Tessa Tinney

Open up to possibilities

Surely by now you’ve heard of the Disney mega-hit movie Frozen, with its “Let It Go” theme song. Here it is, in case you’ve been hiding under a rock for the last three months.

My children listen to “Let It Go” everywhere. My six-year-old son asks to borrow my iPhone so he can listen to it in our hammock. His two-year-old brother knows every word and will sing it — with appropriate gestures and crescendo — upon request. We can’t drive five blocks to the library without listening to it at an unhealthy volume.

I’m beginning to wonder if the “it” in “Let It Go” is my sanity.

The other day, I was listening to one of our clients tell us about elements of their existing brand that they want to carry over to their new brand: things like the color palette, logo and tagline. Suddenly, during the conversation, I felt a compulsion to sing, “Let it go! Let it go! Can’t hold it back anymore!”

I completely understood their inclination to hold onto some of the comfortable pieces of the old brand. After all, how will their customers feel about wholesale change? But in my many years of branding, I’ve learned that arbitrarily cordoning off a bunch of brand elements and declaring them untouchable in the rebranding process misses a huge opportunity for positive change. And it chokes brand development.

It’s common during the rebranding process for a CMO to ask us to keep something from the old brand. Most often the reasoning isn’t based on thorough research or the true effect of that element on the overall brand perception. It’s usually a reluctance to change too much, a concern about what change could mean, or an assumption that one element in particular is working just fine, while others aren’t.

Assumptions are shaky foundations from which to build brands. That’s why we question every assumption through our Brand i/o process, which requires companies to put every element of their brand on the table for review, consideration, inspection, and possibly revision. That includes your logo, color palette, name, and the lexicon you’ve developed around your company and products. We examine each element through the lens of your target audiences as well as the vision of your company and provide concrete and detailed direction for bringing it all in line with the future brand.

Oftentimes, there are elements of the brand that should remain intact because they have equity in the marketplace and with internal staff. (If you’re Coca Cola, chances are we won’t suggest you change your name or your proprietary brand color.) There may be elements of your brand that uphold the future vision of the company very well, while there are others that are surprisingly detrimental to the brand you’re trying to build.

We take a methodical and intelligent approach that suggests changes to existing brand assets — big or small — and consider brand equity and future vision together. When we deconstruct a brand from every angle, we’re able to build a new brand from a position of strength and certainty.

So there are certainly times to let it go. But I promise not to sing Disney theme songs to you when we work together, as long as you promise to open up your new brand to the possibilities of change.

If you’d like to learn more about the power of our Brand i/o Process, please check out our Insight.