Recently I have been coerced into watching endless episodes of Dr Who in all of the various transformations…
I really can’t deny how well the series has weathered time itself!
Dr Who’s diverse regeneration has created quite a stir, not only a whole new character but a change of gender with the amazing Jodie Whittaker. A complete new twist for the tv series but still recognisable and compelling. Some will like it, some won’t, you win, you lose! It’s still Dr who!
For a series to run as long and still be as successful today as when it started in 1963 they really must be doing something, we, in business, should all take notice of.
However, the producers of Dr Who had to learn the hard way as well. The blip in 1989 when viewing figures dropped may have been due to the rapid succession of the 5th, 6th and 7th doctor after Tom Baker in 1981. Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker had played the role for 4 years each. The public had little chance to develop a relationship with the 3 consecutive actors who only stayed around for two years respectively. It was in 2005 that the series returned with ‘Rose’ and a new look but a direct continuation from 1989.
These are mistakes commonly made in Business – Especially when it comes to Branding and are both taken to the extreme.
Allowing your marketing and your image to become stale means there is never anything exciting or new to entice interest. Being consistent is essential but keeping everything the same for eons in fear of change, laziness or just being stingy and relying on ‘it will do’ is false economy.
On the other hand to keep changing or using inconsistent branding is as bad a mistake. If every time a different typeface or colour is used there will be no continuity causing confusing messages and little, if any brand recognition.
A complete rebrand, although essential in some circumstances can be a major financial cost as well as a time consuming endeavour. If the business has been going a while there are many documents and existing literature that will need to be replaced.
Just updating your branding with minor alterations can be a second option. If there are parts of the branding that still work well and are relevant, a slight revamp rather than a complete overhaul is all that is needed.
Dr Who manages to maintain the continuity very successfully and never really alienates the audience for very long although faces continuously change. Some hold on to their favourites and find it hard to associate with a new character but as the series progresses those personalities can begin to fade and the new ‘man of the moment’ takes pride of place.
Evolution is essential.
The Producers manage the cast changes very well, there is never too many new faces at once and will, hopefully, never change the Doctor and his Assistants at the same time. This is the key to the programmes continuity! Changing one person or a small part a bit at a time and over a course of episodes or series keep the stories fresh but consistent. The Assistants are as important as the Dr himself and add another dimension to the programmes, so telling the stories from different angles. This approach allows the audience to get used to the change without losing interest or causing confusion – treading softly and being reconcilable.
If revamping your branding by updating elements of the logo will deliver the desired benefits the time and money spent will be considerably less, even if only for an interim period. Adding a new dimension to the branding will often make it stronger or a new tag line will promote a new service without altering everything.
Look at the Cybermen, how they have changed over the years… did we notice? do we remember? But they are still Cybermen!
Many large companies have changed their logos over the years but in such subtle ways that are only really noticed when the old and new are seen together. Subtle changes are always current news at the time but after a very short time space the older version is forgotten.
When Yahoo changed their logo, although not that different, it was enough to create a lot of criticism in the design world. Losing its vitality and boldness in some opinions but looking fresher and neater in others. It is impossible to please all the people all the time.
Making small changes over a period of time can be a slow process and needs careful control and consistency to move from one stage to another without confusing the customer and diluting the brand. Most people wont notice if its done well.
So changing small elements of the branding image or adding something, keeping it fresh, but consistent. A new tag line or call to action creates an opportunity for a new promotion and a new incentive. Rejuvenating the brand will inject new energy, create interest and generate new leads which will successfully increase sales.
All businesses develop and change but if the fundamental foundations remain the same, building on it is easy.