The art of standing out from the crowd

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images
The corporate brand makeover is an important part of every marketer and brand expert’s arsenal. But what makes a company splurge on a new name, logo or website? Brent Melville finds out what’s in a name.

In 2018, Dunedin engineering firm Farra Engineering decided it needed to move away from its "150 years of engineering excellence" adage, tapping into the industry need for innovation and technology.

The company wanted to be recognised as a leader in the sector and it knew its brand needed to reflect that.

After a review of the business, Dunedin design agency Firebrand updated its colours, brand presentation collateral and media channels to tell a new story — one that recognises and celebrates the company’s feats of engineering.

The impact has been immediate, according to managing director Gareth Evans.

"It’s hard to link to specific contracts or outcomes, but it has made us stand out for potential employees, and sends right messages to our external stakeholders and customers."

He said the "look and feel" would have also had a role to play in helping the company land funding from the provincial growth fund.

"Complete redesigns, overhauls or even naming is not for the faint hearted," says Firebrand founder Rebecca (Bex) Twemlow.

"It takes courage and a sound strategy for doing so, and often this is partnered with diversifying a product mix, moving into a new market or merging with other brands."

BrandAid founder Luke Johnston, who has worked with a cross section of Otago businesses , said it ultimately came down to the fact that the current brand does not authentically reflect a culture and purpose or differentiate a company from its competition.

"People think of a brand as a logo, some colours and fonts. In fact a brand exists in your customers’ minds and is built up from every incremental experience they have had that relates to the organisation," he said.

"It provides the opportunity for business founders or management to do some soul searching at a much deeper level, and really think about what the organisation stands for and stands against."

In terms of costs, he said these could vary hugely, as it came down to how much an organisation had to spend on a project.

It also depends on the scope, he says.

For example, the recent rebrand of Dunedin investment firm Forsyth Barr had cost the company several million dollars, managing director Neil Paviour-Smith said.

A new streamlined brand was part of a wider digital overhaul of the business, aimed at gearing it for a future where its clients wanted to have real time portfolio information.

On a small start-up level, Bay Road Peanut Butter’s rebrand and designed reusable jars solved the problem of waste and opened doors for more retailers, Mr Johnston said.

University of Otago Business School teaching fellow and marketing consultant Jude Chelliah said where a brand refresh may only include tweaks to a logo, the design lens was an important aspect.

"I worked on the Qantas brand, which has a lot of legacy, so the challenge for them was not to lose their pedigree, but more to align their brand with their strategy and values."

HelloWorld also represented a good example of creating a new brand, taking four travel brands and developing a new, values based inclusive brand.

"It’s not a simple proposition. There can be a lot of influencers, designers, advertising and consultants — but the most valuable inputs need to come from the staff and people in the business and whatever you come up with, needs to reflect that," she said.

Walsh & Beck Creative director Paula Hellyer said companies needed to think about their plan first and foremost before embarking on any kind of rebrand.

"Core to that is marketing research, as we find that the way a company perceives itself can be very different to how the market perceives it. It may be that a brand ‘refresh’ is more appropriate rather than a complete overhaul."

She said the overall cost implications also needed to be fully scoped out.

"There are costs associated with printing new stationery, signage, cars, collateral and launch costs.

"This can outweigh the cost of developing the new brand itself. "


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