When redesigning a brand, how do you decide what goes/stays?
At Koopman Ostbo, we are often approached to redesign or update a client’s brand. This exciting opportunity can sometimes be a bit daunting, however each circumstance and situation, while vastly different, has a set of commonalities. When we recently updated the Umpqua Dairy brand, we had a 45-year history to reflect upon. How did we decide where to start?
1. Start with a clear brand strategy
This phase should be as thorough as needed — depending on the depth of research and size of the company. It’s the most crucial part of the overall process, and should result in a design brief that guides the rest of the project. This should be a highly collaborative process with the management team of the company or brand that needs the work. When we embarked upon the Umpqua redesign, we led a workshop with company stakeholders to determine the brand personality, learn about their history, and uncover their unique truths.
2. Define the parameters
Is it a small tweak or more of a dramatic re-invention, or somewhere in-between? If it’s not clear in the brief it might be useful to explore more. Umpqua told us from the start that two elements of their identity needed to remain: the color red and their logo typestyle. Knowing this, we were able to dig deeper to find other ways to strengthen the brand.
3. Tell the brand’s story
Stories can be a memorable and engaging way for consumers to relate to the brand. In our case, Umpqua had a 45-year history to pull from, so there were tales abound. After listening to these, our creative strategy began to draw upon a nostalgic and retro look for the packaging to help communicate this sense of history.
4. Plunder the brand’s visual history
If you dig into the past, chances are you will uncover inspiration. Ours came from a tour of Umpqua’s manufacturing plant where we saw a literal timeline of information hanging on the walls including vintage photos, antique packaging and dozens of awards and accolades.
5. Plan for consistency & flexibility
It’s important to keep in mind the different touch points a brand will have. We knew that we were starting with ice cream containers, but that eventually the new brand would expand to other frozen treats and then eventually to their other dairy items. A system that is too rigid can get stale with consumers quickly and not offer enough differentiation between skus. Yet with too much variation, consumers can be easily confused. So it’s critical to find the right balance for your audience.
6. Get the whole company on-board
It’s easy to spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about the consumer but it’s the employees who really make the brand come to life day-to-day. If your staff isn’t on-board, supportive and enthused, then no matter how well you’re telling the story visually, the experience will just be the same as it always was and you risk staff being resistant to making the changes.
7. Don’t tinker too soon with the new brand
Often the design team or someone client-side may want to start tinkering soon after launch, sometimes even before the design has been out in the public arena for very long. If however, you’ve done a good job getting your employees on board and have followed your brand strategy, keep in mind that people need time to adjust to change. Listen to their feedback, be patient and give things time to settle.