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Marketing Your Products
How to tell it¡¯s time to update your brand identity
June, 2008

By Winnie Anderson

A new season signals certain styles are in and others are out so we change our appearance. Many songbirds molt and change color with the seasons. Mickey Mouse ¨C that icon from our childhood ¨C looks different now than he did when he first appeared on the scene in 1928. You may be missing the signals that it¡¯s time for your business to update its look.

Here are 3 circumstances that indicate it¡¯s time for you to update your identity.

You¡¯re part of a merger. Without going into the many issues around mergers, if you have a new company you have a new identity whether you want to admit it or not. One company doesn¡¯t swallow another and the other company disappears. The concept of a merger is that you blend together the two organizations (easier said than done of course but that¡¯s another issue). Therefore just slapping the buyer¡¯s logo on the bought company¡¯s stuff doesn¡¯t cut it. That action is just a very visible reminder to the employees of the bought company that their company has been taken over.

There¡¯s no way to tell you apart from your competition. If your offering has become a commodity and data tells you your customers are having a difficult time seeing what makes Brand A different from Brand B, it¡¯s time to help them out by visually differentiating yourself better. If you¡¯ve ever stood in the grocery store unable to choose between two brands of rice you can relate to the feeling your customer may be facing. We¡¯re very visual creatures and we make a lot of value judgments based on the visual images we see. Rationally you know that a torn label doesn¡¯t mean there¡¯s anything wrong with the product inside but you still reach for the can with the intact label every time, don¡¯t you?

The customers you attract aren¡¯t the customers you want to serve. If your sales staff is well trained and you¡¯re confident they¡¯re doing good work, but the bulk of your customers are complainers who drain your organization, perhaps you¡¯re attracting the wrong customers. Most consumers, and even businesses, are price sensitive to a degree, but if price is the prime motivator of your customers you are headed into a dangerous place. Your existing identity may be working against you by attracting people who are price driven rather than those who are value driven.

Your brand¡¯s visual identity must work effectively with your verbal messaging to clearly communicate your position in the market and attract the customers who most want to do business with you and who will be happiest with what you provide.

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