Scottish Design Awards judges Mary Lewis and Steven Anderson discuss the subtleties of a successful rebrand

Rebranding is never an easy process, creating a new look and feel for an established brand can be both rewarding and also challenging.

Rebranding efforts often include a new logo, packaging and updated marketing materials and, in some instances, can even include a new name. But the superficial is the easy part of a rebrand, according to this year’s Scottish Design Awards judges who took some time to explain why rebranding isn’t as easy as it sometimes looks.

Mary Lewis, creative director and founding partner of Lewis Moberly, explains that effective brand positioning “requires the identification and communication of uniqueness and difference in a competitive content.”

“It’s a battle for the consumer mind,” she adds.

Often prompted by changes in the marketplace Lewis’ top tip for anyone considering a rebranding and repositioning exercise is that “it should involve insight and foresight” as “too often it is an academic wrangle over word change in a classic brand positioning template.”

Soft-drinks brand Vimto is one of the most recent brands to undergo a brand repositioning, with the help of Springetts Brand Design. Established in 1908 Vimto has a strong consumer base but sought to drive trial and frequency of purchase with the new look, based on its brand ethos of ‘Seriously mixed up fun’.

Having a strong brand ethos or “organising thought” is something Smith & Milton creative director Steven Anderson believes is key to a successful rebrand.

“It’s never recommended to try and invent something,” he said. “You need to be true to who you are as a brand and dig deep into what makes you unique. Whenever we undertake a rebrand the first question we ask is ‘what do you do?’ it sounds really simple but a lot of companies don’t really know as they have so many different products or services.

“Then we address the ‘why do you do it?’ and ‘how does your brand differ from everyone else’s?’ questions. It’s all quite deep and there’s always disagreements but from there you can build a solid brand positioning statement or line or whatever you want that summarises all those things you do in one thing that you can then take to the market.”

According to Anderson the reason certain rebranding and repositioning’s fail is because too many brands don’t “think about where they want to go in the future, but rather spend too much time thinking about colours, pictures and logos.” He adds: “A proper rebrand, when you think about the ones that have done it successfully, only happens every 10, 15 or 20 years. The ones just looking for pretty graphics are the ones who have to redo it over and over again, you need to invest both time and money.”

When it does come to the design part of the process Lewis told The Drum, “To be effective means a creative leap – a compelling and credible change, appealing to the emotions and to experience-hungry consumers.

“Design for your most demanding audience – the rest will follow.”

The Scottish Design Awards, sponsored by VisitScotland, e-architect, Urban Realm and Service Graphics, take place on Thursday 5 June at Glasgow's Raddison Blu Hotel, more information, finalists and how to book tickets can be found on the Scottish Design Awards site.

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