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Brand Identity. To Change or Not to Change?

How often should companies change their brand identity? Every year? Every 10 years? Never? Over the past months we have seen AT&T, UPS, and Xerox all update their “look.” I think this does help you make a connection to a new generation or buying group, but does it distance you from others? I think these companies have done a good job of updating instead of changing. However I do feel some one line AT&T is keeping themselves in the news by changing from AT&T to SBC to Cingular back to AT&T…. or something like that. If you change a brand I think there are a couple of things to remember:

  1.  Do not forget your current audience. Conduct any focus groups and fact finding upfront, not to see if they like the change.
  2. Change for a good reason… i.e. to make your brand fit better with your mission, or to update your look like UPS has done.
  3. Be able to explain why to a stakeholder. You want to be able to create PR and not lose any brand equity you have established.

There are many more reason but those are a couple that came to mind. Feel free to comment and add yours.