More often than not brand identity is treated like some sacrosanct object, kept rigid and inflexible in the pursuit of brand equity and awareness. It's hard to argue against that goal, but there may be some counter-intuitive ways to reach the same goal.
I'm beginning to see several leading marketers loosen the reins on their brand identity to allow their brands to seem more topical and relevant.
My partner Bob Barrie turned me on to the latest example: Coke Zero in the UK is temporarily changing its name to Coke Zero Zero 7 to celebrates the brand's tie-in with the upcoming Bond Film, "Quantum Solace."
I think Google may have set this trend in motion with its willingness to change its logo everyday to make the brand appear plugged into the zeitgeist of the moment.
MasterCard flexes its logo at the end of each commercial to echo the idea of each spot, making the identity seem an intrinsic part of the spot and not just a closing punctuation mark.
When I was at Saatchi & Saatchi we developed a very flexible and fun way for Toyota's "moving forward" themeline to appear on the screen in a way that extended the storyline of the commercial.
Each of these examples comes from marketers that show great confidence in their brand, as well as respect for the customer's intelligence.