You are here

Brand Excavation Before Brand Demolition

Tuesday, March 8, 2011 - 12:10

When an organization or initiative is born, one has to look at the competitive landscape and attempt to define a new brand. This is exciting, challenging, and often much easier than attempting to renovate an old brand. New brands are new construction, and they are free from the burden of legacy.

With existing companies, you are looking at a more delicate process. Perhaps some thought was given to their logo many years ago when they were starting up. For many small businesses, it is an afterthought as they focus on other priorities. Leaving the company’s image in the hands of their niece/nephew or the most inexpensive design service they can find.

I would say that these businesses are built up around, above, and in spite of their poor branding. Over time it becomes a liability. This is where it gets complicated. On one had, their image is holding them back.  On the other hand, it is their only source of visual equity, and they may have even grown attached to it.

Thus beings the process I like to call brand excavation. 

The number one rule in an excavation is to dig up earnest support from the client. It is an exercise in self-reflection after all. They must be willing to see themselves as others see them, and have the wisdom to know if that vision is obstructing their growth.  If this is not possible, the process will collapse.

The number two rule of any excavation is to start evaluating the brand with a duster, not a bulldozer. In other words, don’t approach the process from the standpoint of wholesale change until you’ve identified that there is nothing worth salvaging. More often than not, a little digging will yield equities that are still recognizable and relevant.

If you feel like your brand is entombed, make sure your design partner can show you samples of both revolutionary and evolutionary rebranding campaigns. If all you see is the former then find someone else.  Every client is unique, and a one-demolition-fits-all approach fails to recognize that. The excavation process is cautious. The goal is to uncover and elevate your brand.

John Gavula
Contributed By John Gavula

John is the creative director of Gavula Design. He has provided design and illustrator services for many of New York and the region's biggest brand consultancies. Leveraging this experience, and his multidisciplinary background he now works closely with Gavula Design’s clients as a trusted branding partner and steward.