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To re-brand or not re-brand? It’s an age-old marketing question, and one that we know intimately. Sometimes a re-brand is required in response to the market moving on, or changing direction, and a desire by the company to not be left behind. But for many companies a re-branding process is unavoidable and comes because of a company merger or name change. Australia has had its share of these company name changes and they haven’t always been met with a positive customer response. Personally, I remember the disdain that first greeted the news that Telecom was becoming Telstra, or that The Bank of NSW would become Westpac; this name is a portmanteau of ‘Western-Pacific’ but, in 1982, this didn’t sound like the name for a bank. It may have been some brilliant marketing, or perhaps just the passage of time, but eventually both names found their place in the marketing landscape. Not many people are aware that one of the world’s most ubiquitous brands Google was originally called something else. When it first began in 1996, founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin named their search engine ‘BackRub’. A year later, when it became too large to operate on the Stanford University servers that hosted it, they registered the domain name Google.com and, over time, this gave us the expression to “Google it”. Saying “BackRub it” doesn’t have quite the same ring to it, does it?

Ultimately, company names and brands evolve, and re-branding doesn’t have to be seen as a scary or negative thing.

Coca-Cola is another great example of a shape-shifting brand. The company started in 1886 and the trademarked Coca-Cola script logo was created that same year. Over the years their brand has evolved many times, but it has always included reference to that original design. In the early years, the company resisted use of the word 'Coke'. They took the stance that the brand was called 'Coca-Cola' and people should call it that and not use the shortened form. But in 1941, they finally embraced the abbreviation and produced magazine ads with the headline: 'Coke means Coca-Cola', which told people it was now okay to use the term 'Coke'. It then got it’s own logo and was added to their stable of brands. It was this same innovative approach that we, Six Elements, took when re-branding to Sixe™. From the very conception of Six Elements, key clients would often refer to us as the ‘Sixe team’, and we gradually found ourselves saying ‘Sixe’ to certain people instead of the full company name. As a Branding Agency, one of our core values is to focus on the attributes of a brand, not the core product, and we felt it was time to adapt ourselves to what our clients already called us — so we have embraced change and now have a new name and logo. www.sixe.com.au

Some organisations embrace change and are constantly looking to update and stay relevant. These companies make subtle changes to their logo as a matter of course, to show they have their ‘finger on the pulse’ and are few steps in front of their competitors. They evolve their logo over time, as part of an overall longterm strategy, and keep an eye on their past as much as where they want their brand to go. This reference to their past prevents any loss of customer loyalty, or any confusion in the marketplace. Take Apple Computers who — can you believe it? — have been around for 40 years! Apart from a very early incarnation in 1976, they have used and adapted the 'bitten apple' through the decades, adding and removing colour and dimension to arrive at the current version of a flat, silhouetted shape that is now one of the most recognisable logos on the planet.

Our old logo

Our new logo

Andy Engel,

Head of Creative, Sixe™

Andy has worked for design and advertising agencies of all sizes over his 20-plus year working life and brings with him a wealth of experience across a range of product categories, from automotive to fashion, packaged goods to retail - and a burning desire to bring great ideas to life.

Matters Magazine Autumn Issue  

We include some great articles on Sunshine Coast Changemakers, and give you some ideas for embracing change and being the change within your...

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