MediaBeacon Blog

Why You Should Consider Changing Your Brand Identity Guidelines

Brand components: Design, value, strategy, marketing, advertising, identity, trust.

Change is hard.

But change is also necessary. 

Some businesses have a difficult time changing because they have a tough time justifying the costs associated with altering their operations. Even if a change in operations will save money in the long run, they don’t want to deal with the installation of new software or go through training for new processes.

However, former President Bill Clinton may have said it best when he asserted that, “The price of doing the same old thing is far higher than the price of change.” In other words, if you want to keep up with your competitors, you need to change. 

Marketing guru Seth Godin also pointed out the importance of changing sooner rather than later, stating, “Change almost never fails because it is too early. It almost always fails because it is too late.”

This especially holds true for your brand identity guidelines – an outline of who you are as a brand, what you stand for, your values, personality, mission, and goals.

Depending on how old your business is and how your particular industry has evolved over the last few years, you may be in need of a brand identity overhaul.

Failing to recognize when you change your brand guidelines may result in your business falling behind the competition. So, here are three reasons to consider changing your brand identity guidelines — if not today, then maybe next year, or the year after that.

Consumers Change, So You Should Too

Like a toddler who refuses to eat his vegetables, consumers can be picky.

In fact, you could argue that today’s consumers are pickier than ever — making every brand decision heavily scrutinized by a critical audience.

For example, many consumers these days prioritize companies that put an effort towards being sustainable. In other words, they want to make sure that the products they buy are being sourced ethically, that their employees are treated fairly, and that the company is improving the community and world. 

Because of this, companies are reworking their brand guidelines to include sustainability within their values and mission statements.

REI, Kohls, and Netflix currently source 100% of their electricity usage through renewable energy. In 2017, Google made an announcement that they would work towards a 100% renewable energy goal and Apple recently announced that the data center they are building in Denmark will run entirely on renewable energy. 

So, pay attention to what consumers really, truly value and see if you can incorporate that into your brand guidelines.

Your Company is Evolving

Maybe it’s just been a long time since you’ve taken a long hard look at your brand identity guidelines. Perhaps you haven’t even noticed how much your business has changed over the last few years because the evolution has been so gradual.

Or, maybe your company is being forced to evolve due to a shift in what your customers want.

The New York Times has been held in high regard as one of the top news publications in the world. However, with the decline of print news, the Times and other newspapers have been forced to adapt to the digital age.

Now, consumers acquire most of their news via mobile and digital devices. So, the Times had to evolve in order to keep readership up.

Today, the New York Times is lauded for their shift to digital. As outlined in this Wired article from 2017, the Times has incorporated video and other digital media into their product offerings, which has allowed them to continue to thrive.

New York Times Experiences screenshot.

‘The Times’ illustrating their diverse digital offerings on their subscription page.

You can bet your bottom dollar that the head honchos at the Times spent some time looking within to change up their brand guidelines in order to better represent their new offerings. 

If they hadn’t, there may have been many issues internally in terms of branding, their mission, and their operations.

Currently, ‘The Times’ is the third most circulated newspaper in the nation. It should come as no surprise that one of the newspapers ahead of them is the Wall Street Journal, which just so happens to have a very successful digital subscription as well.

Improving an Underdeveloped Brand Identity

Perhaps your business has outgrown your original brand identity guidelines.

Once upon a time, when you were just a small enterprise, maybe you just put wrote out your mission statement and nothing more.

But now, with many more employees and customers, you are marketing in more channels than in the past. So, you need to expand on the original, underdeveloped brand identity outline.

While that mission statement alone was enough to create consistency in your organization when it was small, it could be time for an update. 

Continuing to operate with underdeveloped brand identity guidelines will surely lead to inconsistencies and confusion towards your brand — both from the inside with your employees and the outside with your consumers.

Use DAM to Help Control Your Brand Identity

To help control your brand identity, update your digital asset management (DAM) system, or implement one if you haven’t already. With a DAM, you can control which assets are available for your customer-facing images, videos, and other digital files. It’s important to archive your old branding materials so that your sales, marketing, product, and packaging teams are staying consistent with the brand identity.

To learn more about DAM, contact MediaBeacon.