Last week, PayPal revealed its new identity and it has received widespread coverage. In the world of financial brands, radical change is rarely instigated for fear of unnerving consumers and having them take their money elsewhere. And sure enough, despite the change of identity, PayPal today seems the same familiar, if somewhat more contemporary-looking, friend to whom we’ve been entrusting our money online for 15 years.
But some people have questioned why the change was needed. After all, PayPal’s last identity was introduced only 7 years ago. Was it really lacking something or has the world moved on so significantly since then?
To answer that question, we have to look at the pace of change in our lives at the moment. When the last identity was revealed, Facebook and Twitter were only just starting to gain momentum and the smartphone revolution was nascent. Our relationship to technology and its impact on our daily lives has changed so considerably since then, that it is no wonder that a brand which plays such an important part in the digital space would question how it presents itself to consumers after a period of such transition.
But what does this mean for other brands? We’ve seen the likes of Johnson & Johnson and GE resolutely hang on to their identities for hundreds of years and still remain relevant and innovative. The simple fact is that change for change’s sake is never good. But when there are legitimate reasons both inside and outside an organisation to take a look at how a brand presents itself to the world, then it’s not the measure of time that is the deciding factor but the measure of an identity’s ability to contribute to the future success of the brand.