In Germany there is something called the "Wiedererkennungswert". This is the brands recognition. I recently spoke with a new client who had a complete makeover on one of their products done by a previous design agency. This product has been out on the shelves for quite some time now. The client was pretty concerned now since the sales have dropped dramatically since the new design. He asked me what I thought. I told him that the new package was designed nicely. I really liked it, but only if it was a new product on the shelf. Their existing consumers won't find their "favourite brand" on the shelves anymore. Even if the old design wasn't up to par, they still had some solid consumers who were still buying. They are lost now still looking for their favourite brand they have always been buying. The new package is way too modern in contrast to the older one.
So the question is, how far away should you steer to a new look when designing an existing brand?
That is one of the main questions I always ask my clients when discussing a new project that we need to work on.
Believe me, I always love doing something completely new and having the freedom to pretty much do what I want. Love it when the client says "go ahead and do your thing". It makes my job so much easier. But if a brand has been out there for so long, that usually isn't the right choice to make in my opinion.
It's smarter to have the big picture in mind but take smaller steps getting there. It will take years to get to the main goal, but this way you are slowly getting the consumers to recognise those subtile, positive changes in the design. You are slowly bringing them to the main makeover without losing them on the way. You can only make that huge step if the client is prepared to spend a crazy amount of money in advertising. Getting the "new" brand out in the consumers face anyway possible. But let's face it, very few of them have that kind of cash.
Tough decision to make, but not really.
By the way… I won't add any photos of the packaging mentioned above to this post.
I don't want to step on any toes if you know what I mean ;-)