Branding and Brand Evolution for Business Growth in Nigeria

Do you know that evolving your brand identity to reflect your brand purpose can have a great impact on your business growth?

According to Wikipedia, Evolution is the change in the heritable characteristics of biological populations over successive generations. In the whole concept of evolution, we have Darwin’s Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection. This theory states that those individuals with heritable traits better suited to the environment will survive while others won’t.

The same thing applies to your brand.

The theory of evolution has negative effects on brands that are not suited to the environment, and before long most of those brands die a natural death like extinct dinosaurs, while others survive.

Branding in simple terms is an idea in people’s mind about your product. It is the sum total of emotions, associations and beliefs about your brand, but your brand is identified or recognized by your name, logos or icons, fonts, colours, motifs and other visual, audio & sensory elements.

Branding started since the ancient Egyptian days, with livestock branding as early as 2,700 BC, to differentiate one person’s cattle from another’s. A metal is heated up and burnt into the skin of the animal (a logo) by which the animal can be identified among others. You could think of African tribal marks as another form of branding, especially the ones that immediately tell us where the individual is from.

However, in applying the principles of branding to your business there are about 3 basic things that your brand must do:

ONE. It must reflect your brand’s purpose or core idea. This is the reason for the brand’s existence in the first place.

You may say, the reason I’m in business is to make money, but that is not true. You chose that particular business because you saw a gap. Nobody is doing it, right? You can do it better, faster, with superior taste, in a different way, or in a location where no one has thought about, right?

Those are pointers to your purpose right there.

What is the underlying thing about your product(s) that if you stop selling that product, it will transcend to another product? That thing is your brand purpose.

You can think about Apple as a computer maker but that is not their purpose.

They metamorphosed into a brand that makes audio devices, phones, sells music, but one thing is consistent. You can see the Apple touch of simplicity, originality and rebellion against the norm in their approach to everything they produce.

TWO. It must differentiate you from the competition.

Unlike what we see in the market in most parts of Nigeria and Africa, a brand should actually differentiate, not imitate competition. A quick example will be bottled water in Lagos. 80% or more of bottled water in Lagos look alike – the bottle, the shape, the colours and design.

But, Eva came up with a unique bottle shape which stood out. My favourite is the CWAY bottled water with green packaging, breaking all the rules and allowing for a greater recall than other brands. Hence, they are able to stay in our minds.

THREE. Your logo should be usable and endear you to your target market.

So, you are producing and selling small bags of rice, the most important thing is that before your customers even taste your rice, you want them to love your brand (logo, colours, packaging etc). You want them to trust it naturally and feel like eating it, once they set their eyes on it.

So, if you have put a lot of work into your brand identity, why does it need to change or evolve?

EVOLUTION REASON ONE. When it starts to look like it was designed a decade ago.

Logos and brand identity are like tech. gadgets. How do you know a phone is old? How do you know a laptop is an old model? It’s all in the look and feel. You can tell that an item is old-model when it is compared to recent gadgets. Your logo is exactly the same.


See the evolution of the apple logo below to get a clue, and I bet you can see the evolution of first bank logo too


If your logo already looks like something designed a century ago. Change it or refine it; if you don’t you will soon become “old generation”!

EVOLUTION REASON TWO. When you need to move away from an association that has been known with your brand.

Over the lifetime of your brand, people begin to associate your brand with some ideas or beliefs. An example is that of old generation banks in Nigeria. How did they become old generation? Because new ones that were radically different emerged and changed the game. So for most old generation banks to depart from this idea, they had to change the way they look to align with the new generation,

EVOLUTION REASON THREE. When your business is making a major shift.

As your business grows, you will expand your vision, diversify, pivot (change core business), or do other things related. The same logo you had before making that major shift may not work for the new brand after the shift.

For example, a company into Ankara bags may pivot and start to make wooden products. The same logo or identity elements may start looking strange for a wood-making company even though they looked OK for an Ankara brand.

There are a lot more reasons you should consider evolving your brand identity, but that will be all for this post!

If you have any questions about online or offline advertising campaigns, marketing communications and strategy to bring the spotlight on your brand, visit now and drop a brief.