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Computer screen showing brand identity elements

Does your brand identity still work for you?

Clare Froggatt
Clare Froggatt

Your brand is usually the first thing that people see when they discover your business. If you love your branding and you feel confident standing in front of it (quite literally in some cases!) then you’re in a great position to promote your business. But not everyone feels good about their brand, and perhaps you’re considering investing in something new. Before you jump in with both feet, have you thought about a brand refresh instead?

What's the difference between rebranding and a brand refresh?

Rebranding is like knocking down your house and starting again.

Take the The Co-Op as an example. In 2016, the business rebranded to coincide with a significant change in its membership offer. The change included a new logo, colour palette, and typeface – a complete and radical change from the bottom up.

A brand refresh is less drastic but can be just as effective. It’s the equivalent of redecorating your home or adding an extension – it’s the same house, just improved!

A few years ago, I refreshed my brand at Make a Brew. I updated my colours to include brighter and bolder shades, added a more authoritative blue, and changed my typeface to something more formal. This new-look helped me strengthen my position in a niche market and establish myself as a branding expert.

When should you consider refreshing your brand identity?

There are times in the lifecycle of a business when you might want to consider re-branding entirely, for example:  

  • your business has changed – you’ve added new products/ services or expanded into a new market and your branding doesn’t reflect what you do anymore
  • your logo was on-trend at the time it was designed, but it’s starting to look tired and you need something more contemporary to keep up with the changing times
  • you hit a milestone, such as 10 years in business, and want to mark the occasion with an updated look

Or, if your branding isn’t bringing in sales then you might want to consider changing it.

However, there may just be things about your current branding that don’t feel quite right, or things that have always niggled you. If you don’t feel confident using your visual identity to promote your business then it’s probably time for a brand refresh.

Rent2You Brand Refresh

Here’s a recent refresh we did for Letting agents ‘Rent 2 You’ who wanted a more professional looking logo and more of a smile incorporated in their logo.

How to refresh your branding in three steps

To refresh your branding, consider these three important aspects. 

1. Your positioning

This is the foundation for any change in your brand identity. Start by looking at where you are now and then consider where you want to be. Your products, services and customers might already have changed, or you might be preparing for a change.

Likewise, your values might have changed and this is just as important. In the example above, The Co-op decided to rebrand after a change in their brand values designed to give new life to one of their founding principles – to put members at the heart of what they do.

This doesn’t just mean a change in visuals, it could also be a change in strapline, tone of voice, or key messaging. If you’re a solopreneur you might also want to amend your job title or change the way you refer to your role.

2. Your brand identity

Your brand identity is a collection of things that includes your:

  • logo
  • colour palette
  • typeface
  • brand marks, like patterns and icons
  • assets, such as photos and graphics

Volkswagen, for example, recently updated their old-fashioned logo for a clean contemporary design that has a minimalist feel. The VW logo has been around for 70 years but this recent change reflects the latest trends in design. This subtle change is critical for a company that sells cars partly based on the way they look.

Other household names like Starbucks and eBay have made similar changes. Starbucks dropped the text from around the icon to give the mermaid more prominence. While eBay kept the same, familiar colour palette, but dropped the messy text arrangement.

3. Your marketing

Once you’ve taken delivery of your new, refreshed identity, you can start to phase out your old logo. Think about all the places you currently use it, for example:

  • stationery, such as letter heads
  • website
  • social media
  • online advertising
  • marketing collateral, such as brochures
  • uniform
  • packaging
  • signage

You may not be able to change everything overnight, but when you go to have something reprinted, think about upgrading it to reflect your new identity.

Consider also how your refreshed branding will impact things like your online display adverts and pay-per-click. If your tone of voice and messaging has changed, then you’ll need to reflect this in your sales copy. And the same goes for your website – key landing pages, like your home page and product pages, will probably need to be updated.

If you’ve redefined your target market or you’re trying to appeal to a new market, then ask yourself if your messaging and photography also needs to change.

Rebrand - refresh 3 steps to success

Refreshed and reinvented

A brand refresh could be something as simple as a tweak in your colour palette or an update to your typeface, or it might be a change to all aspects of your brand identity. However subtle (or not) the changes are, giving your branding a bit of TLC can make a world of difference. Refreshing your brand has the potential to:

  • re-ignite your passion and make you proud to represent your business
  • renew your customers’ interest in buying from you
  • bring your identity up-to-date with a contemporary look and feel

There is no doubt that refreshing your branding is less drastic than a complete overhaul, but it can be just as effective. If you’re considering upgrading your identity, I can help. I’m a branding expert from Yorkshire, so I like to sit down with my clients and have a brew (and, if you’re not from Yorkshire, then a brew is a cup of tea). Let’s chat about how we can show the world how awesome your business is.

For lots of FREE hints and tips on developing your business with great branding, including advice on how to begin a brand refresh, join my Facebook group. You’re promised a friendly welcome and no hard-sell, just lots of help from the branding experts at Make a Brew. #letsbuildyourbrand #brandrefresh #rebrand

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