Why a Brand Identity Refresh?
By Peter van Aartrijk | 11/28/2019
“Brand” has acquired some interesting attributes since it became popular commercial terminology in the early 1990s. Most folks believe a brand is something tangible. And that is why they’re often disappointed when a snazzy art project to create a new website or banner ad or logo doesn’t feel the same after a few months. The strongest brands are intangible and unbreakable bonds that are created over time. And it all begins with strategy to strengthen the foundation of the house. Otherwise, it’s just a tactic — a fresh coat of pain that looks nice for a while.
Every five to 10 years, an organization’s leaders must take the time to answer important questions about the brand. What are the core values, the mission, the vision? Are they relevant in today’s environment? What is it like to work here? Who are our target customers, and what truly drives them? How do we differ from competitors? What are our provable points of superiority as an organization? What’s on the horizon? Where are we headed as an organization?
When those questions are answered by key stakeholders, the brand strategy likely will be updated. And then it comes time to examine what I call “the fun stuff” — name, logo and tagline, and all the creative design and development that follows.
Indeed, brand management should feel like hard work for all of leadership, and it’s certainly not an HR or marketing or design project. The best time to take on a brand refresh is when you have a choice to do so. That means being proactive rather than reactive. When you’re reacting to oft-volatile internal or external events, you can get yourself behind the eight ball — a position of weakness. When you’re proactive, you can intentionally manage the process for a positive outcome.
This is exactly the process NetVU’s leadership took on in the last 12 months. In 2017, the NetVU board of directors, led by Brent Rineck, who was chair, emphasized an enhanced, collaborative relationship with the new Vertafore leadership. Here’s why:
- A healthy, thriving users group adds tremendous value to the firm providing the technology.
- NetVU’s influence — generated by education, leadership, and peer-to-peer interaction — on Vertafore’s focus and services is highly beneficial for its customers. (That’s you, the members.)
The leaders reaffirmed and tweaked the strategic messaging framework. Then they pursued a new corporate identity that would better reflect NetVU’s values, its members and its vision for the industry. The identity discussion included:
A decade ago, a name change was necessitated when AMS became Vertafore. Thus, AMSUG became NetVU, and the combination of “network,” which is what the members are all about, and “VU,” or optimistic “view” of the future, in the acronym is a nice combination. It echoes the core values. I like it.
A decade ago, the organization sought a fresh start, and the logo reflected that. Today, it seeks a tighter alignment with Vertafore. While the two organizations are separate and independent, having synergy between them is a win-win for the entire industry. The new logo reflects that. The goal was to create a minimalist rendition of the NetVU logo that highlights dedication to innovation and efficient, streamlined solutions, with collaboration with Vertafore at the core.
A decade ago, with the change from AMSUG, the acronym “NetVU” had to be explained. So, the chosen tag was “Network of Vertafore Users.” Today, what makes sense is a more aspirational tag that is aligned with a vision of a continually improving state of affairs for the independent agency channel. “Strength in Members,” which is a play on “strength in numbers,” fits the bill. With membership a half-million people strong, NetVU can accomplish anything when people commit to it.
Indeed, this group is about the people — it’s the community of thousands of volunteers who are passionate about efficiency, profitability, and good customer experience. With the work that preceded this brand identity refresh, it’s obvious that NetVU’s leaders are proud of the organization. I hope you, too, share that pride.
Interested in learning more about the NetVU brand refresh? Check out the infographic video or PDF version.