THOUGHTS

Brand Modernization – How to Do It Right & How To Keep Your Brand Relevant

Brand Modernization - How to Do It Right & How To Keep Your Brand Relevant

Keeping your Brand Relevant Matters!

In the current day and age of globalization where brands are facing increased competition from more and more international brands consumers are overwhelmed with choice. With consumers constantly exposed to ‘newer’ and ‘better’ and with increased competitive pressure it becomes more and more important to be able to keep your brand relevant, or risk dying a certain death. Packaging design changes are one way to go, here are a few suggested strategies.

Being Afraid of Change can make your Brand Obsolete

We know of too many huge local Asian brands that have been unable to keep up with the pace, becoming paralyzed out of fear of making the wrong changes to a cashcow that always did so well.

Having a great product alone is of course an excellent start, building a great brand around it accelerates commercial success. Having a great product wrapped in an old dated brand however could become a barrier to what matters most: creating relevance and real connections with your audience.

It is essential people are able to identify with your brand and want to remain associated with it. If people stop caring, your brand will exit their hearts and minds eventually.

What many Brand Owners Forget is that Audiences Constantly Change

In the game of staying relevant it is important to create relevance and value for those users you actually want to target.

There’s a Difference between your Current Audience and your Strategic Audience!

When it comes to the term target audience however, it is important to understand the difference between your current audience and your strategic audience.
Your current audience are those that are buying and using your brand right now. They are your loyal followers and it probably won’t take much effort to keep them happy and engaged.
Your strategic audience however are those users you actually want to target.

When your current audience and strategic audience are out of sync; Guess What? You have a Dated Brand!

Is your strategic audience and your current audience the same? Great! Nothing to worry about, you can stop reading this article. If the current audience however is much older than your strategic audience your brand might soon be overtaken by a new much cooler, hipper brand that courted your future audience away from you and filled the void you left behind.

If your brand hasn’t been updated for a while, chances are that both audiences are not really in sync with each other anymore and as a result your marketing activities have perhaps also shifted to focus more on keeping your current audience, rather than looking for ways to constantly bring in new (strategic) audiences.

Brands that don’t Constantly Evolve might not Survive!

Just like in human evolution the strongest brands will survive. The process of natural selection applies and the strongest brands are those that were able to stay ahead of their competitors.

Competitive Forces decide the Pace of Your Market.

If you’re in a market with low competitive forces where no real alternatives exist to your brand, you might still be OK as your brand adds most value allowing you to get away with not having to do much for a while. In a quickly globalizing world however, these markets are becoming more and more rare. To avoid risk, it’s best to compare your own brand with the best international brands that compete in the same category to ensure you can keep up. If you don’t and these brands would enter your market, ask yourself; How long would you survive?

So, what is the right way to change?

Simple. Ensure that in comparison to your competition you are always able to add superior value through your products to your strategic audience. That means you must keep track of how their needs change and how your audience evolves. Keep your finger on the pulse and understand what makes them tick. Know what they like, enjoy and aspire to. In addition ensure your brand expresses the value you deliver in a way it connects with your audience.

Of course you can evolve through New Product Development and Innovation. Especially in fast moving categories this is often the most important way of staying relevant.

If your product doesn’t change that much however and if you don’t have much new news to share, packaging design is an ideal way of changing your look, while consumers can rest assured the product still is the same old favorite!

A Few Packaging Design Strategies to help keep your Brand Fresh!

When the inside stays the same, the clothes can help you stay in fashion! The same goes for packaging design. Here are a few packaging strategies that can be used to keep a brand fresh, modern and in sync with trends and their strategic audiences:

Small Evolutionary Changes; Heineken is a good example of a brand where you hardly notice the changes it has taken over the years, but when you look at all their labels from year to year and put them next to each other, it shows how small evolutionary changes have helped Heineken be the best choice and most relevant beer brand for my dad in the ’80’s while today I still think it’s a cool and modern brand. And guess what? My dad doesn’t mind the changes – it makes him feel younger!
Reposition; If a small subtle chance is not enough, but you don’t have much new news to support a big revolutionary change – perhaps changing your story is a way to re-invent your brand. Sunsilk is a good example of a brand that moved from friendly girl-next-door type brand to a hard core Salon Styling brand. Dove did something similar when they evolved from a product story centered around “contains a quarter of moisturizing milk” to its current lifestyle approach “real beauty”. The soap itself hasn’t changed that much of course.

Sunsilk-Co-Creations-London-Fashion-Weekend-Competition

Premiumize; in many Asian markets a favorite key word to pretty much any packaging brief you receive. As consumers get more affluent and as spending power increases, the right products have to be developed to grow along with them – Johnnie Walkers Fully Golden Bottle come to mind, but in Baby Food for example Danone has gone the other extreme replacing Dumex in many Markets with Aptamil a premium alternative.

dumex aptamil

Appeal to New Segments; to keep old consumers happy, but also to appeal to new ones – a portfolio strategy might be the best way to evolve a brand. The successful extension approach of Myanmar’s biggest spirits brand Grand Royal Whisky was an excellent example. While the current audience was very happy with the standard black label – new variants were introduced tapping into different consumer segments. More of this story can be found here.

Grand-Royal-big1

Mix it up with a change in pack shape or structure: Carlsberg did a great job of rejuvenating its brand when it moved from its old unappealing brown bottle to an ultra modern, minimalist embossed green bottle. The product stayed the same of course, but a big brand refresh brought in a new, younger consumer base!

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Think of your brand like a person, you want new clothes every now and then and a new phone to keep up with the changes around you. The same goes for any brand. Stay relevant by staying up-to-date!

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