Think Twice Before Updating Your Brand 2022

November 9, 2022



Brands are constantly changing in order to “stay fresh”, but that’s a mistake. Customers stay loyal through habit, not because you’ve forced something new and unfamiliar on them. Roger Martin, former dean of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto and one of the world’s leading thinkers on strategy, says brands shouldn’t be so quick to throw away their cumulative advantage.

00:00 Customer loyalty–their consciously choosing your brand–is only half the story.
01:00 What is cumulative advantage, and why is it important?
02:14 Just how fragile is this cumulative advantage?
02:45 Example: Tide laundry detergent forfeits its cumulative advantage.
04:54 Instagram redesigns a familiar icon. Why?
06:03 So, should brands never do anything new?

For more from Roger Martin on this topic, read, “A New Way to Think: Your Guide to Superior Management Effectiveness”: https://www.amazon.com/New-Way-Think-Management-Effectiveness-ebook/dp/B09KHKWB7B

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12 Comments
  1. This is the same with Derek Thompson’s MAYA

  2. From india

  3. Very interesting and insightful

  4. Very interesting. However, is it possible that this is only applicable to certain types of products? A product like detergent is something people do not want to experiment with (often time) or even looking forward to have disrupting changes when they are completely comfortable with current level of performance.
    On the contrary a technological product that do not evolve/update often (both features and design) can easily get replaced by a new and hot app released over the weekend. Physical design of iPhone has remained very similar to the first release, however iOS has changed dramatically over the years. Though it may seem subtle, Apple has even changed their brand identity over time including the logo, fonts and colours. Therefore is it possible that this is only applicable to products that customer do not expect drastic changes? Products that customers are comfortable with current level of performance?

  5. Thats explain why iphone SE still exist

  6. The original Instagram button icon was over-designed and too literal. That's why it needed updating. Also the new Instagram icon design reflects a suite of tools including Boomerang, Layout, and Hyperlapse. It's clear why the IG logo rebranded.

  7. I guess this only works for physical product. After updating Instagram logo it didn't fail.

  8. well – I guess one has to say that the "refresh" of a brand very much depends on the "how". An attentive designer changes a brands personality only with very much attention to what the old strengths were and how to enforce them. Designers who solely focus on styling accidentally destroy the habit of the customer 🙂

  9. Great insights.

  10. Reply
    Omodiagbe Dominic Edeoghon November 9, 2022 at 5:07 pm

    Explains the failure of New Coke.

  11. Reply
    Safiullah Wasiullah November 9, 2022 at 5:07 pm

    Thanks for sharing HBR

  12. Awesome

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