The Touchy Business of Brand Identity Re-design

visual identity redesign

The high Emotional Stakes of Brand Identity Re-design
Changing the way a brand presents itself to market must be seen as a change in relationship, which means it dovetails with both how the organization sees itself, but also how the consumers who are connected to the brand see themselves.

From a consumer perspective it’s kind-of like waking up in the morning with a new girlfriend (or boyfriend) next to you in bed. That might sound cool but it’s the kind of change you’d like to have some participation-in as you’re (usually) emotionally invested. Recently Gap and Starbucks have both been on the receiving end of an emotional customer backlash for changing their brand image with a ‘self-centered-organizational’ perspective.

With such shared brand ownership you can understand why so many brands choose the ‘evolutionary brand identity change‘ approach such as Coke does so well. Often businesses see the re-design of identity as being the first move to signify brand change, rather than focusing on ‘being the change’ first. Once a brand has changed what it stands for, what it means to it’s audience through its actions, it is better poised to begin a well communicated image change process with it’s community.

Our respected peers; Mark Gallagher and Laura Savard at brand agency Black Coffee in the USĀ  have just published an article on their blog which explores the touchy business of brand identity change with great smarts. Jump to it here – I highly recommend the read.

Dave Ansett, Brandamentalist
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Emotionally Sensitive Brand Re-designer


  1. A great article Dave. Thankyou for the post. Having recently re-branded my own company I stuck true to one of the points made in the article – “When people understand the reason for the change, they are more likely to accept it”. By clearly communicating to my customers of the reason for change, ‘my logo was way too old to keep using’, it helped ease the transition.

  2. Hi Sarah, Recently both Gap and Starbucks have made changes to their brand identity. In both cases the changes were met with howls of complaint from customers wed to the previous design. If you follow the links in the post you can read in more detail the chain of events and our perspective.

  3. Thanks for the piece. Interesting though that a change in brand identity can also play an important role internally if organisations wish to signal to their employees a ‘change in brand attitude’. Sometimes organisations need more cues regarding the expectation for an internal change in behaviour and brand identity can be a powerful cue.

  4. No doubt you’re right Reg – the other critical audience. The change of brand identity is one of the most powerful communicators that there is change afoot for staff. Again, consultation and communication are the key to having that change of brand identity understood and accepted.

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