Rebranding is a nebulous concept — it can entail everything from a new company name, redesigned logo, new colorway, design elements, and more. The challenge is that a “rebrand” can also be used as a flashy buzzword that ultimately ends up adding relatively little business value. And in the worst case scenario, it can actually have a negative impact on business value if a complete change means throwing away years of established brand equity.
This is why Engel & Völkers didn’t rebrand, but rather, refined.
Senior Vice President of Marketing for Engel & Völkers Americas Katelyn Castellano shares a behind-the-scenes look at the process of refining an iconic legacy brand.
How do you define brand refinement?
The literal definition of refined is “elegant and cultured in appearance” and “developed or improved to be precise or subtle.” We see this in marketing quite often; look no further than brands such as Apple, Starbucks, and Instagram. They have all refined their look and feel over the years, but most importantly, consumers still intuitively recognize them and what they represent.
Why was now the right time for Engel & Völkers to refine?
The brand we’ve built globally over the past nearly fifty years is our most valuable asset. However, we also understand the importance of adapting to the digital era and meeting consumers where they are. Our brand has always been focused on protecting its identity, so the question we faced was how to evolve in the right way. Rather than changing who we are, this refinement allows us to be more of who we are.
How did you approach this project?
As real estate professionals, our brand is a vital aspect of our business. It elicits trust, recognition, and appeal among both consumers and industry peers alike. Before making any changes to an existing brand, you really have to understand what it means to consumers today and how it will continue to serve them tomorrow.
For Engel & Völkers, we’ve built a brand synonymous with heritage and history. Our global presence consists of shops around the world that are all built to convey the brand; each is designed with the same aesthetic to be instantly recognizable for consumers, whether in Milan, Montreal, or Montana. When people see an Engel & Völkers shop or sign, they instantly understand the level of service and professionalism they’re going to receive. We needed to preserve these attributes as we modernized our visual identity.
What was the process?
Ensuring your brand resonates with both consumers today and in the future is no small task. Through the visual evolution of any brand, it’s critical not to lose sight of core identity and values. For Engel & Völkers, that meant an aesthetic that combines both heritage and modernity, legacy and innovation, and practical applications in a digital-first world, allowing our brand to operate at its very highest level.
The refinement was a two-year-long process, involving a highly iterative process based on feedback from consumer and real estate focus groups as well as input from our license partners, advisors, and country leaders throughout the global network.
I am very proud of the results: an updated, yet clearly recognizable Engel & Völkers logo and aesthetic patterns carried throughout an arsenal of digital-first assets and marketing materials.
How does your network feel about the refined look and feel of the brand?
Based on our latest surveys, an overwhelming 90% of our network is satisfied with the refinement. We’ve also introduced a phased rollout so our shops and advisors can adapt elements in alignment with their business plans. All in all, a true success.