Edition 08: Brand evolutions – the good and the bad

August edit

As we’ve seen in most recent years, the world is continually changing, and that means consumers are too. So, brands need to evolve effectively to remain relevant and ultimately, survive.

This month, we discussed brands with well-executed evolutions. Here are some we were impressed by (and some not so much) …

The Master of Milky Chocolate

Ah, a brand we all know and love – the master of milky chocolate, Cadbury. Since 1905, chocolate-lovers across the world have been treated to the ever-popular confectionery bar, Cadbury’s Dairy Milk. So, we wondered how the brand has stayed so relevant and popular with its consumers in a competitive marketplace for over a century…

We looked into its logo evolution and packaging from 1905 until the present day, noticing that the colour purple has remained at the heart. This has stayed consistent ever since its launch, creating trust and loyalty with its consumers.

Maintaining brand recognition through its iconic purple has enabled Cadbury to evolve in other ways. The brand has recently developed a flexible design system for adding different elements like icons and stamped typography to packaging, to differentiate the vast product range including Fruit & Nut, Wholenut, Crunchie, Oreo and many more.

We love the combination of preserving core brand elements while also adding new ones to evolve over time.  

Then we got a bit distracted by a Gorilla playing the drums, but we’ll save that for another time.

Switching to an Eco-Conscious Narrative

After Volkswagen admitted to cheating emissions tests in September 2015, it committed to creating a ‘new’ brand with an eco-conscious narrative at its core. To change the perspective of who it is, the brand switched to a 2D logo with minimal design elements, whilst keeping in touch with the circular design that has represented the brand since 1937.

The logo stands for the Volkswagen values such as quality, attention to detail, value and durability. In the digital world, the 3D logo that Volkswagen had previously adopted wasn’t practical, but “the new two-dimensional logo has been reduced to its essential elements. It is flat and open, offers high contrast and can be used with outstanding flexibility in digital media”, says Jochen Sengpiehl, Chief Marketing Officer at Volkswagen. You can see how the new ‘flat’ and ‘open’ logo marks their fresh start as a more eco conscious brand. It’s clean, it’s simple, it’s made for the modern world. No more looking back or overcomplicating.

This is a perfect example of how a brand can bounce back from such a scandal, implementing a rebrand and redesign to portray itself differently to its audience without losing its recognisable look.

The Famous Plastic Brick Company

Lewis brought a stellar brand evolution to the meeting this month – and that brand is the one and only plastic brick company, LEGO. After years of experimentation LEGO’s logo evolution in the 1970s really captured the brand, and it’s clearly standing the test of time. Initially starting out as a wooden toy company in the 1930s, it’s understandable why the logo underwent some significant evolutions over the decades. But the change in the 70s was when LEGO really nailed it.

The logo’s square red background clearly reflects its famous square blocks. The bubble-shaped typeface is playful and fun, like the brand itself. And the bright red, yellow and white colours (refined in the 90s) are bold to grab the attention of children and adults alike, maintaining iconic recognition across the globe and great shelf appeal.

The brand as a whole has continued to evolve to keep in touch with its intergenerational audiences. As children’s magazines became outdated, LEGO moved swiftly into newer digital trends, like in 2014 when it released the hugely successful, ‘The LEGO Movie.’ Sales dramatically increased after its release as the whole world reignited its love and nostalgia for the product. LEGO video games are also increasingly popular with audiences, alongside LEGO’s YouTube channel that features the 90-second LEGO challenge, collaborating with celebrities all the while promoting products.

The Case of a Missing Orange

One not-so-good brand evolution we discussed this month was the disastrous rebrand by Tropicana in 2009, one that was reversed as quickly as you could juice an orange. The 2009 packaging redesign led to a 20% drop in sales because customers couldn’t find the newly-branded product on the shelves.

Wanting to be different, Tropicana removed the classic orange fruit from its cartons, and it’s fair to say this move was a big mistake. Conducting little to no market research, Tropicana thought its audience wanted modern and sleek, but really, they just wanted fresh orange juice from a brand they can trust.

We could all agree that this long-running, natural TV channel might not have captured its true values within this rebrand. Its new mission of being “squarely centred around keeping the childhood joy and wonder of animals alive by bringing people up close in every way” doesn’t quite correlate with its new visual identity.

Animal Planet’s latest logo features an elevated blue elephant. And we know what you’re thinking. No, elephants don’t leap. The brand claimed it wanted to create a “strong, distinctive and joyful mark”, but what they’ve ended up with just feels a bit cold. The decision to take the brand away from a rich, natural green and towards a rather corporate blue really lost us – it feels more like a tech company than the treasured home of animal kingdom content.

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