Off the Radar - Insights from Stealth Creative

Brand Fatigue Part 1: The Client's Perspective

Google “fatigue,” and you’ll find several meanings for the word: Exhaustion, extreme tiredness, reduced efficiency.

But for our purposes, let’s focus on this one:

A lessening in one’s response to or enthusiasm for something, typically as a result of overexposure to it.

In this case, that “something” is your brand.

You might already be thinking: Great. Here’s another article trying to sell me on a full rebrand. Don’t worry. We’re not trying to sell you anything — just imparting some ad agency wisdom that we’ve picked up after years in the biz.

Know that a major juxtaposition lies within this topic. While it’s important to keep things fresh, consistency and ease of recognition are crucial components in your strength of mark.

It’s about finding balance between your view of your brand, and your customers’.

So what are the two sides to this coin? In Part One of this series, we’re looking at YOU.

Perspective #1 – The Client (That’s You!)

To be clear, we’re not picking on you, dear clients. What we are pointing out here is a clear example of brand fatigue. As its owner, you likely don’t have the freshest perspective on your brand and its elements. This could be the cause of a couple scenarios:

Scenario A: You may want to give up on a brand element because you’re tired of it, and you feel it’s not working anymore.

“It’s certainly true that clients tend to throw away brand assets too early.” –Robin Wight. 

And it makes us agency folk tear our hair out. When client partners abandon a strong branding element before it has a chance to take hold, or misuse brand assets entirely, we can’t help but feel somewhat helpless as your brand’s stewards.

For a great example of a famous rebranding flop, check out Tropicana’s 2009 package redesign and accompanying campaign.

This is a classic case of a company abruptly abandoning an image its customers had built an affinity with in an attempt to “modernize” the brand. And it cost them $50 million in sales across North America. $50 million!

To find true brand success, you must be able to trust your agency partner’s instincts and recommendations. That’s why you hired an agency in the first place! There’s no need to give up full control if you aren’t comfortable with that. Embrace a collaborative workflow with your agency team. The best finished products are the result of a diverse set of minds with a focused direction.

On The Other Hand…

Scenario B: You are hanging onto an asset that desperately needs to be rethought, and it’s time to let go (or at least give it a facelift).

Maybe it’s a logo, a jingle, a color palette. Whatever it is, it’s something you identify with and “hang your hat on” as a cornerstone of your branding and your marketing efforts.

Let’s use the logo example: You come to us wanting to improve your brand and achieve better results as a business. You show us who you are and what you’re working with as far as marketing materials — and that includes your logo.

And our eyes light up when we see what you’ve brought us – maybe not because it’s great – but because we see so much potential. Oftentimes, clients will be attached to their logo, or there will be several branding elements that are similar, but not quite working well together.

That’s where your agency comes in. It is our job to tie all these elements together, carefully and strategically. We want to discover, or rediscover, who you truly are as a brand — and serve that identity up front-and-center to your customers.

But we don’t want to go full-on Tropicana. So what’s the answer?

Keep Things Fresh, But Keep The Core Intact

If it ain’t (all the way) broke, don’t fix it (too much). You probably have a good start on your identifying brand elements, and might even be pretty well established in your market. So let’s take those things that make your brand strong and cool, and play to those strengths.

Do you have a fun, well-established-but-aging jingle? Let’s re-record it, keeping the lyrics and melody, but freshen the sound for today’s audience.

Do you have several logos or brand elements you use for different areas of your business? Let’s find a way to unify them all as a family, and get them working together to maintain strong visual consistency.

Are you tired of looking too much like your competitors? Let’s come up with some cool ways to cut through the clutter, demand some attention, but put those strong branding elements front and center.

(By the way, these are all things Stealth does for our clients every day!)

All of this sounds exciting, but how do you know if it’s going to work? Isn’t this risky?

Not if your agency is driven by results. We test. We adjust. We listen to you, we listen to your customers, and we aren’t afraid to admit when we’re wrong and need to try something else.

Brand fatigue from the client’s perspective is one thing. But relationship fatigue between the agency and client is even more dangerous. That’s why, above all else, a strong and collaborative approach is the best possible solution to strengthening a brand.

These relationships are what Stealth takes the most pride in. We would be nowhere without our strong connections to our client partners. We aren’t in it for the glory.

Drop us a line today, and find out for yourself. And stay tuned for Part 2 of this series, where we dive into the complex mind of…

…THE CUSTOMER!