From idea to ‘Non-fiction book of the month’ in the UK

I am extremely proud to tell you that The Only Book You Will Ever Need on Branding is available as paperback and ebook with Little, Brown Book Group in the UK and on 28 December in India with Hachette India.

Not only that, the book is chosen as the Non-Fiction Book of the Month DecemberWe never expected that to happen, because it is a book about branding after all!

From an idea to a book

I have had the ambition to write a book about branding in a down to earth no-nonsense approach since starting this blog in 2009. During my coaching sessions with international startups at the global accelerator program AppCampus I noticed that my visual training materials and concepts were really helping and I believed there was enough material for a new type of brand book and started writing.

In March 2013 I called my ex-Nokia colleague Liisa Puolakka who is based in London with the question if we could do this together. The idea was to get it ready over the summer. That we did not make… the ambition was to really deliver an no-nonsense book about branding. The mental test for every page was if anyone with a business to run, whether a café owner or a tech start-up, could pick up this book and start applying it, immediately and literally on the run, without a need for a prior degree in marketing and branding!  We checked again and again that we were really focusing on telling the reader HOW to do things, not focusing on WHY to do things and the academic theories of branding.

Publications in Finland and the Netherlands

In November 2013 the book was in good shape. Our first reviewers provided us invaluable feedback that we used to sharpen some of our messages including the illustrations. We did not make fundamental changes to the story or any of the book’s messages, not because none of the feedback suggested it, but because we had debated the whole book between ourselves from all angles so many times that we truly had no doubts about it.

Our initial plan was to rock Amazon CreateSpace. That approach changed when we got in touch in December 2013 with Suomen Liikekirjat, a publisher in Finland. Entrepreneurship in Finland had been growing rapidly, yet there was no book to support these businesses on building a brand. The publisher saw immediately value in helping to change the technical product mindset of entrepreneurs to more of a branding & marketing mindset. The book launched in Finland in April 2014. We were super happy!

Being Dutch it was only natural to reach out to Dutch publishers. So, in the same month we contacted Haystack, a Dutch publisher. We immediately had a click with their website, the type of books and approach. Interestingly enough Haystack was immediately on board as well. It took literally 4 hours from sending the manuscript to getting the phone call with the message “let’s do it!” – finally a book about branding that everyone would understand! The Dutch version of the book was a success. It reached position 45 out of 28.000 management books and stayed for 25 days in the top 100. Readers awarded the book with 5/5 stars.

In March 2013 I called my ex-Nokia colleague Liisa Puolakka who is based in London with the question if we could do this together. The idea was to get it ready over the summer. That we did not make… the ambition was to really deliver an no-nonsense book about branding. The mental test for every page was if anyone with a business to run, whether a cafe owner or a tech start-up, could pick up this book and start applying it, immediately and literally on the run, without a need for a prior degree in marketing and branding!  We checked again and again that we were really focusing on telling the reader HOW to do things, not focusing on WHY to do things and the academic theories of branding.

Entering the BIG markets

Our dream has always been to enter te big markets and reach as many business owners as possible. So, we knew a publisher in the UK would be needed. While we do not had an agent (a must in the UK to get your book published!) we approached Little, Brown Group (part of Hachette) anyway… and the same thing we experienced in Finland and the Netherlands happened again… the publisher loved the book.

Lovers and haters

With everything… there are people who love what you are doing and people who hate it. Don’t focus on the haters… Our experience so far is that business owners & CEO’s love the book (check out our reviews), corporate marketers and brand consultants don’t. The fist group loves the focus on the HOW, the latter misses the details of the WHY – which means that the book seems to have met the needs of its target group!

The BIG lesson

To me the BIG lesson was that you must envision the end goal. The end goal for us has always been to reach as many people as possible. That is our focus. The road to it is very important, especially the starting point. Our publisher Hannu Palmu from Suomen Liikekirjat had trust in us and the book. With that trust we gained trust in the Netherlands. With the success in the Netherlands we gained trust in the UK… So, make sure you have proof points along the way on the path of realising your dream and don’t give up. If it does not feel right, it likely is not right. Change direction and stay determined to reach your envisioned end goal!

The book is globally available as paperback and ebook through:

Michiel

Read more about the book including reviews

(A)lphabet, (B)rand, (C)orporate

The transition from the corporate brand Google into the new corporate brand Alphabet is a real success at the stock market. Since the Alphabet start date on the 5th of October there is an upward trend in the share price. The third quarter results announced last week made the party complete. Larry Page and Sergey Brin receive homage from investors!

