I made a mistake last week, but I’m gonna share it because I think it gives good insight into the dynamics of branding.

An older client came to us with a very old website that badly needed updating. They reluctantly admitted that their entire brand needed work. Their sales team had tired brochures and the only “branding” they had was a black logo that didn’t look like it belonged in their industry. They gave a blank cheque for a total rebrand.

I was excited about the project and immediately saw how far we could take the company, how much value we could add and how quickly we could scare the pants off some of their competitors! With new, kick-ass visuals backed by their 20+ years of experience, they would be unstoppable!

We put together a powerful mood board that was very current and showcased the dramatic change. I couldn’t wait to show it to them.

As I walked through the reveal, I could see immediately that I had made a mistake. They looked scared, and they were confused about why their logo had changed. Suddenly the scope of the project, that they had seemed so eager for was settling around them. I had mistaken their urgency for enthusiasm for change.

Immediately I shifted course. We took steps to phase the project in more slowly, and we pulled the colour back a little bit and took a more traditional approach to some packaging.

This client is now happy again, but this was a powerful reminder for me.

We design to:
°Balance you against your competitors
°Appeal to your target client base
°Communicate your price point
°Be unique and memorable
°To suit YOU and your tastes

Many times we need to pull powerful brands back to fit the comfort level of the client. Change is hard for some people, and too much too fast isn’t respectful.

This reminded me to ask clients how much change they are ready for. How far they want to stand out, how fast they want to grow. Branding isn’t just about dumping a cool design on someone. It includes coaching and guiding companies as they evolve, managing expectations and being patient as they integrate change.