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Rebranding: building on to our identity, not re-establishing it

November 23, 2009

Derek McIver, Public Relations

In “Principles of corporate rebranding,” (European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 42, No. 5/6, 2008, pp. 537-552), authors Bill Merrilees and Dale Miller of Griffith University in Gold Coast, Australia, continually refer to the need for a revised brand to “meet core brand values yet [become] relevant to contemporary needs.” Rebranding, then, isn’t a total transformation. If it were, the process would start with a clean slate. For so many years, Paige and George, all of us, and all of our predecessors have worked hard to build a company our clients and partners can trust. And by all accounts, they do. So to ignore that idea would be suicidal. For us, something that has been consistent throughout Ictus’ growth and the establishment of that brand is the orange pyramid logo – no doubt a symbol that our stakeholders recognize and trust. Therefore, we cannot throw it out altogether; we need to build on that idea, which is why Naomi (and everyone) is keeping its essence in the front of her mind when redesigning it. But, while the new logo needs to relate that idea, it needs to become, as the authors say, more relevant to contemporary needs.

As a marketing and PR consultancy, we are constantly responding to the events going on around us. Whether we’re exploring stories’ various angles, or deciding between blasting information to journalists’ emails or through posting it on YouTube, and even settling on which font is most appropriate for a client’s webpage, we are looking at everything in three dimensions. Our current logo, however, is flat. Apart from a discreet gradient, it has little movement. Certainly, our clients’ contemporary needs would, in a way, be ignored if we continued to use it. More importantly, potential new clients might not be sold on the breadth and quality of our services based on our current logo alone. So, in Naomi’s new designs, that “3-D” idea is being expressed. If we look at the world in multi-dimensional terms, why shouldn’t our logo reflect that?

Another bit that hasn’t gotten a lot of play on this blog (and, regretfully, in the office discussions either) is the question of our tagline. Right now, there’s even a question about what our tagline actually is: both “Publicizing Authors, Speakers, and Business Executives” and “On the Air, On the Web, and On the Street” appear on most of our promotional materials, but there isn’t a strong consensus on which to call our official tagline. That, in itself, is a problem, but what’s more significant is that neither of those lines adequately express the full range of services we offer, nor the mood of our highly creative company.

The first identifies three types of people we serve, but what about the others? For example, athletes are becoming a core part of our clientele, but why aren’t they addressed? And the second line, “On the Air, On the Web, and On the Street” is OK, but doesn’t it really emphasize only the PR work we do? It ignores some of our most fundamental functions like all of the important content development stuff we do. One of the taglines I’ve proposed is “You know it, we show it.” That, to me, will appeal to any expert (which, broadly defined, is what every single one of our clients is) who wants their message to be heard.

So, I’m convinced that Merrilees and Miller would be satisfied with our work so far. Corporate rebranding, defined by them, is “the disjunction or change between an initially formulated corporate brand and a new formulation.” Our process has expressed that because we’re building on ideas that have always been a part of this company. We are just re-formulating the brand that was already developed through the years of hard work that came before now.


Image credit: “Mad About Shanghai” blog

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