Like most startups, Google had a very specific mission “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” achieved through a focused product: the search engine.

However, the company has thrown itself into all kinds of new product categories:

  • Calico for combating the aging process and associated diseases
  • Google X for advanced technologies such as the autonomous car
  • Google Fiber Internet and television
  • Nest for home automation (smoke detectors, thermostats, etc.)

If a brand tries to be everything to everybody, it will ultimately become nothing to no one. In Google’s case, where the most successful product uses the same brand name as the company and people use ‘to google’ as a verb, the company owners need to make a choice. A new corporate brand is the only real logical move.

Under the new corporate brand Alphabet can Google continue the pursuit its mission, while new product brands can explore and conquer other categories. This can now be done with focus and most importantly without diluting the Google brand. In addition, the new structure gives also investors more insight into where the money is spent.

Yet, this goes against the natural pursuit that many companies have: ensure a strong corporate brand identity. Too many product brands can indeed seem tiring for both consumers and employees. Both are reasons to consolidate brands under the corporate brand. Another reason may be -as in the case of Unilever- to bring the corporate brand more to the forefront to give it even more the role of authority and credibility.

Alphabet shows us that laser-sharp focused product brands may be the right tools to turn the corporate promise in broader spectrum, strengthen it and bring it to new heights!

Even Apple products deserve a beautiful name

The new Apple products are still very Apple and introduced to the market in an Apple way. Think different still counts.

Take Apple Photos. It is the replacement product for both the consumer and professional products iPhoto and Aperture. Apple Photos was received with criticism because of lacking functionality.

Exactly Apple!

Two existing products had to be replaced because they had to change. The fact that it will take time before the missing functionality is back is fine with Apple.

Power of the ecosystem

Then Apple Watch, the first real smart watch. Developers see opportunities through the power of the ecosystem. Again typical Apple, after all, as Jobs in 2004 said “the core technology [or consumer devices] is going to be software” and after iPod, iPhone and iPad that is also the case with Apple Watch.

And the latest addition is Apple Music, in which Apple took the old concept of Radio and give it a new look with Beats 1, the radio station that broadcasts live from different cities around the world.

The real big change

The real big change is that all these products are all brought directly under the Apple brand on the market: the strong Apple brand is followed by a descriptive name.

Apple is apparently abandoning the unique – recognizable – one word names such as Mac, iPhone and iPad for products.

This is in itself a logical “top-down” decision. In this way Apple Photos, Apple Watch and Apple Music all contribute immediately to the Apple brand.

However, if you look “bottom-up” I am convinced that when Apple had given all products unique names, such as iWatch, it would really contribute to the success of Apple. The success of iPod and iPhone were instrumental to the success of the Apple brand. You do not hear many people saying “I want an Apple”, but in stead your hear “I want an iPhone for my graduation”.

Unique names make it also easy to talk about your products. “I stream music from Beats on my iWatch” is much better than “I stream music using Apple Music on my Apple Watch”. Consider also the search query “how to edit photos in photos” which is weird in itself. In the result you find not only Apple Photos but also Google Photos. Or just search for “apple photos” and indeed you get photos of apples.

With beautiful brand-worthy products you make as a brand difference. With unique names you make it even easier to talk about them. And that is precisely the purpose of a brand!

Ace Hotel: be different by really doing different

Last week I was in New York for a brand positioning assignment. The customer assured me casually that the hotel would be a unique experience. I was a bit skeptical, because in the past I have slept often in hotels all over the world and you basically see a lot of the same. Of course there were some exceptions such as hip design hotels, but I was always bored after a few days. There was always something that simply did not fit the image. Initially funny things suddenly became very obvious or even annoying. Or interaction with the staff was different from expected.

Then I came to the Ace Hotel in New York. The Ace is a hotel that does things differently, but in a challenging and stimulating way. For starters, the location of the hotel is in a neighborhood that does not come directly to mind for a new hotel. And that is how it started…

Purple 

Upon entering I was greeted by a man in a big blue blouse with sleeves rolled up. He had a beard, unkempt hair and some tattoos. Indeed, this was the hotel manager. Super relaxed and sincere friendly. The receptionist had purple hair, sparkling eyes, a big smile and I got a greeting from the heart.

The crowded lobby featured a stuffed head of a deer, many copper items, an American flag and a DJ.

