I’m not entirely sure if “social branding” is an actual term used in marketing…I’ve only taken 5 marketing classes and managed my company’s social accounts, promotion, and marketing for the past 6 months, so I’m not entirely qualified to know. However, I suppose a simple “Google search” could produce some results to answer that question.
Anyway, moving along…
The featured image for this post is the newest cover photo for the Cybrary Facebook page (insert shameless plug for the company here >> FREE Cyber Security Training << okay, plug over). A few months ago, Cybrary experienced a branding crisis. No one, and I literally mean NO ONE was happy with our logo (or any of the original company branding), so a new one was requested, designed, and voila! Hocus pocus, bippidy boppidy, boop; TA-DA … you get the picture. Before and after logo.
AND even after the new logo was “decided” on, it took yet another month or so to decide how it would be used, where, etc., and to this day (some 6 months later) the team continues to experiment with the logo to fit our “identity”. The current layout of the new logo looks like this. See what I mean? [Reasoning: The logo is more streamlined and fits better in the website header this way. A perfect example of thinking ahead to how and where this Oh so important trademark will be used.]
Notice I put quotation marks around identity. I think the mistake some individuals (designers and others as well) make is that they think the logo and identity are one in the same. Now wait a minute, you’re probably thinking, “duh! they’re supposed to be the same thing. How else do people know a company, who they are/what they do except by their logo?!” Calm down. Breathe. It’s okay. All I meant was that AT FIRST a company’s identity and logo may not necessarily be the same.
Take Cybrary for example. The original logo fit their identity, their purpose, their theme perfectly for that first stage of the company’s life cycle. It was strictly an online training company, providing free education for people around the world to learn cyber security (computers, IT, etc.) at their own pace. Of course, as most successful companies do (or those that want to be successful in a competitive market), Cybrary pivoted and with that pivot came changes in its products [Aside: let me make it clear that Cybrary didn’t change its mission, only how it provided it’s product – the free training – and expanded to meet the growing needs of its customers] how they were “sold” and shown to the customer, and made the user experience 1000% better. With these changes came the need for a new logo to represent the “new and improved Cybrary” with the same core values and goals.
So, a new logo was born! As you might be able to tell, the new one holds slightly to the old one with the general ‘mask’ shape, but it’s more streamlined and quite frankly looks a lot better. As with any brand shift, or blatant alteration, current customers will adapt, and new customers will familiarize themselves with the logo and learn to associate it with what the company does, who they are, yadda yadda yadda. BUT WHAT DOES EVERYTHING YOU JUST READ EVEN MEAN?!
The ‘meat and potatoes’:
A brand is not always concrete, or at least not the visual representation of the brand. A company’s mission, name, ownership, theme (changing with new technology, trends, etc.) and media promotion could change and force a shift in how the company’s “image” is formatted, published, and percieved.
As designers, we need to be able to adapt to clients’ changing themes and be able to meet their needs and exceed expectations. This also brings to mind another great point… having a style guide/visual identity system, but that topic is for another day.
I hope you got something from all my rambling. Goodluck, and happy designing!