In branding, just as in the real world, things that are made can just as easily fall apart. So the work does not stop immediately after the unveiling of a new brand identity, because you can’t bring order to chaos, hand it off, and hope that it will stay together. Actually, the work never stops. Just think, you would never hire an architect to design your house, a contractor to build it, and then let it fall into ruin. Too much is at stake, and too much has been invested. So accountability measures must be set in place. Brand standards or logo usage docs are valuable and absolutely necessary. But equally important is a talented designer or team to interpret those standards and steward the brand’s new strategy and image.
So, after the name is decided, the logo is finalized, the website is fully developed and the new brand identity is launched, how do you stay focused? So much of the energy and attention is funneled into the assembly and launch of a new brand identity, that the question of what to do after the unveiling is often an under-budgeted or under-planned issue. But, as has already been made clear, the most effective brand development does not stop there.
However, the truth is that there is no standard for post brand development. But one thing that’s certain is that the new brand identity should allow for constant and perpetual growth. It’s an ongoing undertaking to be forever re-imagining the brand, but it works. For instance, the GE brand identity model provides a great example. In line with the tagline “imagination at work,” GE is not content to show stock images of CAT scans or light bulbs with the GE logo on it each year. Instead, they have large teams of designers, advertising agencies, and marketing consultants across multiple industries where GE is invested. Not an inexpensive approach, to be sure, but still effective. All these measures are in place to protect the investment of their brand identity.
And this is not a once in a lifetime investment. A brand worth investing in will always be willing and ready to invest in their brand. And the best way to do that is to know the brand and thereby understand what directions it might take in the future. So overall, for post-handoff, the answer is not a suggested maintenance schedule for the new brand, but a keen sense of its sights and sounds.
Craig Johnson is the chief strategist and co-founder of Matchstic, a premier brand identity house. His Atlanta branding agency helps organizations create passionate brands that are memorable, relevant, and lasting. Specializing in brand development through brand strategy, positioning, business & product naming and brand identity services, Matchstic’s brand architects forge positive change and accomplish business objectives through creative thinking and smart design.