15 years back, I was asked to fix a problem I didn’t know existed.
The agency I was supporting was tasked with pitching on the marketing communications for one of the most storied recognition programs in the country. We did our research. We did our due diligence. The overall approach looked good. Materials looks slick and professional. The messaging was on strategy. The overall experience of interacting with the brand seemed solid. Awareness of the program was an all time high. I kept telling my team "I'm not sure how we improve things here."
And that’s when the box of marketing communications materials arrived at the agency.
They looked great – until we placed all of them on the large boardroom table. It was then we realized that there were significant issues with the visual identit y. No one thing looked like another thing. Colours were all over the place. The logo had been altered. The language wasn’t unified.
We built a solution that focused on that aspect of the brand, and eventually, we won the pitch. Our competitors chose to focus on ways to promote the brand in fresh ways that didn’t address an actual problem.
Today, that unified visual and verbal identity helps set the program apart as one of the best in the world.
All of this is to say that if your recognition program is 3, 7, 15 years old, it may be worth it to look at the brand experience, and start asking questions to see if there’s anything you can do to improve it. Questions like:
What does my brand stand for?
How does our target audience perceive our brand?
How high is our brand’s awareness?
How high is our brand’s usage?
Why is/isn’t our brand succeeding?
Is the brand experience consistent?
The first step I make whenever I undertake a branding exercise is to ask questions that reveal the brand’s problem. Too often, I see organizations try to shake things up with a new logo, or a revised tagline – only to learn that none of those things addressed the real problem.