“Use your key card and start going places” was written above the key card slot in the elevator. My room is wallpapered with the sheet music of the opera Patience. Not some random sheet music, but an opera from the late 18th century that and as a satire also did things different. A perfect fit!

The hotel guide is called “The Ace Survival Guide – a manual for food, drinks and other ephemera. Then my eye falls on a set of cards held together by a thick band. I push the belt aside and read ‘Here are some art cards by artist Miho Hatori. We love them. We hope you will, too. Because they’re yours now. – Ace ‘.

Smoke outside. Meet a stranger.

Under the “no smoking” symbol in the room is written “Smoke outside. Meet a Stranger “and then in small text” Smoke inside, pay a stranger $ 250″. It can be that simple.

In the elevator I meet another guest who is so enthusiastic that he tells me he had a real DJ set and a guitar in his room. Where do guests talk in the elevator about their room? Neat!

The Ace Hotel is in my opinion THE example of a brand-worthy hotel. It is a hotel that continues to be Ace by being different and consistently executes that to the smallest detail with employees who have the brand in their DNA. 100% Ace! Doing so creates fans. And fans come more often, spend more and tell your story. This article shows exactly that!

Go Volvo be Volvo – back to safety ? – Part III

Regular readers of this blog know that I follow Volvo. I find it a fascinating brand and close to my heart. I am raised in a Volvo family and I still remember the day that we got a Volvo 240 and my father was proudly showing the (massive) crumple zone to anyone interested.

Unfortunately,  in my opinion Volvo has lost track with safety or simply got bored with it.

In search for the core

I wrote about Volvo in 2011 when the brand so hard tried to be a brand it is not (BMW, Audi, …), literally divesting all the hard-earned brand building. In  2014 I wrote again about Volvo.  In that year the brand continued to be in real trouble in the USA. Already in 2012 the WSJ Market Watch suggested that Volvo might as well exit the market.  I was eagerly waiting what the move of Volvo would be. The real options are of course to go fully back to the core of the brand or go further away.

The ‘in between’ option

Volvo has unfortunately chosen the ‘in between option’  of doing a bit of both. The new Volvo USA site is a clear manifestation of that approach.  I really like the new site, it feels Volvo. Unfortunately it does not read  Volvo.

The one thing we connect the Volvo brand to,  Safety is simply not a topic. Other car brands can get away with this but Volvo is not any other car brand, it is the brand that is perceived to be the safest car brand.

“This is Volvo Cars”  –  no  safety anymore

The lead text of the section “This is Volvo Cars” reads:

This-is-Volvo

Indeed, no mentioning of Safety at all. I would have changed that to something like this:

This-is-Volvo-Edit

Product pages – premium cars

The individual car pages follow the same pattern, with a tiny little mentioning of safety. Take a look at the  Volvo XC90 page. Beautifully designed yet the only mentioning of safety is in the right bottom of the page. And as you will see it is a long long scroll to get there.

XC90-safety

The XC90 page is no exception. On every other car page you find Safety in the rock bottom of the page.

Value propositions without safety 

XC90
Swedish grace – Our newest Volvo with bold harmonious design, pure uncluttered luxury, and advanced safety and comfort for seven

XC70
Choose your adventure – The XC70 is a supremely luxurious wagon for those who like their adventure with a sense of sophistication.

XC60
At home, everywhere – The perfect car for drivers in search of adventure around town and beyond it.

V60
The Sportswagon That Hauls – For people who need the versatility of a wagon, but want the dynamic handling of a sports sedan.

S80
Make A statement – The S80 sedan offers first class driving at its finest with every well-crafted detail designed to reward.
“Safety is #1”

Continued to be concerned with the approach and pleased with the new design I reached out to Volvo:

Tweet-Volvo-2

And happy to see a wonderful reply within 7(!) minutes:

Tweet-Volvo-1

Tweet-Volvo-3

So what is happening? Apparently something will happen with Safety. Personally I cannot wait to see safety all over the Volvo again to stop draining the brand. Imagine Volvo explaining in detail why each car is the safest in its class… that would be really Volvo!

Go Volvo be Volvo!

Coca-Cola Life: the start of a new life?

Recently a woman was busy handing out green cans in the supermarket. From a distance it looked like the introduction of a new health drink. I got curious! When I got closer I saw that it was nothing less than the introduction of Coca-Cola Life – the Cola with ingredients of natural origin – in the Netherlands.

