Corporate branding: to destroy or not to destroy

Many times, when my clients have come to me for advice on their plan for corporate branding, they start by giving me an introduction to what they have already done and what their customers want and look for. And I recognise there’s a heavy burden of past glories hanging over their heads.

For years I have worked on corporate branding projects for different companies. They are all successful companies and would like to invest in branding for many reasons, such as getting higher customer engagement, creating new markets or changing shareholders, etc.

Sure, they know why it’s necessary to (re)brand. I have gotten to know each of these clients very well, having worked closely with senior management teams like a full-time employee.

During this time I have observed a universal scenario – the company is looking for changes in the branding, but is held back by hesitation.

This brings me an opportunity to share my insights to companies which are looking for better ways to (re)brand. Branding is indeed a way to break away from the past and create a new path for the company.

However, there’s a big challenge for corporates to leap out from their comfort zone. For instance, you often see anxiety about the impact on their existing core markets, being well-positioned and profitable, etc. But what’s important is not necessarily “who you were/are”, but “who you want to be”. Thus, my first duty is driving clients to explore and look beyond existing markets towards new frontiers.

I’d like to cite an economic term coined by Joseph Schumpeter, “creative destruction”, to explain the relentless advance of a free economy.

Innovations can hardly be stopped as the old is supplanted with the new, the outdated with the novel, and the stale with the fresh, all at an inexorable pace.

In other words, construction requires destruction. Instead of relying on past glories, successful branding always comes with the bravery of taking the first step to destroy, to disrupt conservative business, product and profit models, and to change and open new markets.

Nonetheless, changes of brand image cannot be sustained unless the want-to-be spirit is truly ingratiated. This brings me to my next duty, accompanying my clients to walk the path of change with strategic initiatives and integrated changes.
Everything is about cost and benefit.

There is always risk – both in being static and in changing, both for creative agencies and their clients. It’s a time of convergence, and every facet of businesses craves creativity. Are you ready to make changes? To destroy or not to destroy, that’s the question.

By Connifer Liu, director of business development, C Media Group.