Brand Evolution and Communication During a Time of Change and Upheaval - Rolling Stone
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Brand Evolution and Communication During a Time of Change and Upheaval

How can company leaders steer their brand in a manner that evolves with the current zeitgeist? And what are the right ways to communicate that change?

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Opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of Rolling Stone editors or publishers.

Your brand is the expression of your ideas and the transferability of those said ideas to customers who will embrace your brand through purchases or other quantifiable ways. So, my question here is: Is your brand a living thing, and will it change over time?

I believe that not only is your brand alive, but it’s also an extension of many other living participants, such as your clients or customers.

But how can company leaders steer their brand in a manner that evolves with the current zeitgeist? What are the ways to communicate that change?

I operate an out-of-home advertising company, Billboardology.com, and we see a lot of ads that could have used a little more thought. Keeping with this observation, let’s see how you can better engage your audience.

Knowing When to Adapt While Staying True to Brand Identity

Your customers know you as the embodiment of a philosophy they have associated with your goods. As you see new avenues opening, you have to choose whether to move in these new directions or not.

How do you respect the legacy before moving forward with change? Is it worth it?

Before we continue, let me get us on the same page and briefly define what brand identity is. Brand identity consists of several elements, from aesthetics like color scheme and logo to corporate ideology and culture. It is, in essence, what makes a company unique — what sets you apart in the eye of the consumer.

A brand should be more than a logo. You want your clients to consider you as the change agent they should look to. It is a huge endeavor to steer a brand’s ship — you will face storms, and then the seas will steady. If you’re captain, your communication and ability to filter the change as gradually or quickly as possible should remain in tune. That’s the key. You want to build a curation message that not only speaks to those you want to target specifically but also to those who may not be your target audience but could become drawn to your brand and, in turn, join a new audience.

It is important to know that what you put into your brand’s veins will create either a positive or negative response from viewing parties. So, your brand must be aware of that fact and understand how to turn each response into an effective impression that plays to your brand’s progression.

Crafting Brand Communication

Take Starbucks, for instance: It is well known for its consistency and specific branding, and its green siren logo underscores this branding. It’s important to note that this notoriety came from the company’s unique branding focus. According to Martin Roll, brand strategist, it all comes down to how Starbucks approaches its brand communication; last year “the brand’s internal creative team published its full branding guidelines on its website. Through its refreshed design principles which emphasizes legibility and clear communication, as well as expressiveness and emotion, the brand demonstrates its unwaveringly clear and consistent positioning.” 

Your brand is alive — or should be. Why does your brand exist? Take time to really review what you are aiming to do. How long will that be relevant, and are you really in tune with the changes to come?

We all are being challenged at this time, but now is one of the best opportunities to ponder and act on the change your brand may need. Think of your communication campaign as fishing, and your line is in the water. Reel in and release with an understanding of what your desired results are. To not run the risk of harming your brand or its progression, you need to have a goal; otherwise, you may become a brand-destroying spammer, aimlessly bashing the water in an attempt to attract a bite.

I would encourage you all to ask your clients or fans what your brand means to them. Listen, and ask yourself: Is their perception of your brand what you had intended it to be?

You may need to reanalyze your brand’s messaging and delivery while working to find how you can present your brand the way you intended to. Once you realize and establish your perfect messaging and delivery, you will begin to see your brand and its message truly spread and continually invoke effective impressions.

Remember, a brand belongs to those who love it. As a brand creator, you must find a way to keep their love of your brand consistent as the modern zeitgeist evolves. This requires a willingness and ability to adapt and change your brand as needed, but do so wisely because change can be either helpful or destructive to a brand.

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