How to evolve from a logo to a brand

 

Vanessa Taylor is realestate.co.nz’s Head of Marketing. Having lived and breathed marketing for almost 10 years, Vanessa has experience working for multi-national companies in New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Here, Vanessa explores the steps necessary to evolve from a logo to a brand.

Any marketer will tell you that a strong brand is an essential part of a business. More than your name or logo, having a ‘brand’ is what allows you to connect and engage with the hearts and minds of your consumer. A brand is your personality, your tone of voice and the fostered sets of ideas that the public associate with your company.

When I joined realestate.co.nz two years ago we set out on a path to define our company DNA – the “why” behind our business.

We found that the single thread that pulls together every part of our business are people – people in need of property. We are here to help those people find “the shortest path to their perfect property”.

With a DNA in place, it became clear that there were elements of our brand that did not fit with this new core objective. Our then-brand was dated, lacked definition and didn’t reflect the breadth of our offering. Too many New Zealanders believed we were a real estate agency, and too few people knew that in addition to residential property for sale, we feature rental, commercial, rural and business listings.

Guided by our DNA, we wanted to dust ourselves off, put on a new suit and show the world that we were ready to move at high-speed into the future.

If you are looking to evolve from a logo to a brand, there five key steps that you could take. Our end goal may be different to yours, but the recipe for success is the same.
 

1. Before embarking on a brand evolution, ask yourself “what does our brand currently look like?”

From billboards to flyers to display adverts and EDMs – print it all off and stick it on a wall. Consider all the ways in which your brand is translated through the six key elements: logo, colour palette, typeface, imagery, tone of voice and graphic devices.

Ask yourself: “How does it fit together? Does it ‘feel’ like my company?”.

We looked at all the forms of communication we had out in the world and we found some inconsistencies and other key areas that made perfect sense.

Side note – I challenge any marketer to do this at any stage of your brand lifecycle. Day to day you go about building your brand in pieces but when you put it all up together it paints a very interesting picture.

 

2. Determine what your brand needs to achieve in the next 12-24 months.

We workshopped the key environments our brand would need to exist in and how it differed from what we already had.

We started with the smallest amount of real estate (excuse the pun) we had to play with: an app icon. Then we built it out to how it would look in its biggest form - a billboard - and everywhere in between.

Then we crafted a roadmap of what we needed the updated brand to achieve going forward and how that plan would be executed.

 

3. Find your territory.

By step three you’ll have established where you want your brand to go – next it’s about figuring out how you’re going to get there and what the final product might look like.

It’s important to find (and claim) a territory of sense, feeling or history you want to be associated with, which will underpin everything you do with the brand going forward.

We explored a number of creative concepts to find our best brand fit, including:

  • Floor plan: It’s the base of all property and so are we.
  • Building blocks: Like building blocks, we help form the foundation of the New Zealand property industry.
  • Down the garden path: We help Kiwis find the shortest path to their perfect property.
  • RE: Pulling out the R and the E in realestate.co.nz to form our logo.

 

4. So, what did we want to build on, design up and test?

We stress tested a number of concepts and ended up with a hybrid of ideas that evolved into the logo and brand we proudly use today.

We developed:

  • A logo that was flexible enough to be used as an app icon, but strong enough for large mediums such as outdoor.
  • A colour palette that spoke to each of our channels (residential for sale, rental, commercial, business and rural) which are now represented by their own colour.
  • An evolution of our ‘realestate blue’ colour that was stronger online, but not too far that we lost any brand equity that we had built up previously.
  • A corporate typeface that held the same principles as our new logo and a library of iconography to assist with building our brand presence in the marketplace.

 

5. Lastly, involve everyone in getting it out to market.

We had an aggressive go-live date so it was essential to have every member of the organisation on board.

We empowered our staff to implement change in their respective departments, to ensure we had buy-in from the top down. Even if it just meant updating a logo on the invoice template, these small tasks gave everyone a sense of responsibility and involvement.

It is important to take into account the impact brand has on company culture. From customer service to accounts, everyone was excited about the rebrand. Investing in our business gave us a fresh sense of purpose, a feeling the brand had been future-proofed and that our growth was about to skyrocket.

We now have a system that is anchored not only around today’s offerings but tomorrow’s possibilities. Our new brand is future-focused, allowing us to showcase our full offering. We have moved away from only being ‘point-in-time’ relevant to residential property buyers, to being a dynamic source of real estate expertise, which is relevant to all users no matter where they are on their property journey.

Vanessa Taylor is realestate.co.nz’s Head of Marketing. Vanessa believes there is no such thing as 'because that's the way we do it'. "Let's break the process, keep it simple, automate if possible and do it all for our customers". Connect with Vanessa on LinkedIn here.

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