicely with modern styling and site functionalities. However, their logo, although visually more stylish, decreases in legibility as it’s made smaller to work on different channels (this is most likely the reason they have used the logo so LARGE on the website).
In short, when refreshing your brand, it’s key to consider not just what values you want to put across, but more importantly, the usability for the end user (your customers/clients).
Ready for refresh?
To make sure your brand refresh is as effective and impactful as possible, it helps to have some expert design experience on your side. We can help you get back to the fundamentals of your brand and evolve it in a way that’s ready for the future market and customer demands.
Get in touch with our team today by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org