A visual communicator and creative problem-solver who specializes in brand communications, Joy Kaufman is senior creative director at Impact XM.
Brand Refresh: Find Your X
It’s hard to know what to feel when you hear “rebrand” during a company meeting. As marketers, we may feel excited about the opportunity to make changes to reach new audiences, explore new and interesting design concepts and develop a lasting communication system. In any rebrand, there are challenges to maintaining the essential parts of your company and not to stray from who you are. How much do you draw from history? Will your rebrand alienate your current client base? What happens to your internal shared identity?
It is more essential than ever for a brand to remain flexible to reach audiences of all kinds. When leadership feels the need to recalibrate the way you talk about your brand and how you are perceived in the market, consider a brand refresh rather than immediately recreating your logo or brand identity. By refreshing a brand, you can dress your brand up or down based on the audience or media channel while remaining true to who you are as a company and existing brand.
Impact XM has been in exhibit and experiential marketing for over 50 years. As our company grew in scale, talent and clientele, and incorporated advancing technologies into our product offerings, we needed to be flexible. As a senior creative director, my team and I had the privilege of spearheading our brand’s refresh. We wanted to preserve the trust we had built in the industry and with our clients over the years while also speaking to our aspirations as a company. Our new story of “X well-crafted.” emerged as a simple phrase that remains true to Impact XM’s history and mission, while highlighting our evolution into a global, full-service experiential marketing agency.
If you are considering refreshing your brand, we have a few notes to consider as you continue your brand evolution.
Know when it’s time.
Audit your brand to see if it speaks to your current values and future goals. Have your services changed or clients’ needs shifted? What’s missing from your brand story that sets you apart from your competitors? How do your employees feel about your brand? How do you talk about yourself?
Know your audience(s).
Human behavior and emotional engagement are crucial in creating a strong brand. It’s the logic and emotion, left and right brains working together. We surveyed both our internal employees and our external clients and asked, “Who do you think we are and what do you care about when it comes to Impact XM? Why us?”
Brand is not necessarily what we tell our clients, but brand loyalty is based on how they feel about us. Our challenge is to communicate our brand values in what we do, in what we say, as well as to aesthetically appeal to an emotion. Too often we show our solutions and services and hope something resonates with clients. We need to ask ourselves if this is the right message, tone and feeling for this audience. And how do we still look like us if we are appealing to different audiences?
Always answering (three questions).
Any brand communication should ultimately answer these three questions:
- Who are you?
- What do you do?
- Why should your audience care?
Remain authentic to foster trust.
In the age of disinformation, it is extremely important to maintain trust in a brand. Our messages need to be created in a way that is straightforward but compelling. In our excitement to be a flexible brand, it is easy for marketers to appeal to different audiences in inauthentic ways—to try to be more than we really are. The beauty in a brand comes from the balance of remaining true to your values but being able to dress for the occasion when the audience calls for us to be flexible.
We are bombarded with messages of all kinds and through many different mediums. From the moment anyone visits your website, engages with social media or interacts with brand content, they should know who you are, what you do and are at least intrigued enough to find out why they should care. Happy brand refreshing!
Article citation: 2000, Marty Neumeier, The Brand Gap.