Considering a rebranding strategy but not sure where to start? The Manifest surveyed 501 consumers in the U.S. to identify the most important brand elements for businesses to include as they plan a company rebrand.
Think about a business you admire. What’s the first thing that comes to mind?
Is it the colorful images in the logo? The inventive company name? A catchy slogan?
Companies need more than words to create a comprehensive identity that connects with consumers. Brand elements are unique features of your company’s online presence that combine to tell a complete story about your value proposition.
Business decision-makers, however, have many options to consider when updating their brand. When each brand element interacts with the other, it’s important to update each element to tell a new story for your company in a clear way.
The Manifest surveyed 501 people in the U.S. to understand which brand elements consumers value the most. Businesses can use this data to inform their rebranding strategies in 2021 and beyond.
- Consumers value slogans more than any other brand element. Half of people (50%) say a company’s slogan is the most important brand element, and 47% say a slogan or mission statement is important when deciding to make a purchase.
- Almost half of people (49%) find descriptive company names the most appealing, making it the top type of business name among consumers.
- More than one-third of people (35%) believe that blue is the color that most demonstrates a business’s trustworthiness. Colors trigger unconscious emotions and responses in consumers.
- Only 7% of people think a logo is the most important brand element for understanding the main purpose of the company. Still, logos are worthwhile investments for businesses looking to build connections with new audiences.
6 Brand Elements to Update in Your Rebrand
- Company name
“Just do it.”
“Snap. Crackle. Pop”
“Be an outsider.”
Chances are, you recognized at least one of these company slogans immediately and associated it with a series of products, services, and experiences.
An effective slogan is a brief phrase that builds trust with customers and communicates your company’s ethos and mission.
Half of people (50%) say a company’s slogan or mission statement is the most important brand element for understanding the main purpose of your company.
Slogans are the most important brand element to American consumers. If you’ve decided to update all or part of your brand, your slogan is something consumers care about because it helps them understand the purpose of your company.
Slogans are effective because they distill a company’s value proposition into a short, catchy phrase that may even help a potential customer make a purchasing decision.
Almost half of people (47%) say that a company’s mission statement or slogan is important when deciding to make a purchase.
The most effective company slogans:
- Evoke powerful and positive emotions
- Communicate the company’s unique value proposition
- Are no more than 10 words long
A company slogan can also help highly selective consumers understand a company’s ethics and principles more than a logo or other visual elements of a brand.
Consumers are concerned about making socially responsible purchases. A 2019 survey from the insurance company Aflac found that 77% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase from a company that demonstrates a commitment to corporate social responsibility.
Brands can use a new slogan to communicate a commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR).
Subaru, for example, uses its “love” tagline as the foundation for various slogans designed to promote its image as a customer- and community-oriented brand.
The company’s slogan – “Love. It’s what makes a Subaru a Subaru” – communicates a core business value proposition in only eight words.
Interested customers can visit the Subaru website to learn more about the company’s “Love Promise,” which outlines the company’s commitment to its customers and to corporate social responsibility through philanthropic efforts.
Businesses that launched new CSR initiatives in 2020 can communicate that commitment in a new slogan or mission statement if they don’t want to invest the money and time in a complete rebrand.
Updating a slogan still creates opportunities for businesses to increase brand awareness when companies:
- Share the updated slogan on social media
- Write a press release to announce the new slogan
- Create new pieces of website content to explore the updated slogan in more detail
Slogans are an important part of a potential customer’s experience with your brand. Put it on the top of your rebranding checklist.
2. Company Name
Creating a new company name can be a necessary step for businesses that have significantly changed their products or moved into a new industry.
Coming up with a new company name that attracts customers and personifies your business can be more challenging than simply using an online business name generator.
Almost half of consumers (49%) prefer brand names that are descriptive of the business and its operation.
You might notice that some brand names use specific words to tie the company to a certain industry. Other businesses invent new words.
