Of Brands and The Seven-Year Itch
February 1, 2019
The seven-year itch is a psychological term that suggests that happiness in a relationship declines after around year seven of a marriage. Marilyn Monroe also made the term famous in a delightful romantic comedy 60+ years ago with the same title.
Among our clients, we see a similar psychological reaction to their brands after they live with them for a period of time. Some, sadly, within a year—which amounts to seven in dog years—but I digress.
If you or your people are experiencing the urge to scratch the itch or otherwise change, the first step is to distinguish between strategic or other reasons.
In a recent Forbes article, we shared the three reasons why organizations rebrand:
- Your company and/or its markets have changed and the current brand does not reflect who the company is or aims to become.
- There is a merger. In fact, this is the most common reason.
- The company’s suit of clothes is out of date, unbecoming or otherwise out of step with the times.
Reason one or two are clearly strategic. Reason three can be strategic but it depends on the situation. Often, a rebrand is not the answer but a refresh of the way you take your message to the market is more advisable. Think of Nike or the Ritz Carlton or McKinsey or Jack Daniels (our client of 25 or so years). They do new campaigns with new content through new channels regularly; yet the brand position, promise, and strategy, at its core, remains the same.
What are the alternatives to keeping the brand fresh, vital and the apple of your eye?
- A thoroughly modern new website and digital experience.
- A new marquee thought leadership initiative around which an integrated campaign can be built.
- New advertising approaches in new media, including social.
- Videos that actually get watched and remembered.
- Collateral and pitch-ware that does not bore people.
- And the list goes on.
The point is that sometimes you don’t need a new brand. You just need a creative new way to tell or extend the same story. This is not to say we don’t like a good rebrand—that’s one of the businesses we’re IN. We redid our brand own recently as we moved from a PR-centric firm based in the US to an integrated marketing partner working here, there and everywhere.
For us, it wasn’t an itch, it was a strategic imperative. And we are living happily ever after with the new.