A client of mine who provides services to the education sector is considering a rebranding exercise.When they mentioned this I asked them what they meant. They said that they wanted to refresh or bring up to date their visual identity which has not changed for the last 20 years. Their current identity has served them well but they now feel that it is time to give their look and feel of their visual identity a new lease of life.
Now, many companies fall into the trap that they think their visual identity (logo, website layout and colour, stationery, uniforms, signage etc) is their whole brand. This is wrong as it only forms a part of your brand. Your logo is not your brand but is a visual cue for your brand. Your brand is not concrete but a set of thoughts and feelings that exists between your business and your customers and is affected by everything you do from the way you look (your visual identity) to the way you answer the phone, to the way you deal with suppliers etc. I digress.
Anyway, when I was chatting to my client yesterday I asked how they were going to go about doing this. One of the first things that they said was that they were going to go and find some agencies with experience in their sector and ask them to get involved. Sounds expensive and time consuming, I said.
Then I asked ‘Ever heard about the idea of Wisdom of Crowds?’
No, they said.
Let me explain.
The Wisdom of Crowds refers to a process where we can take into account the collective wisdom of a large group of people rather than a single or small set of experts. Studies have shown that this approach to problem solving can often be just as effective if not more effective than using ‘expert’ help. The internet has produced some great examples of how this works in practice through Wikipedia, Yahoo! Answers, Digg and other sites that rely on human opinion or input. New Yorker columnist James Surowiecki wrote a book on this subject called The Wisdom of Crowds: How the Many are Smarter than the Few back in 2005.
My idea was that rather than asking a set of experts, design and brand agencies, why not ask your employees and customers to help design or brainstorm what your visual identity should be. This is a great way of engaging with customers and employees in a meaningful and fun way and you can also turn the rebrand or designing your new logo exercise into a competition, where the winners would win some sort of prize.
Brilliant, they said. That way we can ensure that our visual identity will be relevant as it will be designed by our customers rather than what we think is relevant.
After all, if you want your customers and employees to continue to ‘buy’ from you then what better way to engage with them and give them ownership of you and your relationship than to let them get involved with designing your logo or visual identity. Some people may not want to get involved
Once complete you can then get a design agency to finish and finesse these designs thus saving you lots of money, possibly time, and helping build relations with staff and customers at the same time.
When was the last time that that you re-evaluated your visual identity of your company? Could you use the Wisdom of Crowds approach and ask your customers and employees to get involved in the redesign?
Thanks to Sreejith K for the image.