The 4 types of brand names are:
- Descriptive brand names
- Evocative brand names
- Inventive brand names
- Geographical brand names
About half of consumers prefer brand names that describe what the business sells. Some common examples of descriptive brand names include:
- Whole Foods Market
- Home Depot
Brands will often combine different types of brand names to reflect their unique value proposition. Some well-known brand names, such as Bank of America, combine descriptive and geographic terms to describe the company’s offerings.
Less than one-quarter of people (22%) prefer brand names that evoke a feeling or the experience of interacting with the brand. A few well-known brands with evocative names include:
Popular evocative brand names like these help customers associate a brand with a feeling of something larger than themselves.
Amazon, for example, evokes the massive South American rainforest, or female warriors of mythology.
These examples of evocative names have one thing in common: they are all versions of words consumers are already familiar with.
Just 9% of people prefer brand names that are new or invented words. If you’re considering renaming your company, stick to words or phrases that already exist.
A company name is a critical brand element to consider when planning a rebranding strategy. Businesses can partner with naming agencies that are specific branding experts that help businesses come up with creative names.
3. Brand Colors
It’s never easy to find a color or image that’s both eye-catching and trustworthy. Color is a fundamental design and brand element businesses use to promote their brand identity in a unique and fun way.
More than one-third of people (35%) say that the color blue shows a company is trustworthy, making it the top color choice for reflecting trustworthiness.
Companies across all industries include blue in their branding. In particular, tech companies such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn all feature blue icons and design.
Brand colors are important for businesses because they elicit subconscious emotional responses in consumers.
According to marketing software company Marketo, blue appears in the logos of 33% of the top 100 companies. Blue remains a popular color for business services because it evokes feelings of calm, stability, and trustworthiness, according to color psychology.
Restaurants, for example, use warm colors such as red and orange in their decor because they increase customers’ heart rates and subtly affect their moods, potentially contributing to table turnover and increased sales.
It’s important to remember that people will assess your brand colors through the lens of businesses with established color schemes.
“We make assumptions about businesses based on what other businesses have already done with color schemes,” says Reese Spykerman, owner of Design by Reese. “Want people to know you're a conservative corporation? A royal blue scheme will do the trick. Want to communicate you're hip, modern, edgy, and non-conformist? You'll need something polar opposite from those traditional blues.”
Businesses usually choose a suite of colors, or a color palette, for different elements on a website, social media, or other marketing materials.
Marketing software company HubSpot’s color palette, for example, has a signature orange color that breaks from the traditional blue of other tech firms. Its secondary colors include bright green and other “warm” hues such as red and pink.
Companies updating their colors as part of a rebrand can either choose a new color palette themselves or go to a design expert to create a custom set of colors for their brand.
Design experts understand the nuances of color and design and can help you leverage color to drive behavior. A professional designer will make recommendations for your color palette while helping you remain true to your brand and vision.
Businesses can use inexpensive design tools and their own intuition to select company colors. If you are looking for a quick brand refresh without the expense and time of a complete logo redesign, consider updating your existing logo with new colors.
Your logo is often your first impression on your current and potential customers. This small piece of design sums up your company’s brand identity.
Few people (7%) say a company logo is the most important brand aspect for understanding your company’s purpose, but that doesn’t mean investing in a quality logo isn’t worth it.
Logos build a visual identity and foster a connection between the business and its potential market. Many popular brands have logos that include their company names but incorporate them into a unique design using the company’s color palette.
Logo redesigns are common among major brands, with several high-profile logo redesigns happening each year.
For small businesses, however, a logo redesign could be a costly undertaking. Businesses should consider updating their logos if:
- Their business offerings have changed
- They have new brand colors
- Their logo design is outdated
For example, a logo should not include an image of a storefront if the business now operates entirely online.
Design trends also drive logo redesigns. Businesses want to appear cutting-edge and trendy, particularly legacy brands that want to keep up with younger generations of consumers.
Flat design trends drove several high-profile logo redesigns, including popular restaurant chain TGI Fridays, which updated its logo in 2019.
