Jul 19

Great brands are work in progress

Posted by Packaging Sense in Design | Logotypes | Trends | Uncategorized

There is a saying within the Nestlé world that goes something like this: “Nescafé is always Nescafé because Nescafé is not Nescafé any more…!”

That constant change is a must in today’s world is not questioned any longer. It is how and what we change that matters. As we all strive for the BEST, the MOST, the TASTIEST, etc. we have to follow a saying by Winston Churchill who stated that “to improve is to change… to be perfect is to change often.”

Many years ago I wrote an article which became my most requested speech. I took the title from David Ogilvy and it reads “Not rules, you fools, tools”. I explained that as long as you don’t change the most vital part of a brand’s identity you can constantly update the rest. Why? For the simple reason that if you wish to stay ‘top of mind’ you must do something that the consumer notices, consciously or unconsciously.

CEOs and marketing directors with a visual mind have no problem to understand this. The problem for us who are in the design business is that there are very few of these people. At Nestlé I was very lucky to work during the Peter Brabeck reign as he is a very visual man. However, as we all know, the problem in most organisations is the ‘middle management’. A great change to revitalise a brand is quite often stuck somewhere in this part of the organisation.

My advice to overcome this can be summarized as follows:

Use research to find out what is the most emotional part of your identity. This part, be it a colour, a colour scheme, logotype, style, slogan or shape… handle it with care! Let it evolve rather than make a ‘visual jump’;

Never ever change all the parts of an identity at the same time. You then make a new brand;

As long as you know what are the key visuals you may change the layout as a consumer does not see design the way we see it and neither dissicates it. She or he sees the whole and not parts of it, so keep the parts, but optimise the layout constantly;

Forget Pantone numbers. Stick to your colour(s), but don’t ever believe that they always will turn out the same. I have at least 20-25 various shades of red in my collection of Coke cans;

Watch out for fads! Try to stay ahead by constant analysis of where you want to go with a brand. Strategy means designing the future. That includes the brand’s identity;

Always, always go back to the brand’s positioning and ask yourself “If I do this change, will it affect the way the consumer perceives my brand?” Ask yourself what can be changed. There is no need to change iconic brand identities as San Pellegrino or Coca Cola, but the way they communicate has to constantly be updated as technology and fashion influence the consumer;

Make a clear distinction between B2B brands and consumer brands as the first can be handled ‘with less care’ without jeopardising the business;

No art for art’s sake. Any change must have a reason, be it as simple as wanting to increase impact or as sophisticated or difficult as a repositioning.

Good luck, folks… it’s not easy, but great fun!

With this article we would like to wish you all a great summer and we hope to see you in august.

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