I remember the day a brand meant something completely different to me. I grew up on a farm in Southern Saskatchewan, a brand was a hot iron stick that singed precious calves in the springtime. I was unaware of how powerful that brand was.
Our brand was recognizable; neighbours for miles around knew what it was. They knew all their neighbour’s brands; people in the community recognized and understand what each brand meant. Cattle may have changed from year to year, but the brands never did. It didn’t matter if the cow was black, red, or brown, they wore the same brand and that brand identified them as part of our herd.
Recently I heard of a conversation that made me reflect on that iron stick and what it meant. I heard of a business person that believed his business’ brand should change regularly to stay relevant. I had to ask myself why anyone would think their brand should change that often. To me, a business’ brand identifies who they are, it speaks to their identity, and it isn’t something I would change on a whim. It is something customers recognize, and hopefully respect. Team members get behind a brand and are proud of it. A brand, when done well, will have a longer shelf life than one year – look at some of the world’s best brands and you’ll see how timeless a well thought out brand can be.
So why would anyone think they should change their brand annually? Perhaps there is confusion between a brand and an ad campaign. It is completely realistic to change out creative and messaging for your advertising on a regular basis. This allows you to stay relevant in an advertising world that is constantly evolving and pushing new limits. It will allow you to stay top of mind by being creative. However, this is not your brand, this is an ad campaign.
So in my opinion, changing your logo on an annual basis will only cause market confusion. It will cost you a significant amount of money to design a new look and properly implement the new look and ultimately, we wouldn’t suggest any of our clients do this unless it is absolutely necessary.
Live your brand – unless there is a really good reason to reinvent it.