by Gretchen Schisla
Brand saturation is all around us — we’re faced with unlimited advice on how and when to refresh a brand. But, how does a company know when the investment is worth it? When is the right time?
Rejuvenating your brand makes sense if:
There’s been a change in focus and positioning. If there’s going to be a major shift in your offerings and the customer’s experience, revitalizing a brand can support that change. Positioning and messaging are key, so make sure that you can pinpoint your unique selling proposition — what sets your brand apart from other competitors and makes it special. If your organization is experiencing significant internal changes, this should be reflected to external audiences as well.
The look and feel is static and stale. Evaluate your current logo and materials through a simple brand audit. Using an external audience, determine if the current logo feels modern and has visual impact. A dated, unsophisticated logo or mark can hurt your image, because the visual brand doesn’t accurately reflect the quality of your offerings, the essence of the product or your company. Try modernizing your existing look with fresh elements such as new typefaces and treatments, an up-to-date color palette, unique illustrations or updated photography.
You want to reach a specific audience. If your brand is relatively generic, increase its visibility within a specific market by pinpointing the key messages and components that make you unique. Play out these traits in the visual and verbal language of the brand. If the design approach is authentic and clear, the brand will be powerful and reach your intended audience.
You need to accommodate global expansion. Sustaining a brand on a global basis is an ongoing challenge. The identity can become diluted or even break down, if there are many users within a company. Global communication, constant change within an organization, adding new business units or products — all of these impact the brand proposition. Mergers and acquisitions have their own set of challenges determining which elements remain intact to maintain equity and recognition with the new, larger audience.
If you’re refreshing your brand, there are key rules to follow:
Simplify! Determine where the equity lies and what elements are essential to keep.
Refine your positioning and message platform. Drill down to the basics of what your company has to offer and what’s different and better. Knowing the key drivers is critical to the refresh and to building a strong, updated identity.
Incorporate current design elements. To fully express the brand beyond the logo, maximize all of the graphic elements available. This might include a fresh color palette, typefaces, or updated photography and illustration to build on the entire brand language.
Plan for expansion. Ensure that sub-brands or divisions can co-exist with the updated logo and support it.
Sync up your website to reflect the changes. Make the investment with your online presence as well, so all the new pieces and parts are incorporated in a well-designed and clearly organized way. Websites are more user-friendly than they’ve ever been with CMS and templated designs, so there’s no reason not to showcase the revitalized brand.
This year, one of our clients decided to update his brand — at exactly the right time for his business, and for the all right reasons. Here’s his story:
When we first met Dr. Henry Villegas, it was clear that he was passionate about health and wellbeing. Our mutual interest in enriching quality of life led to an instant connection. In addition to being a physician, Dr. Villegas runs the GreenLagoon Wellbeing Resort in Costa Rica. GreenLagoon had been known as an adventure and vacation destination with spectacular scenery, wildlife and flora, but Henry wanted visitors to experience more. With a focus on wellbeing and sustainability, he wanted to provide a place where guests could improve their health through delicious plant-based meals, active nature expeditions and rejuvenating spa activities.
Here are the steps we took to help Henry rejuvenate and refocus his brand:
Developed a strong positioning and messaging platform
- A brand audit was conducted and platform developed to define the market, tone and key positioning drivers of the resort.
Planned for expansion
- The branches of the GreenLagoon family (Real Estate, Expeditions, EcoClinic, School of Sustainability, and Cerro Chato ANC Park and Gardens) were consolidated under one umbrella identity with a clear position and point of differentiation.
Refreshed the logo
- The logo was simplified and redrawn by removing overly detailed elements, but references to nearby landmarks were maintained for recognition.
- With the over-arching brand in place, a color system was developed to differentiate the various business units.
Updated the website
- By developing moodboards, we were able to suggest room staging and how to show modern accommodations. Resort staff collaborated, changing room elements and adding modern bedding. A local photographer was able to shoot new images based on lighting and angle suggestions illustrated in the moodboards.
- The website template was refreshed with Booking Suite software widely adopted in the hospitality industry. Using a CMS template, we customized the design by adding appealing typefaces, new colors and simplified image galleries. Unnecessary widgets that cluttered the home page were removed.
- Website copy was revised to promote the wellbeing mission. Unique wellness promotions were created and clearer room descriptions written to eliminate customer confusion and extend to other sites in the GreenLagoon family.
Created a plant-based menu design and targeted brochures
- We provided guidance for new food photography and designed bilingual menus, featuring vegetarian and plant-based meals from local sources and an on-site garden.
- Simple brochures were created to promote the resort’s new wellbeing focus.
Resort bookings are up over 20% and revenue has nearly doubled, compared to that of the previous quarter. Dr. Villegas, the GreenLagoon staff and board members were key participants and an integral part of the process. This collaboration reflects a new brand that everyone believes strongly in which will, in turn, be felt by visitors when they visit the GreenLagoon Wellbeing Resort.