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5 ways to rebrand without touching your logo

Creating a brand in its truest sense is far harder work than creating a logo: but ultimately, it’s the only way to achieve success.
Words by
21 June, 2024
2 mins read

When most people think of a brand, they often visualize its logo – that iconic symbol which instantly evokes the essence of the company. Think Nike, see the swoosh. However, in today’s omni-channel universe, pinning so much on a single visual element may not be wise.

Brands are far more complex and multisensorial, extending beyond simple logo recognition to build deep emotional and experiential connections with their audience. A logo change alone won’t create real change. Modernizing a brand to retain existing audiences and attract new ones requires a deeper, broader approach.

Dave Timothy, managing director at Robot Food , shared his expert thoughts: “Creating a brand in its truest sense is far harder work than creating a logo: but ultimately, it’s the only way to achieve success.” Perhaps it’s time to redefine rebranding, recognizing that a true brand transformation extends far beyond the logo. Here’s Dave Timothy’s top tips and how to do it:

1. Strategy is king

Building strong brand foundations starts with strategic thinking. When a brand’s visual identity is rooted in clear positioning and strategic insight, every element aligns to serve a unified purpose. This means asking tough questions:

  • Are we relevant?
  • How can we refresh and energize the brand?
  • Why should people care?
  • The answers to these questions transcend mere logo design.

Successful brands understand their core values and equity, which provides the confidence and consistency needed to evolve and experiment. Consider Coca-Cola and Pepsi. Coca-Cola’s messaging reflects its deep understanding of its brand identity, ensuring relevance through consistent, forward-thinking campaigns. In contrast, Pepsi’s frequent logo changes have diluted its brand equity, lacking a clear positioning “north star.”

2. Harness your unique tone of voice

A brand’s tone of voice enables it to communicate authentically and memorably. Adjusting this can significantly impact brand perception without altering the logo. Lidl, for example, transformed its image from a no-frills discount retailer to one known for its irreverent and self-aware communication style. This shift, aligning with Lidl’s in-store experience and product range, demonstrates how tone of voice can redefine a brand’s identity.

3. Work your brand assets hard

Consider the power of Pantone 2685C – Cadbury purple. This color is so synonymous with the brand that it stands alone as a potent brand symbol. Brands can leverage a range of assets, such as color palettes, typography, art direction, and sensory elements like sound and smell, to reinforce their identity. Each element can carry significant brand weight independently, as seen with Danone’s sound logo or the iconic roar of MGM’s lion.

4. Tweak the product lines, not the logo

Sometimes, revitalizing a brand requires rethinking product lines and market strategies rather than altering visual elements. Lotus Biscoff, for instance, expanded from a niche biscuit to a popular spread, dramatically changing its market perception. Similarly, John West Tuna rebranded by introducing convenience-focused packaging and highlighting health benefits, repositioning itself without changing the logo.

5. Keep your logo, but do you know why?

Nostalgia and heritage play powerful roles in branding. Burger King’s 2021 rebrand revived a retro logo to reconnect with its roots, while Brooklyn Brewery retained its iconic logo designed by Milton Glaser, modernizing only minor aspects for digital use. This approach emphasizes creating a cohesive design system that allows the logo to shine within a refreshed brand context.

Maybe ‘rebranding’ needs rebranding…

Creating a true brand identity involves much more than changing a logo. It demands comprehensive strategic work, leveraging tone of voice, color, typography, and other assets based on rigorous strategic foundations. Transformative rebranding often leaves the logo intact while revamping other brand elements to align with the core brand strategy.

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David Martin

David Martin is a Web Developer & Designer from the UK with a love for minimal design, coffee and WordPress.

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