Evolution is defined online as ‘the process by which different kinds of living organism are believed to have developed from earlier forms during the history of the earth’ or ‘the gradual development of something.’ It is a term that we associate perhaps with ‘the evolution of man’ more often but it is such a true definition of how a business should act when faced with the likes of competition, a change in the market, or after years of established trading. Evolution is the only way to keep your product or service relevant to the ever-changing business landscape. A way of recognising how evolution is already a staple of your business is to look at the changes you’ve made since launch, whether it’s a new product, a new warehouse or a new member of staff, all evidence that your business has evolved. Brand evolution is paramount with such changes. For example maybe you’re entering a new market or trying to win a substantial tender with potential clients, how does your brand communicate what you offer right now?
Case in point – Guinness. In 2016 Guinness evolved their harp icon:
Guinness has used a harp in its branding since 1862. The icon is based on the Brian Boru harp, a famous instrument created in honour of the Irish king who fought against Norman invasion in the 11th century. The instrument was adopted as the emblem of the Irish Free State in 1922 and has featured in Irish heraldry for several centuries.
The redesign sees the brand move from a flat symbol to a handcrafted one with depth and shading. The phrase Estd. 1759 now appears on the harp’s sound board (its straight edge), in type inspired by metal-stamped lettering imprinted on ironwork at the Guinness Storehouse.
The instrument also features wavy lines representing the River Liffey which flows through Dublin (a similar device was used on early labels as an anti-counterfeit measure). A new word mark hand-drawn by Barney, meanwhile – who created the famous British Rail logo and drew an earlier version of the harp in 1968 – combines elements of letterpress type and lettering from John Gilroy’s famous posters for the brand.
The new Harp Icon gives the brand a new lease of life, reflecting how cleverly and beautifully a brand can be brought into this century. This brand evolution highlights the importance of continually moving forward and not becoming static. Brand evolution such as an identity refresh or brand audit can shift the growth potential of a business, communicate with new customers and re-set the connection of long-standing clients.
Investing in your brand is as important as investing in a new salesperson or fleet on the road. Once a salesperson has left the meeting or hung up the phone what are they left with? – Your brand. Your brand stays with the client and is selling your business when you’re gone; it’s what the client is talking about when you’re not in the room. Investing in keeping your brand identity, marketing material, stationery, photography or website up to date are invaluable to staying ahead of your competitors and continually communicating with the right customers. Small incremental changes, just like the re-draw of your icon (Guinness) can pave the way for your business reaching it’s goals. An essential point of evolving your brand is adapting to new technologies, does your website hold up in 2017? How does it look in mobile? With the ever-evolving mediums of brand communication you must ask yourself, does my brand communicate effectively across the outlets that my customers are using? This is where we step in.
At Kaizen Brand Evolution we create and evolve market-leading brands, businesses that continue to grow and develop their brands. If you feel like your brand is in need of a refresh just get in touch and we’ll be happy to prepare a strategy that is bespoke to your clients and market.