Under no circumstances should you change. Radical advice.
A brand with history is a brand with a customer base, who understand and like what you are about. The last thing you want to do is alienate them.
But we might not just want ‘them’, we might want to attract a broader range of different customers so that our brand grows over time.
Trying to stay true to your roots whilst still remaining relevant in a world that is constantly moving on is a real challenge. It’s easy to stick your head in the sand and go with ‘what you look like now’ because, after all, that has always worked in the past. It would be just as easy, though obviously far more risky, to jump on the latest trend or design fashion and re-invent your brand at a superficial level. Just like the pub chains do when they adopt the latest ambiance. Basically, ‘do nothing’ or ‘panic and do something’ are both well-practised strategies. Even though you won’t find them in many text books.
But the approach that gives a much more solid brand strategy is to stick to what you’ve always done really well. The values, principles and stories that make up the cornerstones of your brand’s heritage shouldn’t waver. The new bit comes from understanding how best to re-express these values in a contemporary landscape. We find the best place to look for this is a deep understanding of customers, current and projected in to the next 5-10 years. Because from here, we get a way of communicating what we are about, using language that is taken from them.
Think for example, about the problems you are good at solving for customers. Do all of these needs still exist? Have any new ones emerged? Is the usage occasion you built your products around still the same, or has it altered over time? If you look in to how these elements might have shifted; and view your brand through the eyes of any new customers you would like to attract, you can start to see how to re-express what you stand for in line with the shifting sands of consumer need.
- First understand what values, principles and stories best explain your brand. Describe it as you would a friend – what anecdotes do you pick that best demonstrate it’s personality?
- Understand what problems you can solve for existing and new customers – what kinds of products or services will people buy from your brand?
- Above all, stay true to what you stand for. Just make it relevant for today.