The new TGI Fridays logo keeps the brand’s signature red and white stripes, but trades the old font for a new, sans serif font that’s popular among designs today.
Businesses looking to update their logos make sure their logo still sets their brand apart from competitors. Some designers have commented on how the trend towards flat design and sans serif fonts mean many company logos now look the same.
Logos are an important brand element that deploys visual cues to tell the story of your company. Plan for a high-quality logo redesign when creating a rebranding strategy.
The specific words and phrases you use to describe your brand are important, but so is the look and feel of the text you use itself.
Fonts and typography are brand elements that enhance the style and identity of your brand. Like color, fonts are not always top-of-mind for people interacting with your brand. Instead, fonts make subtle, subconscious suggestions to potential customers about a brand’s style and identity.
“Fonts help to convey meaning and help your audience distinguish between different messages quickly and effectively,” says Steve Creamer, creative director at Peek Creative, a design firm in the UK. “We all depend on written communication to understand the world, so, whatever type of business you run the fonts that you use can help you to communicate more effectively with your audiences.”
We all depend on written communication to understand the world, so, whatever type of business you run the fonts that you use can help you to communicate more effectively with your audiences.
Businesses often use different fonts or variations on the same font for different elements. A brand’s logo, for example, sometimes has a different, more eye-catching font than the headers on the brand’s website.
HubSpot, for example, uses a unique font that’s listed in its brand guidelines.
Avenir Next is HubSpot’s official font, or “type family,” which includes different weights and bolding for different purposes. Avenir Next, like many other business fonts, is a sans-serif font, which means it doesn’t have small dashes, or serifs, on the ends of each letter.
Businesses planning a rebrand can look at the fonts of other leaders in their industry to identify trends before partnering with an expert to update their type.
Businesses can use shapes to show off their brand colors and draw attention to important information on their website or other marketing materials.
Shapes express brand identity and help tell a visual story for a brand.
“Shapes help create a connection or symbolize structure,” Spykerman says. “Use circles or soft edges to build emotional bridges and relationships. Use lines and hard edges to help create order and send a signal that you're logical and analytical.”
Consider what story you want to tell with your brand. Do you want to demonstrate authority with a clean, sharp aesthetic? Use lines and hard angles to support that vision.
Shapes can be used for all of your marketing collateral, such as:
Skincare company Supergoop, for example, uses unique shapes to communicate its unique value proposition.
The three symbols draw the customers’ eye to text that describes the unique attributes of Supergoop’s sunscreen products.
The company also uses curved lines and circles to provide a color contrast between the royal blue text and the yellow accent colors.
The yellow circle accent draws attention to the product logo and evokes feelings of sunshine.
Any business can use shapes and colors in this way to liven up their brand.
Prioritize These 6 Brand Elements When Creating a Rebranding Strategy
Companies considering a rebrand should prioritize the individual brand elements that make up their brand identity.
Company slogans are the most important brand element. About half of people say a slogan helps them make a purchasing decision.
Business names are a critical part of a business’s brand. Consumers prefer brand names that are descriptive of the company’s function and services.
Colors establish trust and spark emotion in current and potential customers. About one-third of U.S. consumers felt blue was the color that inspired the most trust.
Logos incorporate the company’s name and color into a unique image that sets the brand apart. A logo doesn’t have to help someone understand what your company does, but should be eye-catching enough to get their attention before you communicate your value proposition.
Fonts and shapes help your brand’s visual identity coalesce. Both play an important role in establishing a tone for the brand.
Rebranding a business takes time and effort. Working with professionals will ensure each brand element is part of a cohesive whole.
About the Survey
The Manifest surveyed 501 people in November 2020.
45% of respondents were female; 44% were male, and 11% didn’t specify their gender.
Baby boomers and older make up 28% of respondents; Generation Xers make up 36%; millennials make up 17%, and Generation Z makes up 7%. 12% of respondents didn’t reveal their age.
Respondents are from the Midwest (30%), South (29%), West (24%), and Northeast (16%).