The pressure on Coca-Cola Company to go along with the trend of natural products requires little explanation. The soft drink category is in decline. At this time, Americans drink about 167 liters of soft drinks per year. This is a sharp decline from the 201 liters per person in 1998. Surprisingly, water once again has become America’s favorite drink. Up to 211 liters per person in 2013, an increase of 38% compared to 1998. At the same time, the worldwide market for organic food and beverages has grown enormously and it is expected that this year the US $ 100 billion limit will be exceeded.

It is therefore crystal clear that Coca-Cola must formulate a response to this trend. Yet, I cannot conclude otherwise that Coca-Cola Company has failed to create a brand-worthy match between the trend and the Coca-Cola brand.

On the trend but not on the brand

Coca-Cola represents energy, refreshment, joy and live positively. It is not about being healthy. To make a brand worthy connection with a trend, Coca-Cola Company must make sure this experience comes back in the answer on the trend. If you launch a new proposition, which Coca-Cola Company does, and then going to call it “Coca-Cola Life is our latest innovation within the Coca-Cola portfolio, sweetened with ingredients from natural origin and contains a third less sugar and calories’ , then you’re well on the trend but not on your brand. This is a missed opportunity.

Be fresh in nature

The brand image of Coca-Cola Life is very green. A green wooden crate with some plants, a few bottles of Life and in the background a haze of green grass. Very nice, but not for Coca-Cola, the brand that just about the real experience of energy, refreshment, joy, enjoy and live positively.

Red is the color of Cola

Coca-Cola Life is green and rationally that is right: green is the color of natural products. Emotionally, however, we know better: red belongs to the Coca-Cola brand experience and the cola category as a whole. Therefore you also find the color red on non Coca-Cola brands. The cans of Pepsi have some red, Walmart’s Sam’s Cola and the Freeway Cola of the German discount store Lidl are red. It seems to me unwise to let go of something so fundamental which is built by investing years in helping consumers making the association. To me, a much more brand-worthy experience would have been a red Coca-Cola Life can with hint of green.

Absolutely nothing beats Life

When a brand has the name Life it suggest that it is also good for your life, especially when it is reinforced by the green color that we all associate with healthy. But where does that leave all the other products? Does it not give an indirect warning to consumers that they are not good for your life?

This makes Coca-Cola ‘Life’ also an outsider in the Coca-Cola portfolio: all other Coca-Cola brands help consumers to make a choice based on taste or lifestyle. Think of Vanilla, Cherry, Zero, Coke and Caffeine-free. ‘Life’ does not help to make a choice on taste or lifestyle. A less comprehensive name that is in line with the brand would have made a better fit.

As a summary: it is great that Coca-Cola Company follows trends and capitalizes on it. Too bad they passed their strong brand totally. But hopefully also for Coca-Cola “Life can be full of surprises’ ….

Brand, follow your heart!

People and companies want to grow. People grow from their core and brands should do the same. 

People and companies want to grow. Growth is progress and ultimately that is what we all want. Yet, it seems that everything which seems so logical with personal growth we often forget when we are engaged in growing brands and the introduction of new propositions. And that’s a shame.

Suppose someone wants to grow from being a physiotherapist into becoming a child physiotherapist, then nobody will be surprised. When the same person would however make a career switch to become a dentist, we all expect a lengthy time consuming process. That time is necessary for the person to learn the new skills and for the environment to place and accept the person in the new role. The more known or famous the person is, the more difficult the transformation will be. The huge disinvestment in existing knowledge and skills are of course accepted. This is all very logical.

When talking about brands and propositions on the other hand, we often think that such a transformation can be made without a fight. Volvo is for example the brand that stands for safety. The brand wants to transform to “the world’s most progressive and luxury car brand”. The change is so enormous that it is actually a divestment of everything the brand has built. The heart of the Volvo brand was safety for a very long time. Is the heart suddenly somewhere else? Of course that is possible, but strangely enough we think inside a company often still too little about this and we start these transformations whether it is business as usual. Often we do this because we think that there a market for it. In those cases you are thinking clearly, but you have unfortunately put your brand heart in the fridge. And with that, of course, the heart of the real Volvo fan.

Now think of Volvo as a good friend whom you give some career advice. After your Volvo friend has told you where the heart will be in the future, would you not have suggested to make a first step with today as a starting point? So, in stead of directly transforming to “luxury car brand” perhaps using safety? Volvo, “the safe luxury car brand”? When you decide with your head that there is a market for something, then try to approach the market from your brand heart. After all, it is not just one person who suddenly wants a different direction in his life. It is a whole system of the brand itself, the staff and the fans of the brand. Be yourself and become better. It is more about depth than taking a completely different starting point. That feels very different. Just like people, brands can deepen. And that is for a brand always better than to start all over and build a new fan base.

