Updating Your Branding Strategy When You Pivot In The Pandemic
Rebranding is not a new concept. During expansion, downsizing, or new avenues, rebranding is as important to a business as any marketing campaign can ever be. So, every business owner should know how to update the branding strategy when required.
Branding, in itself, has become more and more essential in the current industrial world. It helps customers connect with a business and forms bonds that go way beyond the otherwise transactional nature of their relationship.
Rebranding is a way to communicate the change in values, service offerings, and more by the business to the customer in a streamlined manner.
Most rebrands are by choice. Unless a global pandemic disrupts the world and forces you to rethink everything your brand has been doing to date. But, while it may not be by choice, a rebrand during the pandemic becomes absolutely essential for your business.
Many brands (established and upcoming) faced a series of shocking and complicated decisions when the pandemic changed consumer habits. For many, it means either a temporary change or a major pivot to keep them afloat.
While most brands convey their temporary changes/updates in operation with marketing campaigns, pivots need something more. Pivots can only be successful with an update in branding design, messaging, and service operations.
We know you will ace the operations, so here is a blog by Kimp on how you can handle rebranding design and messaging when you pivot in the pandemic.
Before we get into the working and principles of the branding strategy update in the event of a pivot, let us take a look at pivot trends during the pandemic.
- Business Pivot trends in the Pandemic
- Updating your Branding Pivot during the Pandemic: A checklist
- Rebranding lessons from brands that pivoted in the Pandemic
- How to update your Branding in the Pandemic
- Rebrand your Pivot in the Pandemic with Kimp
Business Pivot trends in the Pandemic
Brands pivot all the time for financial, market situation, personal, and several other reasons. Your research, strategy, and modus operandi there will stem from other external factors beyond the customer sentiment.
But when you pivot in the pandemic, customer sentiment and market trends have to be the sole beacon you base your decisions on. Business in the pandemic era is bleak as it is, so you cannot afford any misstep that does not align with the customer sentiment in this period.
Changing customer sentiment
So what were the major trends in shifting consumer sentiment during the pandemic?
According to a report by Think With Google, the earliest search trends in the pandemic show us the worry of stock outages and the hurry to locate the nearest online/offline retailer for essential commodities. “In Stock” and “Who has” based searches went up by 8000% year on year in the USA alone. In the UK and France, online shopping took over and people began searching to understand storage and delivery options. So “frozen food” and “delivery searches” saw an upward trend.
While these trends represent day-to-day necessities, people began planning to secure their future too earnestly. Searches for online learning, inspiration, practical solutions, and comfort products went up 400% worldwide.
Fitness, in fact, saw the biggest spike in apps, with over 200% growth year on year.
Products that were not traditional online shopping products too saw traction on the internet.
These trends are staggering, and most of them are here to stay even if most parts of the world are adapting to the new normal as we speak.
Updated Business pivot trends in the pandemic
We saw what the customers looked for in the pandemic, and most of these trends are valid today too.
So what is it that brands need to do if they want to match that expectation?
Well, some of the popular brand pivots in the pandemic have been :
- Restaurant pivots into cloud kitchen models, caterers, planned meal offerings, takeaway counters, and more
- Small Mom and Pop Stores going online to cater to the local community within the COVID-19 guidelines
- Local farmers working with Supermarkets or online retailers to reach customers more efficiently.
- Businesses repackaging their offerings to a different and growing target audience than their traditional products
- Brands incorporating sustainability in their manufacturing and services in the light of the new threat to the planet.
All these updates sound great, and you may even arrive at the right pivot for your brand in the pandemic, but the execution is a whole other ball game.
And updating your branding strategy to reflect your renewed goals is one of the major steps in executing the pivot.
We know that these sound intimidating and challenging, but you can do it. And to ensure you do it well, we move to a quick and easy-to-understand branding update checklist by Kimp.
Updating your Branding Pivot during the Pandemic: A checklist
We have discussed rebranding and logo refreshes in our blogs already, but rebranding in the time of a pandemic needs special attention. A branding pivot in the pandemic has a direct impact on how your customers perceive you and on the success of your business too.
Generally, when you rebrand your business, you must :
- Define a clear objective
- Update your branding messaging
- Revamp your visual identity
- Redesign your marketing campaigns
- Run marketing experiments to understand customer feedback
While this is all still applicable, a branding update when you pivot in the pandemic needs something more too.
As the article in Harvard Business Review puts it, a successful rebranding for a business pivot in the pandemic must :
- Work on the themes/customer requirements that directly result from the pandemic. It can be remote work, online shopping, precooked meals, online classes, virtual events, and so on. But your pivot must be pandemic-centric to attract the audience’s attention. That is the value add they are looking for.
- Extend the values/style/product/services that you are already offering to the rebranding design. Completely reinventing the wheel may work, but it may not be the ideal situation. If you can survive with only an update, then your branding must too serve as an extension of your earlier identity than a complete revamp.
- Offer a practical, achievable, and sustainable business model in the long run. Following trends when they are unprofitable, short-lived, or devoid of any expansion scope will not help your brand in any way. When you adapt, plan for the future.
Rebranding lessons from brands that pivoted in the Pandemic
Updating your branding during the pivot in the pandemic can be tough and subjective. But to put things in perspective before we outline the process for you here is a quick look at some popular brand pivots in the pandemic.
