Ever since Bass Brewery trademarked its logo in 1876, companies have been coming up with their own symbols to differentiate their products and offer a way for the public to quickly identify with their brands.

Creating an image that serves this purpose is a tall order. Just ask Terri Goldstein, CEO of The Goldstein Group. Her New York-based firm has worked with some of America’s most familiar companies to recreate their images. The list of clients includes Gulden’s mustard, Act mouthwash and Luden’s throat drops.

Last year, Goldstein made her first foray into the world of pool chemicals by assisting Arch Chemicals, now a part of Lonza, with reimagining its Poolife brand. Before beginning, however, she and the Atlanta-based company spent six months conducting several rounds of qualitative and quantitative research.

“Before restaging a brand you have to understand how people come to think about, speak about, look for and recognize the brand,” she says. 

Early on, Goldstein oversaw four focus groups in which dealers and consumers participated in a number of questionnaires and activities, including a process she called color crayon research. This required the participants to draw what they recalled about any brand in the swimming pool chemical category. Ultimately, Goldstein determined that neither group associated specific colors or logos with Poolife, identifiers known as brand equities.

“They all knew the name and brand, and liked the brand, but there was no recall to [it],” she says. “It hadn’t been updated successfully in years.”

Permission was granted to change the brand’s look and packaging without the risk of losing any of its core identifiers.

Once she established the extent to which the brand could be restaged, Goldstein moved on to the next and perhaps most crucial aspect of the effort: the logo. It was important for the group to establish a positive image that consumers would associate with the product. Goldstein noticed that the product category lacked powerful imagery and believed it would benefit Lonza to incorporate a colorful and joyous look into the rebranding. In the end, she came up with a simple yet powerful image that triggered an emotional response to pool ownership: a simple pool towel and flip-flops.

“When restaging you need to create visceral reaction,” she explains. “When we went in with the sample artwork, dealers and consumers said, ‘I can imagine myself in the pool right now.’”

This change, she says, will increase loyalty to the brand, as well as attract new users and dealers. “When a brand on the outside has been paid attention to, consumers believe what’s on the inside is actually better,” she adds.