Why your outdated visual brand identity is costing you money and what to do about it

You may be well aware that your visual brand has become outdated and needs an overhaul. But you’ve been so focused on running your day-to-day operations that you just haven’t come around to getting it done, yet. Or maybe you just don’t see the value in investing in better brand design?
But did you know that your outdated design can cost you money? There are four main reasons why dated visuals have an impact on your bottom line. Read on to learn more and how you can take small actions to change it.

1. Missed opportunities due to a bad first impression

Illustration by Simona Cellar

An outdated visual brand identity can make a negative first impression and discourage potential clients from doing business with you.

Your visual brand identity is like your outfit for a job interview. You put effort into how you present yourself to make a good impression. The same goes for your business. First impressions matter and having outdated visuals can give the impression that your business is not up-to-date or worse, no longer in business. You won’t stand a chance next to current competitors who have effective visual identities that align with industry standards.

Your outdated visuals make you look unprofessional and miss out on potential customers.

Gain new customers with a strong first impression
According to Chron.com “consistently making a strong first impression is essential to gaining new customers and clients”. To make a positive impact and attract potential clients, it’s crucial to keep your visual identity fresh and relevant.

Your goal in making a good first impression is to build trust so potential customers will remember you. Take a closer look at your current visual assets and review if you do make that lasting impression. You can start with small actions to improve your first impressions:

Start updating touch points where first impressions happen: Where do your first impressions take place? Think about all touch points that potential clients come across in that beginning phase. If any of these materials (for example: logo, brand elements, website, or packaging) look dated, you should start updating these visuals first.
Visually declutter: Gradually clean up and update visual elements and assets that look cluttered, outdated, or don’t function well.
If you’re not ready yet to hire a brand designer, start learning more about what makes a good visual brand and what separates a dated brand from a current one.

2. Losing customers over poor customer experience

Illustration by Simona Cellar

The quality of the experience your customer has with your brand determines whether they will keep coming back or leave for something better. The visual assets all tie into this experience and its quality. Brand identity design does not only visually express the values of your brand, it also affects the customer experience.

Your customer moves through different stages with your brand, the customer journey. In this journey the customer is experiencing your brand in different situations. These situations can take place on- and offline. It matters how well you provide and deliver your product or service to your customers. How easy is it to purchase your product in a store or online? If it’s difficult to spot your product in a store or the shopping cart in your online shop is too complicated, people will not end up buying from you. How engaging and satisfying is the experience of your service in itself? If you only meet the bare minimum of your customer’s expectations, it might not be a satisfying and complete experience at all, and customers will go someplace else the next time.

How do your brand design elements play into this customer experience? Your design elements should be flexible enough to be applied to different situations. Outdated design often doesn’t consider this necessary flexibility and lacks a set of functional design elements.

Good brand design results in an enjoyable and flawless customer experience.

Create a smooth customer experience
You want your customers to have a smooth and satisfying experience. This again builds trust and will keep customers coming back for more. Does your customer experience and its visual assets meet your customer’s expectations?

  • Revisit your customer’s needs and expectations. Are they still the same or have they changed?
  • Examine your current customer journey. Does each experience meet your customer’s expectations?
  • Check if the design elements are helping each experience rather than harming it. Define building blocks that you can use across all customer experiences. This thinking is taken from atomic design. Atomic design incorporates a functional set of design elements that can be applied to different situations.

3. Maintaining an inconsistent visual design results in higher costs

Illustration by Simona Cellar

Did you create different visual assets with different partners over the years? How does that look like? If it looks inconsistent, it’s because you didn’t put a system into place to keep all visual assets organized. The design skills of the different partners also made an impact on the different results.

The point is, without a consistent structure or system for monitoring, organizing, and storing these assets, it can quickly lead to chaos and confusion when it comes to your visual brand. And if you didn’t keep up with new technologies, you will require more resources to keep everything current, effective, and running.
These factors not only make it difficult for your business to effectively market itself, but also negatively impact your reputation amongst your customers.

Create consistent brand design

Your visual elements should be consistent, adaptable, and able to evolve to function. Put these small things into action:

  • Create brand identity guidelines that ensure all team members and partners create visually consistent materials. A set of guidelines outline the visual elements of your brand, such as colors, fonts, and imagery.
  • Quality control: Assign a person (ideally a brand designer) that makes sure everything that goes out into the world is in line with the brand identity guidelines.
  • Use a brand management system, like Frontify, to manage and store all your visual assets.

4. Ineffective advertising and marketing lead to increased marketing costs

Illustration by Simona Cellar

As a small business owner part of your job is to promote your business by regularly creating marketing materials. Maybe you also send out newsletters, create different ads, host events where you use slide decks or take part in trade shows where you need to take care of the booth design. This is a lot of visual material.

All that money you invest in marketing and advertising has no effect, if your visual assets don’t have the standards of today’s visual language. As Neil Patel states, one of the common advertising mistakes is poor design quality, that impacts your conversions. If people get distracted by a badly designed ad, they won’t pay attention to what you actually have to say within the ad. Sustaining credibility and trust among your target audience is a fundamental aspect to stay in business, so you should prioritize in maintaining it accordingly.

Poor design quality impacts your conversions

Build up on existing materials

Better design helps guide viewers into the intended direction and move them from potential customers to actual clients. You can improve your designs by taking these steps:

  • Keep your brand guidelines close and use them to create consistent work.
  • Create and use templates: Develop templates for commonly used materials, such as ads, presentations, and social media posts, to streamline the design process and reduce costs.
  • Reuse existing assets: Base your new design materials on existing ones. Already created an ad and need to create a new one on a different topic? Start by taking visual clues from the original ad and adjust accordingly.

The importance of regularly reviewing, updating, and maintaining a visual brand identity

Illustration by Simona Cellar

The purpose of reviewing, updating, and maintaining your brand identity is that it helps to ensure your brand remains relevant and consistent over time. Keeping the visual brand identity current will attract new customers and retain existing ones. It differentiates your brand from competitors, improves recognition and, increases brand loyalty.

In today’s rapidly changing business environment, it’s crucial to stay ahead of the curve and ensure that the visual brand identity stays up-to-date and aligns with the evolving needs of your target audience. By investing in regular maintenance and updates, you maintain a strong, recognizable, and effective visual brand identity.

About Me

Hi, I’m Simona, brand strategist and designer who helps ambitious business owners transform their business. I’m passionate about creating authentic identity designs which help you stand out from the crowd and are based on a solid strategy.

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