The digital age has heralded a change in everyday business practices. This has led to an upsurge in major companies transforming their brand identity. Some have been successful, while the efforts of others have been reminiscent of Yahoo’s failed rebranding effort in 2013.
From my 14-plus years as a graphic designer, I learned firsthand that branding goes well beyond logo design. Creating a successful brand and brand identity requires careful planning and execution. Sometimes to achieve a fresh identity, all a company needs isn’t a new logo (think Old Spice and UPS), but a change in consumer experience featuring clever ads and innovative slogans.
A company’s growth and profits in today’s digital economy is heavily influenced by its digital and online strategies. Traditional and even modern businesses run the risk of being outpaced by their consumers as some brands have yet to grasp the concept of how to compete in the digital age.
Here are six tips to advance your business using social media, logo design, payment processes, reward programs, user experience (UX) design, and brand ethos.
1. Change your brand and identity to reflect your company’s growth and future.
MasterCard Inc. is easily one of the most recognisable brands, known ubiquitously for processing more than 74 billion transactions a year between merchants and consumers via debit and credit cards. MasterCard recently launched its brand identity evolution with a new brand mark and design system to "modernise and elevate" their brand. Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Raja Rajamannar stated it was time for the brand to exemplify the business it has grown into.
2. Take inspiration from your original logo design and stay memorable.
Guinness is another global brand that unveiled a logo update this past May. The brewery founded in 1759 in Dublin, Ireland by Arthur Guinness has kept its logo design consistent. When most companies are opting for "less is more" with minimalist designs (flat and material), Guinness chose a sophisticated design of a harp that captures the spirit of its previous logos over the 257-year history. From their recent rebrand we see they stuck to their roots and took inspiration from their heritage.
3. Build a social media following through user generated content.
GoPro has parlayed its action cameras into a gigantic community by means of a user generated content strategy. It has over 24 million dedicated followers across social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube (6,000 daily video uploads). By sharing its users’ high-quality extreme-action video content and photographs across its channels, GoPro created a win-win scenario. Users get paid, sponsored, or exposure for created content. In return GoPro gets millions of dollars’ worth of free viral and guerrilla marketing and access to prospective customers through its existing customer base.
4. Make your payment process easier and reward customer loyalty.
Coffee bean sourcing and roasting giant, Starbucks has consistently improved its brand for 45 years, resulting in over 23,700 coffeehouses operating worldwide. This branding approach has moved from its distinctive logo and in-store décor to successfully pioneering and implementing mobile payment. Through its reward programs customers receive points ('stars') on each purchase in its company-owned stores and grocery stores. In 2015, Starbucks did roughly eight million mobile transactions weekly. It’s no wonder CEO Howard Schultz sees his company as the "undisputed leader in mobile commerce".
5. Use a collaborative approach to create the best user-experience (UX) for your consumers.
Google rebranded in August 2015, a move that signalled its new corporate structure (under Alphabet Inc.). The tech giant’s designers spent hundreds of hours on its new identity (staying on-brand), considering how its users interacted and communicated with its multi-coloured brand using multi-devices. It tested the results with its engineering, research, product, and marketing teams. Google focused heavily on creating the best UX and UI. It ended the financial year with $74.54 billion in revenue, mostly from its online advertising (90.4 per cent).
6. Shape your brand culture to boost your sales.
Red Bull was the catalyst for the energy drink becoming a new category in the international F&B market. Over a decade between 1996 and 2006, Red Bull grew its sales from six to 300 million cans. That was the result of its freewheeling culture created in 1987 through aligning itself to extreme sports, music, art, adventure, and viral campaigns (like Stratos). Founder Dietrich Mateschitz has led by example, learning to fly classic airplanes and even encouraging his employees (10,997) to do the same. The energy drink company sold 5.957 billion cans in 169 countries in 2015.