Does Your Branding Have a Speech Impediment?
Branding identity is one of the most important things about your business. It’s your company’s visual voice, and it plays a huge role in what you communicate to your customers. Fair or not, companies with incredible brands gain more initial customers than ones with poor branding identities, even if the actual product isn’t as good. Will well-branded companies with poor products continue to receive business from their customers? Of course not. When it comes down to it, quality customers are drawn to quality products. After all, the quality of your products also has a voice. However, more often than not, a business’s branding voice often speaks first.
Because your brand identity carries so much weight, it’s wise to consider (and re-consider) what your brand’s voice is actually saying. A common misconception in the business world (in regards to branding) is that practicality is more important than creativity. However, the reality is that shapes, icons, typefaces, and color choices are all instrumental in effective brand communication. Whether a company attempts to reach a more targeted audience, or simply wants to keep up with times, sometimes there’s just no other way around it—it’s time to rebrand.
Taco Bell is a great example of a company that was ready to start “saying the right things” with their branding voice. Since 1962, Taco Bell has been perfecting the art of the fast food taco. Many still remember the Taco Bell of the past (sombreros and all), and the fact that the franchise was once blatantly Mexican themed, a traditional look that remained unchanged, for the most part, for over twenty years.
Recently, however, Taco Bell has rebranded and adapted its visual identity to keep up to date with the changing times. The most recent update of the franchise took place this year (2016). The rebrand features the taco “bell” in flat white, encompassed by one of 7 color combinations in the new Taco Bell color palette. The new look can be found in marketing materials and the general visual appeal of the restaurant, making the Taco Bell dining experience very different. The franchise now has a clean and sophisticated brand that is thriving harmoniously in modern society. It is well on its way to reaching its goal of becoming a $15 billion brand by 2022.
Tacos aren’t the only products worth rebranding for. Walmart’s owners also decided to adjust their branding voice to match their business strategy. Pre-2006, Walmart’s logo featured dark blue, all-caps letters that were sharp in nature. This particular logo produced feelings of industrial “big business.” However, in 2006, Walmart hired a design company to rebrand their logo in an effort to “humanize” it and to generate feelings of growth, life, and happiness. They also wanted to promote the newly added grocery and garden elements of the company. The new Walmart brand features lighter blue, lowercase letters that are more curved in nature, and the bright yellow star that tells the customer, “By shopping at Walmart, you’ll save money and live better.”
Like Taco Bell, Walmart’s owners didn’t only want to rebrand their logo. They wanted to re-brand the experience. Shortly after the rebrand, Walmart created marketing materials, signage, and other promotional literature to match the new style of the brand. Obviously, it takes time to rebrand an entire industry, but soon after the new logo was launched, Walmart stores everywhere followed suit in tailoring their visual voice to speak words of health, happiness, and well being to their customers.
At some point, the owners of Taco Bell and Walmart came to the conclusion that their business’s branding voices weren’t saying the right things. Whether it was in order to keep up with the times, to target a different type of customer, or to highlight other elements of their businesses, they decided to rebrand.
If you’re the owner of a small business and you’re just not sure that your brand is communicating the right things to the public, perhaps it’s time that you considered rebranding too. A company’s branding voice is often the first voice that customers hear. Too many businesses crumble, not because of poor-quality products, but simply due to miscommunication. Don’t be afraid to ask yourself—“Is it time to rebrand?”