Like all things organic, aging happens – even in brands. And like some of us appearance – minded humans, your brand may need a day at the spa or even an appointment with plastics guy in Beverly Hills.
Look at GE for instance. In 1979, “We bring good thing to life” was born as a positioning line that communicated GE’s diversified, worldwide businesses. The line clearly communicated that GE was in the lighting products and kitchen appliances business. This good work was created by ad agency, BBDO.
This brand alignment continued through the Jack Welch years and on until Jeffrey Immelt took over in 2001. In 2003, a brand refresh was deemed necessary and Wolf Olins, a London Based brand consultancy was tapped for the initiative. According to WO, “We were brought in to help GE shift from a 20th century automated industrialized conglomerate to a unified and market driven 21st century technology and innovation powerhouse.” The new line: “Innovation at work.”
Along with the new positioning that established GE is an innovative leader, there were slight updates made to the logo and a proprietary typeface was created called GE Inspira.
Now, not all brands commission multimillion-dollar makeovers.
Take a look at Motel six and it’s thirty plus year association with Tom Bodett and his originally ad-libbed slogan “We’ll leave the light on for you.” Because Motel 6 has the highest recognition factor in the hospitality category, changing the brand positioning or spokesperson would be economic suicide. But, the brand has evolved. So, to keep it relevant with this traveling by car audience, M6 added brand reinforcements like Pet Friendly (If you look at the Motel 6 Web site, it says “ When it comes to lodging, trust your animal instincts.”) They also now use Tom Bodett’s voice on wake up calls and on pod casts. The logo has changed slightly but all other visual elements have stayed the same. Still, the brand remains timely, apropos and fresh.
OK, so we’re not all GE or even Motel 6. What about smaller yet equally important brands?
I had the pleasure of working on what was, in 1977, the smallest BMW dealership in the world – Crevier BMW. We started long before we had formalized brand development processes and intuitively positioned Creveir as “The Enthusiasts BMW store.” It worked like crazy because we were located way off the beaten path in downtown Santa Ana, California – unlike our nearest competitor in toney, Newport Beach.
Our first positioning line read: “We have a lot in common with the cars we sell.” And, we put in place the brand delivery mechanisms to make sure that promise was not an empty one.
As time went on, we refreshed with a line that stated: Performance Standard. This meant that the cars were high performance and so were our people and the dealership – same positioning, just different words.
As the dealership grew, (Crevier became the worlds largest BMW dealership in 1988) we continued to evolve the brand.
Today, Creveir is owned by Penske Automotive Group (Yes, the famous Penske Racing Team people) and the current positioning statement simply reads: CREVIER – still relevant, but with a fresh brand glow.