Digitalisationand Brand Transformation

Digitisation is a word that has been at the tip of the tongue of every organisation’s leader. But what is digitalisation? What does it entail and why does it seem like every brand is ‘obsessed’ with it?

The core purposes of digitalisation are fixing past mistakes, focusing on the present and redefining the future.

We cannot ignore the fact that we live in a global community, which means that at one point or another, every organisation has to hop onto the digital transformation bandwagon. This goes for branding as well. A brand is an identifying symbol that distinguishes a product from its competitors but what a brand truly represents is a visual picture of the organisation’s strategy, brand story and customers’ future opportunities.
The question now is when a brand assumes a new strategy, does the company de-brand, refresh the brand or re-brand? A new logo may be developed when one business is acquired by another, just as we witnessed Barclays Botswana’s change to ABSA and its entire identity changed i.e. the logo, corporate colours, fonts and so on to assume the ABSA brand identity.

Some organisations modify their brand elements when they want to signify a new change. For example, in 2020 Pep Stores changed its logo, and as stated by a PEP spokesperson, the TAB will be used to showcase ‘the much more’ on offer at PEP…more of the lowest prices, more everyday convenience, more stores, more smiles, more trusted quality, more amazing products and services. It was inspired by a tab in the digital world that gives access to more content.

MTN followed suit in early 2022 with their new black and bold logo. According to the CEO of MTN Nigeria, Karl Toriola, the logo symbolises the company’s commitment to helping Nigerians realise their full potential and advance economically by promoting financial and digital inclusivity.

On the other hand, de-branding is when a brand or business appears more consumer-centric than corporate-centric. As two examples, Nike and Starbucks have modified their logos over the years by removing their titles and using less colour, shading, and dimension.

Other organisations may choose the safer option of a brand refresh, which is keeping a brand relevant by refining its language and appearance to reflect how it and its customers are always evolving. In 2016, Instagram updated its brand with a more streamlined, black-and-white interface – a mobile app portfolio that included new features and a simplified camera logo. The refresh successfully updated Instagram’s appearance.

Of recent First National Bank changed its logo. This stands for its updated features for its online banking platforms. According to Jacques Celliers, CEO of FNB, ‘’the company strives to make it simple for its clients to free up cash flow through the most cost-effective options that enable them to meet their goals for investments and insurance.” This demonstrates FNB’s dedication to assisting clients in switching to safer digital interfaces.

If organisations don’t keep up with the pace of time and the consumer’s ever-evolving needs, they will lag. Whether organisations have de-branded, re-branded or refreshed their brand, the most important part of any organisational change is to always have the customer in mind, taking them through the journey and ensuring that they understand the WHY behind the change and that they are aligned. It is crucial that your customers maintain the belief that your brand still represents them.