I like to use the metaphor of a brand as a house to explain. If the house is our brand, the front door is our logo. The window panes, the curtains, the bricks or wood panelling can be the rest of our visual identity.
How often do we replace our front door? Ideally, never. We are building our new house, the one we’ll grow old in, we pick the front door just as carefully as we do our new kitchen and wood flooring. We pick one we like, one that feels like our home, and we want everyone to love it and it will stay forever. If the door we pick is sturdy and durable it will be there forever. Of course with time passing maybe it will need a new handle or a touch of paint every few years. We will replace the mat and install a new bell, but the door will be the same. A logo too might need small retouches through the years but it should stay essentially the same.
Once in a while we will need to significantly change the door or replace it fully: We get a cat! Now the door will need a cat flap installed. In branding the cat is new media, or a new direction in the business and the logo needs to adapt; We expand the house! The door needs to be moved and the old one doesn’t fit. A business expansion to new markets, or new products might also mean changes to the logo; We are moving! Well we aren’t going to take the old door with us... Different business, different brand - different logo.
What if there are no changes like the above? We just wake up one day and realise we don’t like the door. The colour is ugly, or maybe it's the shape or the materials, so we decide to get a new one anyway. This is when we need to be careful!
We get a new door to our taste, it’s modern and sleek and just beautiful... but our house might be victorian and it just doesn’t go. Or people might be confused; our regular visitors can’t find our house now. Or they were so used to going in through the old door they might say they preferred the old one better and now it just doesn’t feel like the same house at all. In branding this is called loss of equity, when people have strong feelings associated with our brand, a big change might affect those feelings. They may associate the change of our logo with a change in the quality of our products or services. Overall, people tend not to like change.
An even worse scenario: we are not quite sure about this new door, so in a few weeks we try a new one. After a couple of years we get bored of that one too. Then technology advances and all new front doors have a fancy new feature, we want one of those! Our visitors, if there’s still any, are now very confused; we have no clue about what we are doing, and if we keep doing this to our door, what does the inside of the house even look like?
If we change our logo too much we don’t create equity, we don’t create the client bond we are supposed to. People like to feel brands are reliable and secure, they want to feel connected to them and be familiar with them. Our logo is our door, the one that lets people in through the house.
Get a beautiful sturdy door that will last forever, one people will come to love and deeply associate with the comfort of your home. Take care of it, so when people see it from the driveway they’ll be happy to see it’s still there and will want to come in and say hello.