Just like how people grow from their core, brands should do the same. This way consumers can continue to link the new direction or new propositions to the expectations they have of the brand. Growth works that way best. A good example is Coca-Cola Zero, which as proposition fully connects with what made Coca-Cola big and famous: the original Coke taste combined with the real feel of the brand Coca-Cola. With Coca-Cola Light this was already the case in terms of taste (opinions about this will vary), but the brand feeling was more skewed to the female side and men did not become fans. Zero provides real Coca-Cola taste and Coca-Cola experience, but without the calories.

The key to brand growth is thus to be yourself and execute that consistently in everything you do, with propositions that meet a customer need and deliver on the brand expectations. In short: use the brand as a compass, keep sailing in the same direction and stay true to your own heart and that of your fans!

This article appeared originally in the Netherlands in Adformatie

Focused brands have the future

A great example of being everything for everyone is Facebook, the world’s second most visited site. How can Facebook’s growth be in trouble? Simply by being everything to everyone.  Within the next few years we will see that Facebook gives up market share to more focused social networks. The trend is already there. The Conversation presented results from a study funded by the European Union on social media. From the study, we learn that for sixteen to eighteen year olds in the UK “Facebook is not only on the slide, but actually dead and buried. Often the youth feels embarrassed to be associated with Facebook.”

The findings are in line with Facebook’s own findings. CFO David Ebersam reported during the presentation of the third quarter results of 2013 “We did see a decrease in daily users partly among younger teens … This is of questionable significance.” Wow. What is happening here?

Nothing to nobody

Facebook is the current leader of the entire social networking category. “Facebook is a social network that brings friends, colleagues, classmates and acquaintances together”. And that is a long-term problem. If you are everything to everybody, you will eventually become nothing to nobody.

It is logical that new social networks that focus on smaller segments or new categories will divide the big Facebook pie. A good example is Pinterest, the social networking site that acts as a bulletin board and has a tremendous growth.

These focused sites attract new users who are not using any social network, but more often users of Facebook. This leads to a smaller group of Facebook users, resulting in content of inferior quality, making the brand less interesting for existing users and more difficult for advertisers to targeted audiences.

Focus

In the long run the market will simply demand a focused approach because the perception of a focused brand is always better than the perception of a comprehensive one.

Just ask yourself these questions:

  • Which brand do you think is better in high end watches, the one only making high end watches or the one making high end watches, jewelry and clothes?
  • Which restaurant brand makes better Thai food? The one preparing Chinese, Japanese and Thai or the one just preparing Thai food?
  • Would you rather have a TV+Bluray+Digibox combo or have it separate?
  • Do you trust the all-around surgeon for an operation or would you rather go with a specialist?

And finally,  which bakery brand bakes better French bread? The bakery called Rezé “Boulangerie Traditionnelle Francaise” or a bakery baking all kinds of breads, including French?

If you are an entrepreneur make sure you are focused enough and associate yourself with one category, not many.

If you are an established business and want to have relevant brands in the future, it is time to make choices about the category in which you are active.  Don’t follow Facebook.

Volvo – Keep your brand focus on safety or be toast – Part II

About 3 years ago I wrote how Volvo is turning from a school book example of brand building into one that is about destroying the brand.

Volvo is of course historically known for “safety”. Around 2011 it lost that edge in marketing with campaigns featuring for example the “All-New Naughty Volvo S60”.  Safety features and innovations were not brought to the attention of the public. In fact, Safety all together was put on the back burner and replaced by the new key selling points Performance and Luxury.

The real problem with this approach was that Volvo gave up the best positioning in the industry: after all, which car brand would not want to be perceived as the safest car?

Brands that go out of focus usually go out of focus in sales as well.  In 2006 Volvo sold 427.747 cars worldwide. In 2013 it sold almost the same, 427.840 cars. Indeed, zero growth over 8 years. This happened all at a time when markets like China continued to boom and last year also for Volvo. Still, Volvo sales in the USA are so bad that already in 2012 the WSJ Market Watch  suggested that Volvo might as well exit the market.

AdAge calls it an identity crisis.  A commenter quoted in the article says “Volvo used to be all about safety and long-term durability. But [now] everybody has safety. Many companies have more safety features than Volvo does, so they can’t own that anymore”.

