Do you really want to be a cliché?
Jeff Brooks has recently written about the impact of re-branding on fundraising and included some hard facts based on his first-hand observations.
He covered the four areas that are usually included in any new comms director's re-brand strategy and shared the following:
- Changing the logo generally has no financial impact.
- Changing the graphic standards (we'd call this changing the visual identity) has a small negative impact.
- Changing the organisation's name leads to a 25% to 50% loss of revenue.
- Changing the cause identification leads to a 20% to 30% loss of revenue.
As you can see, Branding is a risky business, so as soon as someone mentions that a re-brand might be on the agenda, I always recommend they have a quick flick through Don't Mess with the Logo (and yes, there is a clue in the title). It helps cut through all the nonsense and jargon that makes the subject seem so mysterious and will help you identify whether you are working with someone who knows what they are doing or someone who might leave you with a shiny new brand book but also a hole in your balance sheet.
And even if you haven't got time to read the book, here's a game that you can play when your new logo is finally revealed that serves the same purpose. It's called spot the cliché and is based on the the top ten most overused visual ideas in branding as identified by the authors, Jon Edge and Andy Milligan. It comes with the following advice:
"Make sure the designers you use are not just throwing one of these at you."
1. The aperture or gateway – basically an excuse to stick stuff in the 'O' or any part of your name.
2. The simple geometric shape.
3. The 'person shaped-figure'. This is usually sold with the explanation that 'people engage more with people than type' (which means your name is sh*t and so let's make it into a friendly face or little man – a bit like seeing dragons in cloud formations).
4. Lower case.
5. The colon or asterisk.
6. The globe.
7. The non-logo – an excuse to use a new typeface bought for another client that didn't use it.
8. The unique colour route (almost always purple).
9. The ripped-off logo not used any more from Los Logo book or from 10 years ago.
10. Using/emphasising a misspelling, use of a z or an x – or flipping a letter backwards or upside down.
They also include a few sketches to help you spot some of the more obvious examples.
Jeff asked readers with contradictory experience to share their stories. So far his comment stream is blank. Maybe our experience in the UK is different, so if you have increased your revenue directly beacuse of a re-brand it would great to hear about it.