Want to see what a $100,000 rebrand looks like?

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Worried about spending $100 on a new logo?

Concerned that your new design isn’t “revolutionary” enough?

The whole “your logo is NOT your brand” argument has been going on forever. Branding and Marketing consultants alike trying to convince clients that there’s more to their brand than just a pretty little image.

Amateur designers don’t help this cause though. They peddle these pretty images like candy at a kids birthday party. Clients get their big “sugar high”, only to come crashing down with the realisation that it actually means nothing.

Allow me to show you what a recent $100,000 rebrand looks like.

Ready?

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Ta-da!

This is the actual rebrand for the Australian Securities & Investment Commissions (ASIC).

There’s a bit of commotion surrounding this logo, with politicians unimpressed with the expensive redesign when there are other areas that ASIC should be focusing their attention on (you can read the original article here).

But that’s boring and not what I want to write about.

This is a perfect opportunity to blow your mind.

There’s 2 schools of thought surrounding a rebrand like this. One is the creative perspective and the other is the strategic perspective.

As a designer this annoys me. It’s almost laughable it’s that ridiculous.

Some of my designs in the past I slaved away on, researching the latest trends, the latest colour palettes, hand illustrating sections or even the whole thing.

I created works of art. All for a couple of hundred bucks.

Others will be looking at this the same way. Baulking at the idea that a company would spend $100k on something like this.

Here’s the reality though.

Strategically it takes on a whole new perspective.

Where’s the context? We only have half of the story.

Anyone who has gone through a proper rebrand, will know how difficult it can be. Even if you’re a small operation.

Now, I wasn’t part of the strategy that went on behind the scenes so I can’t say what the motivations were behind the rebrand, but I can definitely make some assumptions based on what I would’ve done.

Assumption 1: Trust & Authority

For a government agency, I would be very mindful of trust and authority. If we change the brand too much, how will the public react to that?

Let’s consider the relationship the brand has with it’s customers.

There’s no emotional relationship. Not like you would find with brands like Nike, Louis Vuitton, McDonalds. These brands elicit emotional responses which then motivate you to take action.

ASIC’s brand is about as exciting as a prostate exam. The only time you take notice of it is when you’re registering a business. Even then, did you really take notice of the branding? Maybe not intentionally but definitely subconsciously.

Let’s consider the scenario that ASIC’s rebrand was a lot more drastic. Like something like this:

Whether or not people like it is irrelevant. It’s a new direction for them.

When someone goes online to download a form or receive a letter in the mail from ASIC, this is what they’ll see.

“Is this the right ASIC?”

“Did I go to the right website?”

“Am I being scammed?”

Can you see the psychology here?

Assumption 2: Brand History

I don’t know anything about ASIC except for the fact that I pay them money to keep my business registered ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

It would be worth asking though about the origins of the original logo and visual identity. What meaning or purpose lies behind it.

In some cases it may be as simple as “we just grabbed something for $5 online”.

In other cases there may be a rich story behind it all, possibly even some sentimental value to the CEO.

Assumption 3: Brand Rollout

Why does a company pay $1k, $10k, $100k or $1 million for a rebrand?

Is it because they want something that’s trendier than their competition? Nope.

Is it so they can have they brightest colours? Nope.

Is it because their designer has mad skills? Nope.

It’s because that’s how much they VALUE that ASSET.

Yes. Your brand is an ASSET.

If you are a big government agency or a multi-million dollar company, then the decisions that surround your brand matter to you.

The positive impact could be so impressive but the negative impact could be monumental as well.

How much would it cost for Qantas or American Airlines to update their branding across their entire business?

Think about it. Airplanes, uniforms, advertising, print media, website, social media, stationery, merchandise.

A $1 million dollar rebrand sounds crazy right? Well, how much would it cost an airline if they got the rebrand wrong?

There was a negative response from the marketplace and their stock price plummeted.

Another rebrand takes place and all their brand assets need to be update again.

A company like ASIC pays $100k for a logo to make sure it's done right. In that article it states that $60k of that rebrand budget is dedicated to design and asset development. Makes sense right?

Either that or the people running ASIC are stupid and have no idea what they just paid for.

Bonus: Designer Insight

I’m going to add this for fun.

There’s a subtle colour change. Instead of using the harsh black for the font and outline of the diamond symbol, it has been replaced with a dark, turquoise colour.

This may not seem like much, but when you see it in use on their website, it actually looks quite nice with the the white brand on top.

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Now I’m not here to be an advocate for ASIC or the agency that developed the brand. I don’t care.

What’s important to highlight is that a rebrand is more than just the finished design. There is so much more strategic thought that goes into something like this.