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How long has it been since your company really looked at its brand and brand positioning? If not recently, it's probably about time. With rapidly changing competitive landscapes, it's critical to be properly branded and positioned relative to your competition. But do you need to start over completely or simply rejuvenate your existing brand identify?
A Rebrand or a Refresh?
When a brand has not evolved very much over time, some adjustments may be needed to help it thrive and/or remain relevant. Instead of making wholesale changes, however, it's often better to refresh a brand to give it new life and enhanced meaning.
Rebranding is typically required when an organization’s actions, strategies and trajectory has grown apart from its values and those of the customers it serves. On the other hand, a brand refresh is appropriate when a company’s core vision, mission and target audience are still intact, but its branding begins to feel dated, tired or a little off the mark.
When to Rebrand
Rebranding is an intensive process that should only be considered in certain situations, including:
- When a company is going through an acquisition or merger
- When an existing brand is ineffective, inaccurate or executed poorly
- When a current brand is no longer connecting with new and existing customers
Unfortunately, a full-scale rebrand can come with some serious risks. For one, it could confuse or alienate a company's target audience. It could also make customers and employees feel betrayed if you fail to consider your brand equity.
When to Refresh
If they identify brand issues fast enough, companies can often make impactful adjustments with a strategic refresh that includes a minimal amount of updates. There are a variety of scenarios that might cause a company to consider a brand refresh, including:
- When it has been a while since the brand identity received an evaluation or attention
- When increasing competition has reduced a company's market share
- When a business is planning to expand based on success
- When branding materials lack consistency or are entirely nonexistent
What Goes into a Refresh?
Many times, it's helpful to look at a brand refresh somewhat like a makeover for your company. In essence, you will be maintaining a visual connection to how your company's brand identity is currently perceived, while making that identity more vibrant, up-to-date and appropriate for today's audiences. A refresh can either maintain or update recognized visual elements. It can also include a new tone, look or presentation that better engages modern audiences, while preserving brand equity.
While a rebrand might be likened to bulldozing an entire home, a refresh is more like remodeling or renovating the home's exterior. This might mean keeping the logo, but shifting the look. It might also mean adding new messaging, updating colors, expanding design systems and/or updating the visual connection. Some brand refreshes include new or updated slogans, fresh color palettes and font libraries, redesigned websites, new marketing materials, revised style guides and brand usage. Whatever the case, it's important to maintain brand consistency across print and online marketing materials, as well as social media channels.
Do You Need a Refresh?
As a business owner, you should always try to keep your branding current and fresh in a world where attention spans are decreasing and competition has run amok. If you feel your brand is no longer connecting with customers and prospects, it is probably time to rejuvenate it with a strategic refresh. It's also a good idea to consider a refresh before beginning any new marketing campaigns on the internet or in traditional media channels.