Then they were pioneers of grunge. Twenty years later, Pearl Jam holds a stately place among rock’s elite and their lead singer’s new solo album is a showcase of the ukulele.
Their breakout performance at Woodstock ’94 was a muddy punk rock mess. Seventeen years down the road, and Green Day has had their music adapted for Broadway.
Wisely managing change while maintaining brand consistency is a hallmark of a rock star brand.
Coke’s logo has hardly changed in 100 years, yet Coke is always finding new avenues to promote their brand. They evolve, yet retain their consistency.
Starbucks got a lot of press over their logo update earlier this year, but that was just a subtle evolution. Their consistency remains.
It is an interesting and difficult proposition for any brand: How do you evolve and change with the times, yet never lose the consistency that made you great? Here are three ways to manage that challenge:
1. Don’t change your story, change how you tell it. Whether Red Bull is telling their story at extreme sports arenas, by signing rock bands like AWOL Nation, or by sponsoring wealthy playgrounds like air races, they are telling the same story.
2. When you update your look, retains core elements. Starbucks’ new logo isn’t really all that different than their old logo, just updated. The only people who really got worked up about it were us marketing geeks. Average consumers absorbed the change quickly and seamlessly.
3. Through it all, values don’t change. Apple can evolve from desktops to laptops to phones to tablets, but their brand’s values – sleek, user friendly, cool high tech toys – never change. No matter what Apple does, they continue to sell “cool”, not just gadgets or computers.
Your brand can and should evolve. Every day is a fresh start. But if you ignore change, or fail to manage change it carefully, it could kill you.