The visual identity has an important role in the brand image of a company. It is the first element visible to consumers and it is also the way for a company to control the image it wants to send out, thus improving its notoriety. But how to determine when is the best time to change its visual identity?
Visual identity: what is it?
The visual identity gathers all the elements that allow to recognize a brand at a glance. The most important of these elements is the logo. Generally visible on the products marketed by the brand, its advertising posters, its catalogs or sometimes even its work clothes, it allows to show the authenticity and the values of a brand. It can also be a specific calligraphy, color codes or visual expressions such as pictograms.
When should you change your visual identity?
During an internal change
When choosing a visual identity, you must ensure that it corresponds to the values of your company in order to reflect a positive and realistic image of your business. In case you decide to make strategic changes, in your sector of activity, on products and services or your values, it would be justified to make changes on your visual identity in order to remain in correlation with your image.
If we take the example of McDonald’s, they have modified their logo over the years to match the image they wanted to project. At the beginning, it was a fast food chain that consumed, polluted and wasted a lot. Since 2007, they decided to offer more environmentally friendly products and packaging to adapt to the current economic climate. They then decided to opt for a more adapted logo by replacing the original red by a green one which reminds ecology and recycling by giving it a more “green” image.
If the company evolves
When you create your company, you will adopt a visual identity in line with your activity and your vision. A few years later, depending on how your company evolves, you may need to change your logo, slogan or signage to stay consistent with your brand image. If we take the example of Apple, they started with a rather complex logo. Over the years, they have gained notoriety and then radically changed the style of their logo by choosing a simple design with the famous “Apple”, which reflects an image much more luxurious than their original logo.
When visual identity becomes obsolete
Trends in logo colors and styles vary over the years. A modern logo at the time of your company’s launch may not be as relevant four or five years later. In order to keep your logo current, you can plan to change it from time to time. You can either take the elements that make up your logo and bring them up to date (McDonald’s) or start from scratch and create a whole new identity (Apple).
To keep your logo for a longer period of time, be careful not to choose graphic elements that are too marked in time. Choose a more timeless style that will still be appropriate a few years later. The fact that you change your logo from time to time shows that you are a dynamic company that knows how to renew itself to stay in the air of time.
On the occasion of an event
It can be interesting to change your visual identity at a strategic moment in the company. It can be an anniversary. For example, for the 10th anniversary of the company, you can modify the internal and external communication supports of the company and review its logo and packaging. It can also be to mark a change of ownership or a merger with another company. This change will then allow to differentiate the company before change of owner, before merger, by offering a new image.
During your international development
Depending on the market in which your company evolves, the codes concerning the visual identity will vary. If you are positioned on a local market like the canton of Vaud and you wish to move towards an international market, you may have to adapt your logo to your new market. Some multinationals have a different logo for each market. For example, the logo of the Coca-Cola brand is not the same in Europe as in Asia. If your logo contains writing, you can translate it so that it is understandable in several countries.
If your company loses notoriety
In the history of a company, it can happen that the brand image is deteriorated or assimilated to a negative aspect that will result in a decrease in customer confidence and a decrease in sales. This negative image can have different origins. It can be due to a scandal against the brand, such as the discovery of a production made by children or the non-respect of sanitary rules imposed by the state.
It can also be related to the loss of popularity of a sponsor or representative of your brand. For example, if the brand’s muse is involved in a court case. In these situations, changing your visual identity will allow you to get rid of prejudices and a tarnished image.