Brand – Jun, 2022

Regenerating brands

The world changes constantly, for brands to remain relevant, sharp and meaningful sometimes they need to regenerate themselves. Regenerating brands is a much more regular activity than inventing them in the first place. Every existing brand has attitudes, values, a reputation and a swirling culture around it. Often this has been built up over many years and permeated into the consciousness of all associated with organisation. Customers, employees, shareholders and suppliers. This ‘image’, that runs deep (and is much more than a visual signifier) may be deeply entrenched and warmly valued. So why regenerate the brand? After all, design agencies talk about consistency, recognition and familiarity to build meaningful relationships.

Structural changes to the brand.

Firstly, there can be structural changes in the organisation such as an acquisition or merger meaning the entity has to better reflect its new architecture. And, the relationship between the entities needs to be assessed and addressed.

Spirit of the age.

Zeitgeist – the spirit of the age. Technology, taste, values and language change. For example, In 1994 the National Spastics Society changed its name to Scope. The word spastic had for a long time prior been used derogatively. Rightly, the charity took the decision to change its name and regenerate the brand. When the whole world is changing around you, brands and businesses need to adapt to avoid becoming anachronistic and change even to occupy the same space they had previously.

How deep the change.

The question may then be; how deep should the change be? The name, the core idea, the visual identity, the outlook and spirit? Some organisations have some fundamental characteristics that are the essence of the brand. They may be the principles of the founder, geography or technological premiss and they may be still relevant and important – now and in the future. These should remain. In nutshell, keep the good stuff and build upon it.  Change only what is necessary but be courageous.

Regenerating brands is a delicate balance between retaining the essence of organisation (provided it is sound and relevant) in order to keep the latent goodwill. And, developing new spiritual, strategic and visual manifestations that are true, relevant and current with the ambition to engage and inspire.

It is often beneficial for organisations that shift also to signal they have shifted. This helps consolidate their new position and enable the seizure of the marketing high ground. It is less usual for brands when regenerating to be ‘root and branch’ upheavals. Small modulations to the brand or more light-touch ‘refreshings’ are more common. This  is more likely to be the only necessary course of action.

Keeping a weather eye on your brand.

Organisations need to continually monitor their position, relevance and place in the world. In brand regeneration projects undertaken at Ice House Design, we suggest an internal brand guardian is appointed at a senior level who’s job it is to do exactly this. Depending on the commercial landscape within which an organisation operates – and specifically the speed of change within it, typically, businesses should consider reviewing their brand(s) every 7–10 years.



Posted by Jack Owen