How often should we rebrand? How often should we reinvent the brand that we are managing?
It seems that the timespan for change is narrowing down day by day. Not only in FMCG, but even in less end-customer-driven industries and even in B2B.
Let us first remind ourselves what is the cause for any change.
The challenge of change
Brands interact with the environment as a complex memetic entity that can be defined as the identity of a brand. A brand’s identity is (for any external entity) a sum of its interactions, as explained in the previous post. Consequently, brand changes with the change of each entity in interaction. Even if the brand would not change internally, it would change. To live is to change by adapting to the changing environment.
And here comes the challenge. Change happens by necessity. If change stays unrecognized for a longer period, then the discrepancy between identity definition and reality grows, meaning that the communicated promise of a brand does not match the perceived promise. The result is, if discrepancy stays unmanaged, the devaluation and eventually death of a brand.
If change is constant, does that mean that brand managers must re-formulate the brand’s identity monthly, daily, and hourly?
Before answering the question of “how often,” let us see “how”. “How” is closely linked to the frequency at which re-formulation occurs. It seems logical that with higher frequency, the way we rebrand and reinvent our company changes. How we reinvent ourselves each year cannot be the same as if we must reinvent ourselves weekly, daily, or even in a shorter period. Shorter period? What a nonsense! Is it possible to reinvent and rebrand something second by second?
Evolution of brands
Nonsense? Do tigers reinvent themselves yearly, daily, or every 1000 years?
How often does evolution happen?
It is not that we need new tools for reinventing our companies due to new trends. Old ways of reinvention were obsolete already when they were conceived. There is only one way of reinvention. The way taught by evolutionary biology. From Darwin on, we should understand the dual nature of reinvention. It happens both evolutionary and revolutionary.
What I want to say is that we must turn around the very perception of our brands. And we must do this radically. If reinvention is a prerequisite for the sustainable life of any company, then the need to imply tools from evolutionary biology should be obvious. Isn’t it?
But wait! Tigers are living creatures, while brands are not!
Aren’t they? If not alive, are they dead stuff like stones or carpets?
Life within brands
We know that a stone does not evolve. Stone changes according to an entropy law: it gets more and more messy. While on the other hand we see that brands do evolve, they do get more and more organized, less entropic. So, they are alive!
What a mess!!!
Life is constant re-interpretation. Memetic life is nothing but constant sense making activity. Each memetic activity reinvents the objective reality (brand per se) into something for us. To make sense means to re-invent, to re-brand. One makes sense of a brand by using a brand, meaning also by talking about the brand. Brands reinvent themselves naturally. Brand management should adapt and not vice versa.