Of course, all cars are safe and these days some cars might indeed be safer, but only one can be perceived the safest. Volvo stopped reminding consumers it was in fact the safest car on the planet. When you stop reminding consumers about your positioning you will slowly start losing it.

Just think for a minute that Volvo would have in fact continued the crash test advertising from the mid 1980s and put all of its innovation resources to safety. Introducing new safety features, setting the safety bar for the car industry higher every year… and reminding consumers that Safety = Volvo and Volvo = Safety.  Continuous reinforcement would have helped Volvo to be still today perceived as the safest car in the world.

Instead of drumming the safety message, in 2011 Volvo talked about “Naughty Cars”

And when that did not work out, in 2012 it moved from being naughty to cars “designed around you”

And fine-tuned in 2013 to “designed for real people”.

Here is a transcript of the voiceover: “A Volvo isn’t for everyone and we kind-a-like it that way. The Volvo XC60, designed for real people, designed around you”.

So what is Volvo in plain consumer language, max three words? It is hard, isn’t it?

Volvo is so desperately trying to be a brand that it is not. You cannot be Audi, you cannot be the brand for people who cannot afford Mercedes-Benz, you cannot indirectly say that Mercedes-Benz drivers are “unreal people”.  Everybody knows they are not. In fact, Mercedes-Benz has its own list of very impressive safety innovations. They have just not activated it in marketing. They could easily launch a counter campaign targeting women with a focus on safety and beat Volvo.

What should Volvo do? Continue to reinforce what consumers still might believe or want to believe Volvo is! My suggestion: revert as soon as possible back to “the world’s safest car”, continue to innovate in safety and talk about it… loudly! There is not too much time left before the brand will turn completely meaningless.

Let’s try some new colors for Santa!

Are you proposing new colors for Santa? Are you serious?
No, I am not proposing new colors for Santa. Consistency in the story, appearance and product has built the very powerful Santa brand. There will be very few people suggesting changes.

Yet, weirdly enough, when dealing with company brands everything seems possible and we seem to forget that consistency really matters. Logos, company slogans, even complete brand identities undergo changes, “updates” or get completely renewed.
While this sometimes makes sense, most of the time it does not. In fact, most changes are made for the wrong reasons.

These are the three top wrong reasons I have come across for making changes to brand identities:

1: The business is not going well
“Let’s refresh the brand to spark more interest” the thinking goes. However, when a company operates in a category that is in decline, refreshing a brand will not help to increase interest. Would it have saved Kodak in film or will it make Dell in computers more interesting?

2: New leadership
New leadership is a great tool to make changes in a company. But only when those changes become real to the outside world, a brand identity update makes sense. Only then there is a possibility for a real impact. The brand refresh at Yahoo was arguably done too early, because the real changes under Marissa Mayer are not yet all that visible.

3: Boredom
Many times people inside the organisation and their supporting agencies get bored with the brand. They have worked on it for too long, the brand has become their daily reality and when constantly seeing and hearing the same things it is only natural for people to get bored. Yet, consumers only interact and think about your brand a fraction of the time you spend with it. And that valuable time is needed to keep reminding them about something they know! Unfortunately, most brands fall sooner or later in the boredom trap.

 

There are four reasons to rightfully make some changes to the brand identity:

1: There is a real change
The brand change can be tied to something that is real for consumers. For example, when a company enters new markets or categories or focuses only on few products or segments. This might have been the reason for Starbucks to remove the text “Starbucks coffee” from their logo as Starbucks is now about more than coffee. Unfortunately, a logo without any text leaves it meaningless for those who do not know Starbucks, but that is a different topic altogether.

2: Big changes inside your category
Sometimes there are big changes inside your category and you want to show to the external world that you are really gearing up to take on the new opportunity. The rebranding of Windows to mark the step to move beyond the PC is a good example.

3: Mergers and takeovers
There is no escape when brands get merged. As portfolios change there are likely going to be some real changes for consumers.

4: The times have changed
Your brand identity is simply outdated or competition has increased and your brand does not stand out anymore. You just need to make some updates. A good example is the logo of Shell. It started out in 1900 as a clamshell in black & white and turned to its current modern shape and form while remaining a clamshell.

 

Whenever you do update your brand, keep in mind that you need to build on the brand that you own in the mind of the consumer. It is not just about “trying something new”, “renewing the essence of the brand” or “exploring the cool edges of the brand”. After all, consumers are constantly learning about brands and learning is done best through repetition.

No-nonsense brand bites since 2009