Reviving an identity without losing fame

“If consumers are used to it, recognizing it, appreciating it, we can get negative feedback, especially on social networks,” said Julie Royer, a lecturer in graphic design at Laval University. Change for the sake of change should be avoided. (Photo: Courtesy)

If renewing the visual identity can sometimes be essential for a brand, such a metamorphosis should not be taken lightly.

This could – at least temporarily – hurt its fame, as demonstrated recently by the dizzying fall of Lactalis Canada in the rankings of the “Reputation” study, by Léger, who replaced the banner, which was nevertheless more established in the country. , Parmalat Canada, 2021.

To be on the top steps of the podium, a company must not only be known, but also avoid attracting opponents.

By adjusting a brand image, we “increase the number of people who don’t know enough” [une entreprise] have an opinion [à son égard]says Éric Chalifoux, senior research director and head of the 25and edition of “Reputation”. It is certain that it affects awareness in general, and it is the pool of awareness that means we have a greater or lesser number of good opinions.”

Martin Laliberté, certified graphic designer and partner of the Montreal company byHaus, points out that the effect of an identity revitalization on a banner’s prominence varies according to the depth of the transformation achieved.

“In some cases, when a radical change is needed, it is precisely because we want to break free from certain aspects of our reputation that have become embarrassing or obsolete over time,” he stresses.

A justified transformation

One of the pillars of a successful evolution is the reason why a company decides to start this process.

“In short, identity revitalization is necessary when an organization is undergoing a revolution (regardless of its nature and origin) and wants to turn this revolution into a favorable opportunity”, summarizes Martin Laliberté.

For example, the popular view that a brand image needs to be revised every 7 to 10 years would be incorrect, according to the surveyed experts, if it was not justified by a change in the business sector, the conquest of a new market, a merger or changes in the business environment. especially in the social context.

“If consumers are used to it, recognizing it, appreciating it, we can get negative feedback, especially on social networks,” notes Julie Royer, a graphic design lecturer at Laval University. Change for the sake of change should be avoided. †

A meticulous implementation

Anyone who also teaches Cégep Marie-Victorin notices that the mechanism often gets stuck when using a new visual identity. “You have to explain why, not everything changes overnight. […] I’ve seen many companies that first changed the logo on their site or their networks and then fell victim to the frenzy of people all over the internet.”

To avoid such a tidal wave, she recommends preparing the ground and announcing the change through her channels of communication with her customers or the more traditional ones, such as television advertising. The means used depend on the context and the target group.

In these exchanges, the organization can explain the reason and approach behind this transition, making it more understandable.

“Overnight customers don’t receive a newsletter from a company they don’t know, or are confronted with a website where everything has changed,” she explains.

A company can even involve its employees or its consumers in the revitalization of its visual identity, enabling both this impending metamorphosis and obtaining “qualitative data”, says Martin Laliberté.

“That said, updating your brand means grieving for what it was. Keep in mind that people are naturally resistant to change and it can get emotional in some situations. †

Christian Bourque, executive vice president at Léger, agrees. “With everything you see in an ordinary day, you are exposed to hundreds of brands. I think consumers take the change badly anyway, they have to get used to it again. †

Such a transition could take anywhere from three to five years, he estimates, depending on the size and reputation of the company. “La Capitale and SSQ Assurances have associated their name with Beneva for two years now. They go gradually. […] Taking the time may be the only guarantee of success, but it is expensive. However, the risks of market losses are very real.

Julie Royer and Martin Laliberté both recommend that they be guided by specialists. “It’s not easy to do it alone. Then companies, caught up in their habits, do not always have the necessary distance”, warns the byHaus partner.


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