Remember when we said that when you pivot in the pandemic, your rebranding must be an extension of who you are currently in the market. Well, Curative had a great opportunity to do that. Being a new brand with a start date in Jan 2020, the pandemic hit when the brand was still finding its feet.
Originally, a business working to improve the health outcome of patients who had sepsis, the company had to pivot quite soon in March 2020 itself. Since the COVID-19 testing became a major requirement, the brand pivoted to it instantly and grew by 1000 times in a year.
“We ended up having to build whole mock-lab setups where we would do training and bring through cohorts of 50 at a time and train them for a week,” says Fred Turner, Curative’s chief executive officer.
While they worked in the same industry, the target audience was wildly different this time around and the brand decided to opt for a rebrand.
So from a generic brand-mark logo with a company name, the brand went for a symbolic hope and arrow-based logo on an orange background. Orange was definitely the color of the year in 2020, and this made Curative an easy-to-remember and relevant brand during their pivot in the pandemic.
Kimp Tip: Even if it is the smallest pivot like Curative did, a rebrand can help immensely. If you want to become a household name in the pandemic, then opt for fresher, cleaner, and more trendy visual identities over generic ones.
Connect with the Kimp Graphics team today to understand what refresh your brand identity needs.
2. General Motors
Compared to Curative, General Motors is a much bigger brand. So a brand pivot and the subsequent branding design update will have a lot more eyeballs and expectations.
Thankfully, the General Motors brand update and the logo design change worked brilliantly. As the COVID-19 pandemic became a reality, the concerns about health and sustainability grew immensely. Customers too began consciously on who they patronize and chose brands that stood for values and causes above those that did not.
The General Motors update ticks all these boxes. As the company slowly shifted to the electric car world, this brand update was long overdue. Their new logo is an homage to the growing need for electric cars while the negative space around the letter “M” is symbolic of the electric plug.
Symbolic logo refreshes help establish the rebrand successfully as this branding update just confirmed.
Kimp Tip: Rebranding or pivoting a popular brand can be challenging. But not impossible, if you create a visual identity that represents the brand’s existing identity without changing a lot for the target audience. It is a fine case of balance, and you need a skilled team to do this.
Sign up for the Kimp Graphics subscription today to get expert advice from our team on your rebranding requirements.
Another popular brand opting for a branding pivot in the pandemic was GoDaddy. Online businesses became a norm in the pandemic, and many small businesses turned to online hosting services. But the GoDaddy branding identity was extremely outdated and needed a revamp for brands to be happy to associate themselves with it.
And the team at GoDaddy did not disappoint. From an outdated Orange haired man and the obsession with the word “Daddy”, they moved to a sleeker, minimalist, and inclusive branding identity.
The brand chose custom illustrations to represent their customers on their website. The success of this rebrand has to be about the inclusion of human-centric visuals to make it easy for brands to relate to the messaging.
The color blue chosen by the brand too represents loyalty, trust, and professionalism above all.
Kimp Tip: Usage of custom illustrations wherein customers can see and feel them being represented is a major win for any rebranding effort. And that is why we recommend using custom images or illustrations to convey your branding message over stock images.
Kimp Graphics’ offers unlimited graphic design services including but not limited to custom illustration, custom graphic design, and more for you to achieve the ideal branding identity.
Connect with the team today.
How to update your Branding in the Pandemic
We have covered a checklist, major pivot trends, and some major brands that pivoted during the pandemic. And now, it is time to understand the process of updating your branding designs to match your messaging.
1. Logo refresh
Your logo is the face of your brand. In the digital marketing world, it is so much more. It is how your customers interact with your social media profiles, recognize your ads, and spot you in a lineup. So refreshing your logo is very important before you go live with the branding pivot in the pandemic.
Work on symbolic and meaningful logos to convey your new interests, identity, and messaging to your audience.
2. Brand Color refresh
While color is a major part of your brand identity, we do not recommend updating it unless it is absolutely necessary. If needed, update the brand colors to something pandemic-centric, and that connects with the reason you are pivoting. McDonald’s’ update with the green background and General Motors blue color comes to mind.
3. Brand Imagery refresh
Inclusive, diverse, and human-centric visuals are popular as we already know. Customers also understand the services and products you offer based on your brand imagery. So if you are updating your products, service model, and services then your brand imagery needs an update too.
If you have stock images in your branding design, it is time for an upgrade as well. It is the era of custom graphic designs and illustrations, so don’t be behind in this race.
4. Updating Brand style guidelines
Last but not least, it is absolutely essential to update your brand style guidelines. In the event of a branding update, consistency is of paramount importance. And expecting slips not to happen from your team is wishful thinking. What you need is an updated brand style guideline that people can refer to at any point in time and project a cohesive brand identity in all places.
Rebrand your Pivot in the Pandemic with Kimp
Planning and executing a pivot in the pandemic have to be the hardest times for any business. The economic uncertainty, the consumer challenges, and the changing competitive landscape can stress anyone out.
In such a case, why take on the additional responsibility of rebranding the designs as well?
To make the deal even sweeter, Kimp offers unlimited graphic design services and video design services across a hundred categories with no revision limit.
So why wait?
Sign up for the free trial now and get started instantly.