Ten years ago, a business had many fewer opportunities to engage with their audience and therefore the few touch points they had were quite important. Resources galore were invested into taglines, logos and visual brands.

While those elements are still an important part of your brand experience, the marketing machine around them needs the attention first – and that starts with a content strategy.

What good is an award-winning logo if your messaging is inconsistent across channels? No well-loved logo can fix the disconnect created when consumers have bad experiences with your organization in social channels. A successful, even dazzling, visual brand isn’t going to increase your prospects for membership or donors. Not as a sole course of action.

Here are some reasons we hear for redesigning a logo or visual brand:

We are changing (fill in the blank) and we need a new logo to communicate that to our customers
Designing logos and brands is one of the services we provide and we love designing logos, but – and you have likely heard messages like this before – no one cares about your logo the way you do. It’s a reflexive approach to try and use a logo or a new brand to punctuate a shift in your business this way. Sure, there was a time that it worked, but a logo or new visuals can’t do that any longer, not as a sole strategy.

It’s been a long time since we revisited our logo, it’s time for a refresh
What is the ratio of exposure to your brand for your audience versus how many times you experience the visual elements a day? How many times does your audience? If your average site visitor comes 1x a week, while you see your logo 10 times a day, and experience your visual style 10xs a day that’s 100:1. Beware of brand fatigue; it grows fastest internally and it can cause confusion between goals and achieving results.

Our brand no longer works
I think it is possible that a logo no longer works as part of your marketing machine. But I have never encountered a business goal that could be achieved by a new logo or visual refresh alone.

We have a new CEO and we are finally able to get the authorization to change our look
This could be a compelling reason to consider developing a new logo. If that executive is driving an evolution for the organization, it is certainly a ripe environment for a new logo to play a pivotal role. But, will you be able to measurably achieve your goals by investing in a new logo alone?

Bottom line: what are your goals?

Goal: more subscribers to your blog. Not gonna get that with by developing a new visual brand.
Goal: more attendees to your annual conference. Ditto
Goal: more donors. Ditto.
Goal: we want to signal profound change. A new logo alone is like a spit shine.

If you can’t accomplish your goals with a new logo, does that mean that you should not create one? You may need more than a logo, more than a new visual brand and, if so, you may now be facing a resource debt at best. Or, at worst, just fail to accomplish what you really needed.

Since the most frequent experiences with your brand will be on your website or in your social channels, your web marketing needs to be a humming results-delivering machine. Only after that is in place will a logo or brand be worth the resource investment

And that’s where a content strategy takes front and center.

The marketing that is achieving the most results today is the delivery of useful, educational or entertaining content to your audience. A content strategy is not only a necessary start point for effective content marketing, it will also inform your new logo or visual brand development.

The holistic approach of content marketing matches specific business goals to your marketing actions and delivers measurable ROI. And only once your marketing machine is delivering results should you redirect resources to other strategies like revisiting your logo or visual brand.

A business challenge that was first considered to be solved through a competitor analysis might be better addressed by developing a content strategy. A content marketing process could provide more ROI than a proposed new brand initiative.

Any redesign strategy needs to be weighed against what it can measurably achieve for you, whether it is a logo, brand, magazine or website. You have bigger fish to fry, namely guaranteed results.