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How To Know It's Time To Update Your Brand

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March 27, 2017

In our last blog, we wrote about our own agency's decision after 30 years to update our logo. You see, in our role as a healthcare advertising agency, we frequently tell clients that their brands require a face lift. And that conversation often results in clients either gnashing their teeth in anger or bowing their head in dejection because what they heard was, "Your baby is ugly."

However, when we recommend a client updates his or her graphic identity, the recommendation comes from a neutral, objective place. Our goal is not to apply our own taste to their logo, but rather to help our clients evaluate the equity in their current brand and to determine whether or not there's a necessity to modify it. So, in this blog, we will translate our experience as a Miami public relations firm to provide a concrete set of criteria for determining if it's time for your organization to update its brand.

1. Is Your Logo Aesthetically Relevant?

As a rule, our marketing communications firm avoids using the terms "like" or "love" as it relates to the creative products we develop. Instead, we focus on "effectiveness." Does it work?

Nevertheless, when it comes to logo design, it's challenging to separate personal taste from the decision making process. So, for our first test, we're looking at aesthetic relevance. By this, we're really asking, "Is your logo outdated?" Typography, like jeans and neck ties, has a trend cycle. Just think of futuristic 1950s type, mod 60s type and groovy70s type. Likewise, if your logo uses a typeface that was popular in the 1990s or early 2000s, it may be outdated today. However, lots of fonts are classic and never go out of style.

Icons, too, can appear dated. The dot-com era embraced a ubiquitous swoosh shape, but today, that icon has become unfashionable.

2. Is Your Logo Still Practical?

Today, most companies' logos appear in a digital environment more frequently than in the real world. As a result, logos that were originally developed for the print universe may require modifications for online marketing applications.

Logos with a lot of detail, multiple colors, or gradients often don't translate well to digital. Modern logo designs tend to embrace simplicity, and these logos usually look best online. Likewise, simpler logos can be reproduced at smaller sizes and remain readable.

At our Miami ad agency, we also insist that clients' logos pass a few other practicality tests. They must work in black and white as well as color. And they must work in reverse, i.e. in white on a solid background.

3. Does Your Logo Reflect Your Positioning?

Perhaps most importantly, you need to determine if your logo embodies the characteristics that define your organization's identity. Unfortunately, during the initial process of creating a logo, executives and entrepreneurs tend to choose their graphic identities based on personal taste, rather than by measuring whether or not a logo adheres to an organization's identity.

Remember, a strong brand is the visual shorthand for what an organization stands for. Therefore, if your logo doesn't graphically identify what your organization is all about, then it may very well be time for an update.

Yes, a strong logo can support a company for decades, but we need to frequently reflect on the appropriateness of our logos and how they advance our overall brand.