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The Case for Marketing Evolution, Not Disruption

Disruption, revolution, change… these terms are commonly used by marketing and design firms when describing what needs to happen for your new marketing materials to work. Disruption sends the signal that you’ll benefit from new thinking and hopefully reach new audience members.

For many organizations, however, disruption summons a combination of distress, revulsion, and concern. You have budgets, timelines, and stakeholders to keep in mind. How much does disruption cost? How long does it take? Will revolutionary ideas even fly with our target market?

The added stress of “disruption” may make the design and content creation process overly difficult and slow to start.  That leads to feeling disconnected from the entire process.

Here’s our case for choosing marketing evolution over disruption when making a major upgrade to your marketing materials.

Marketing evolution is collaborative

Successful marketing is a collaborative effort – it’s a fusion between parties. By discussing what did – and did not – work in the past, you and the design team create a shared understanding around goals, audiences, and needs. This allows for a foundation that can be built upon, and it creates a smoother discovery process. 

Everyone can – and should – contribute. You share institutional knowledge, and the design partners brings an outside perspective to that knowledge. All members of the team feel heard and ready to build upon what came before.

Marketing evolution leaves room for familiarity

You probably do not want to completely rebrand your organization due to brand equity, budgets, timelines… any number of reasons. When you and the design team work together to understand and boost existing equity, visual designs and content can create new energy.

Your audience will recognize that the organization is evolving yet still feels familiar. This builds trust with your existing clients, who shouldn’t be forgotten. They’ve contributed to your success thus far, and their excitement can help connect a new audience to your brand.

Marketing evolution succeeds when expectation are clear

Just like disruption, evolution has as much risk as any other design effort. It can fail, but we have found that if expectations are clear and agreed upon early in the process, it will succeed. Much like the shared understanding that arises during discovery, this open and honest conversation during the proposal process will help determine if evolution is called for and if both parties are ready for it.

Marketing evolution in real life

We recently worked on a redesign effort for the Environmental Council of States (ECOS).

Our goals were to:

  • Remind users of the breadth of the country’s environment
  • Improve the user experience of the homepage so that a variety of content and initiatives may be promoted
  • Keep it easy for members to search for information, a key finding during our preliminary user experience work

Thanks to early conversations, a long working history with ECOS, and a fruitful discovery conversation, we knew that this was the perfect time to evolve the website. This is where the evolutionary strategy help clients shine. New audiences can engage with content while their current audience won’t feel like the organization’s history was abandoned to chase a trend.

Meet Guest Blogger Mal Jones

Mal Jones is a founder, designer, and illustrator at Rocketkoi. Rocketkoi is a small team that delivers big results for small- to medium-sized businesses and nonprofits. They provide reliable expertise, goal-oriented design, and outstanding customer service to every client. Learn more about them at

Photo by from Pexels

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