Reach out

Hold on, You’ve Got to Be Kidding… You Think Your Brand Doesn’t Need to Evolve?!?

Just poking fun here but… There’s just one phrase that sends chills down the spine of marketers everywhere: “But we’ve always done it this way.” Oh, jeez… really? Let’s face it, some brands seem to be stuck in a time warp, happily sipping on their neon-colored drinks from the ’80s, completely oblivious to the fact that we’re now living in the age of TikTok, memes, and AI. I’m not saying that new trendy technology is what you should follow necessarily but audiences change and they’re asking for more.

I’ve worked with companies that go through the motions of updating their brand but end up making it look pretty much the same. It’s like they took all the time to rearrange the furniture but forgot to redecorate the room. Real change requires more than just a facelift – it needs a new vision and a willingness to break from the past. Most importantly, it requires recognizing that audiences have evolved because of technology, culture, and changing needs, and your branding needs to evolve with them.

The Museum of Ancient Brands

Imagine walking into a museum. You see exhibits of ancient artifacts like rotary phones, floppy disks, and… outdated brands? Yes, right next to the dinosaur fossils, we have some companies who haven’t updated their branding since the last millennium. Their logos are pixelated relics, their slogans sound like something your grandpa would say, and their websites? Let’s just say, if websites could speak, theirs would be saying “You’ve got mail!”.

Fashionably Late to the Trend Party

These brands are like that one friend who still wears that same old sweatshirt that has been out of shape for years. The world of branding is all about staying current, relevant, and engaging with you audience. Clinging to old designs and outdated marketing strategies is like trying to sell a VHS player to a Gen Z kid. It’s just not going to work.

The Social Media Ghost Town

Then there are the social media accounts. You know the ones – they post once a year, probably a New Year’s greeting, and then vanish into the ether. Their X account still has hashtags like #Winning and #YOLO. Their Instagram is filled with photos from employee parties that look like they were taken with a potato. Meanwhile, brands that embrace change are out there slaying the social media game, connecting with audiences, and staying top of mind — a totally different mindset.

The Evolution Solution

So, what’s the solution for these brands stuck in a branding black hole? It’s simple: evolve or dissolve. Here are a few friendly—and maybe not so friendly—tips:

1— Refresh That Logo

A logo from 1985 might have been rad back then, but now it just looks sad. A modern, sleek redesign can do wonders if designed by a good designer. Oh, and I know what you are thinking… “What about the GE logo, or even IBM, or Coca-Cola!”. First off those logos are iconic and unique. Second, they have a marketing machine behind them to support all sorts of business growth.

2— Update Your Slogan

“The best thing since sliced bread” was catchy in 1928. Building on a cliché, has of course never been original, and it won’t help you stand out by any means! All clichés do is mentally exhaust your audience. My point here is that often, as your business and audience changes, it makes sense to look at what you are actually saying and see if it still resonates!

3— Embrace Social Media (for real this time!)

Get active, get creative, and get with the times. Engage with your audience where they are—online. If you can’t be meaningful on social media, then consider not being there at all. An inactive social media presence is worst than no presence at all. There’s nothing cool about an empty Instagram account. Social media is an important part of marketing, so strategize, have a plan and stick to it.

4— Modernize Your Website

Let’s face it; this is the epicenter of your brand. If your website looks like it was built by a time traveler from the ’90s, it’s time for a makeover. Mobile-friendly, fast, and visually appealing is the way to go at a minimum (take a look at this gem). Beyond that, you should try to see how a web experience fits with your audience’s needs and makes their life better.

5— Innovate Your Marketing

Ditch the fax machine. Use modern email marketing tools and design platforms to create stunning, engaging content. You may think I’m joking about the fax machine, but I recently worked with a healthcare client that still receives orders via fax that get printed out to be manually input into their purchasing system (yes in 2024!).

Sometimes it takes a lot...

Unfortunately, the only way to bring about these much-needed changes often involves a significant shift in leadership. It’s when a new CEO comes in with fresh perspectives, or when the company gets acquired by forward-thinking owners, that real transformation begins. These new leaders can cut through the inertia and drive the brand into the present, ensuring it remains competitive and relevant.

Bottom line, it’s all about your audiences—external ones as well as internal ones. Understand what your audience is doing Remember, your audience has evolved – it’s time your brand does too. Your audience (and your bottom line) will thank you!

Photo by Patrick Perkins on Unsplash

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