Get it right the first time

Introducing a new corporate or brand identity is no casual matter, says corporate design consultant Gerhard Ade.

Formerly director of corporate identity for TRW and later a Cleveland-based marketing consultant known for designing eye-catching annual reports for such companies as Royal Appliance Manufacturing Co., Ade suggests that before a company considers changing its corporate identity or even introducing a new brand, it should ask its internal and external audiences a series of questions. They include:

  • Do we understand our needs and motivations for change?
  • What makes a logo a ‘good’ logo?
  • How much testing of possible brand names is enough?
  • How do we plan for implementation?
  • Do we understand the cost of implementation?
  • How can we save time and money in the long run?
  • What should our implementation priorities be?
  • What impact does new media have on brand and identity?
  • Have we adequately considered the reactions of our customers?
  • How and when will we tell our dealers’ employees?
  • Can we count on support from across the company?
  • How will a change affect our international operations and markets?
  • Is our staff ready to take on the additional workload?
  • What are the legal consequences of changing the company name?
  • What’s our CEOs favorite color?

The answers to these questions are crucial, Ade observes, because creating a new brand or changing a company’s overall identity offers a “once-in-a-lifetime chance to get it right the first time.”