On Brand Evolution

The concept of evolution is an inbuilt one in brand building. A brand is a trust mark and a differentiator. And for this very reason, it cannot remain constant. When one talks of brand essence, it cannot be discussed in an isolated framework. It has to be discussed within the context of the marketplace, a dynamic organism which consists of many players constantly playing their moves to outwit each other. For this very reason, the trust levels and the differentiation that any brand commands in the market keeps varying. Hence, if change characterizes the very two things that are supposed to be the prime outcomes of branding, doesn’t it make sense that the brand also has to keep changing?

A lot of companies look at branding as a one-time exercise. But let me be very clear. Branding only has a start, it doesn’t have an end. The end only signifies the end of a brand. As long as a brand is alive, it has to evolve to survive, the only exception being a monopolistic state which is very rarely seen in today’s business environment. Apart from the market landscape which in many ways forces a brand to continuously change, there are also intrinsic factors which necessitate a brand to evolve. When a brand first comes into existence, it cannot imbibe everything in the first go. Since brands are outcomes of the human mind, they too go through a trajectory of growth with new ideas and new information.

Just as evolution is necessary for the survival of any species, it is also imperative for the longevity of any brand. And just as evolution requires adaptability, the process of branding needs to be flexible as well. However, when one talks of evolution, it must also be mentioned that the core of a brand and the brand values need to remain constant. If these change, we essentially have a new species on our hand. In brand evolution, the essence remains stable. What changes is the way the brand interacts with the marketplace, with the way it manifests itself in the minds of the customer. The idea is to maintain that trust, to be different from the competition through expressing your core in different ways.

Yes, there are times when things don’t work out. And the brand fades into oblivion. Or there’s rebranding. But that’s another story.

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