3 signs your branding might be outdated

Your brand not only represents your business’s identity and purpose — it also has intrinsic value. Brands like Apple, Amazon, and Google have values in the hundreds of billions of dollars, based in part on how widely recognizable and respected they are. 

While your company may never reach that level, there’s an important lesson for all brands in those statistics: You can’t ignore how your brand is performing. 

Consider the case of a customer choosing between three different companies. The companies appear to offer similar services at a comparable price point. The customer will likely make their final choice based on how they perceive those companies’ brands. 

Even if pricing is slightly different, they may still choose to pay more for the brand that most inspires their confidence. 

Clearly, your brand is an asset. And like most business assets, your brand will need maintenance to stay in tip-top shape. That maintenance might be a simple paint job, or it could involve deeper, structural changes. But before you dive in, how can you tell if your brand is outdated to begin with?

A brand is a complex business asset with many parts. You can quickly analyze your brand’s relevance by focusing on these three areas: design, services, and purpose. Here’s how to evaluate whether your brand might be outdated, based on those categories.

1. Your brand’s design elements belong in a different era

Your brand’s design elements should keep up with the times and represent your brand effectively. These elements include your logo, website, printed materials, advertising, and other brand assets. 

How can design impact how people perceive your company? Imagine if Apple had kept its original logo from 1976, pictured below. 

Apple’s 1976 logo 

Most people wouldn’t recognize this branding. It doesn’t represent the sleek and polished products Apple provides its customers today. Fortunately, this logo didn’t last long — the company changed it the very next year to an early iteration of the minimalist logo we recognize today. 

If you analyze many major brands like Microsoft and IBM, you’ll see how their brand design has evolved over time to fit each era. When thinking about your design, ask yourself if it has modern appeal, clearly communicates your values, and helps people understand what you do. 

2. Your brand doesn’t communicate your current offering

Another sign of an outdated brand is that it doesn’t clearly communicate what your company currently does. This can become an issue as your company and its services evolve over time. 

A good example of this is IBM. Early on, IBM manufactured typewriters. Later, it manufactured a large variety of computing devices, including personal computers. Today, its hardware manufacturing is limited to large-scale computing hardware, but it’s mostly a consulting and technology service provider. 

IBM’s 1924 logo

Imagine if IBM had never adjusted its branding over the years and still used its 1924 logo and brand messaging. Keep in mind that at that time, people were still using keypunch machines. It’s clear that IBM’s early branding would be inconsistent with its current products and services and might even be confusing for its customers. 

Ask yourself if your brand is showcasing products and services that you no longer offer. 

3. Your brand doesn’t reflect your purpose

A third sign that your branding is outdated is that it no longer represents your current purpose and mission. When you first started, your branding was likely simple and generic, but as you’ve grown, your purpose has probably changed. 

Successful companies ensure their brand is aligned with their purpose and values. One example of this is Crayola. Its purpose is “to help parents and educators raise creatively-alive kids.” 

Crayola’s products, branding, and mission are all directed at helping children express their creativity. And when most people think about Crayola, they think of their first drawings of not-quite-recognizable animals in imaginative colors — creativity at its finest. 

If you want to emulate Crayola’s dedication to its mission, ask yourself if your brand messaging ties back to your current mission. 

Keep your brand fresh year after year

Your brand is a valuable business asset that needs regular upkeep. Keeping your brand fresh requires input from both your team and your customers. This feedback is essential to making decisions that increase the appeal of your brand and showcase what’s different about it.

Use Jotform to easily collect and analyze feedback on your brand. Jotform operates in the cloud and allows you to design intuitive forms that users can access from anywhere. To power your rebranding efforts, try Jotform for free today

This article is originally published on Jan 03, 2022, and updated on Jan 31, 2022.

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