OPINION: Don't go changing

Paul Swann
By Paul Swann | 7 February 2013
Paul Swann, creative partner at The Works

How important is consistency for brands or is evolution really what’s required? I get the sense that we’re changing tack too often and compromising the fundamental properties that consumers associate with our brands.

VB’s recent decision to revert back to its previous long standing tagline ‘A hard earned thirst’ as well as to its old packaging style and alcohol level is a telling example that change isn’t always for the better.

With regular turnover in senior marketing positions, brands switching agencies more frequently than ever before and our increasingly miniscule attention spans it’s little wonder that we are ‘flip flopping’ from one approach to another.

We all want to make our mark on the brands we work on and I’m not denying that we need to move with changing consumer behaviours but there is plenty to be said for repeatedly driving home a brands core equities (or memory structures if you want to get all technical).

Personally I love how the proliferation of channels and the accessibility of technology are constantly expanding our palette of communication options, but it does seem that in the clamor for ‘newness’ we’ve forgotten this value of consistency.

We keep getting told that our world is ever more cluttered in terms of brands and messages and that consumers are manically busier, so identifying the elements that make a brand distinctive and reinforcing them has never been more important in order to cut through.

The natural push back to this is that more consistency means less creative freedom but I don’t think this has to be the case. Working off an existing platform or idea often means that much of the heavy lifting of establishing it in the minds of consumers, the trade and the internal audience has already been done, so you are free to take it to more interesting and experimental places.

It’s worth thinking about before you rip everything up and start afresh. 

Paul Swann
Creative Partner
The Works 

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