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Is it time for a brand refresh?

time for a brand refresh?
Clare Froggatt
Clare Froggatt

New year, new you? Okay, I know it’s corny, but the start of a new year does get people thinking about making changes, both personally and professionally. But how do you know whether the new year is the right time for a brand refresh? 

And how do you know when you should choose a brand refresh, rather than a complete rebranding?

If you are unsure what to do next and need some advice, talk to the branding experts at Make a Brew to discuss whether your business needs rebranding or whether a brand refresh will invigorate your brand and move it forward.  Contact the team or book a friendly brew with me to talk about your branding strategy.

Is it time for a brand refresh?

Although they are related concepts, choosing between a brand refresh and a rebrand depends on a number of different factors

Your vision

Has your vision changed? Are you heading in a new direction and your brand doesn’t really represent what you do now?

Business goals

As your business has evolved, have your goals changed? Have you adapted your marketing strategy to achieve your goals? The way you do business may have to change to align with your new goals.

Trading/market conditions

Have there been significant changes in the trading environment? For example, new technology, new competitors? Has fierce competition taken the market in a new direction? Do you feel that your brand is lagging behind new players in the market?

Your audience

Has the way you connect with your customers changed? For example, do you connect with them more online than in person?

The lifecycle of your brand

At what stage in the lifecycle is your brand? For example, was your logo trendy when it was designed, but it now looks a bit old-fashioned, especially when compared to your competitors?

Whether to choose a brand refresh or a rebrand?

There are several key differences between these two concepts:

The extent of changes

Rebranding is a complete overhaul of a brand. 

It involves making changes to everything in order to change how the brand is perceived in the marketplace:

  • Brand name
  • Logo
  • Fonts
  • Visual identity
  • Message
  • Values
  • Brand positioning
  • Communications

 

However, a brand refresh is more subtle and involves updating or tweaking the existing elements, making minor adjustments to adapt to changes in the factors I outlined above. 

In other words, you may bring the logo up to date, modernise the colour palette and make minor changes to brand messaging, but make sure that the core identity and brand values remain the same.

Why change?

The reasons behind a brand refresh or rebrand will determine which one is right for you. 

Taking into account the factors I listed above, if a business experiences a big shift in its strategy, has changed its target audience or merged with another company, then a complete overhaul of the brand may be necessary in order to adapt to these major changes. 

Another reason for a rebrand is for a business to disassociate itself from a disruptive occurrence or event and/or negative perceptions in the marketplace.

On the other hand, a brand refresh simply makes sure that the brand remains relevant and up to date. 

The reason behind the change is to move with the times, respond to an evolving market, widen the audience. It is about adapting, not transforming – an evolution rather than a revolution!

Time

Rebranding is a long-term strategy and will take time to complete with the rollout over a number of weeks or months. 

Whereas a brand refresh can be achieved quickly because changes are more incremental or subtle.

Business owners also need to think carefully about the internal and external disruption caused by a rebrand. Because it is transformational, a rebrand requires extensive communication or an explanation to all stakeholders.

A brand refresh is more of a development than a rethink or start again from scratch methodology, so changes are more likely to be accepted without explanation or communication, unless of course you choose to make them a talking point to encourage customer engagement:

  • What do you think of our new logo?
  • Do you like our new colours?
  • What do you think of our logo redesign? 
  • Have you seen our new Instagram page?

 

So, although both strategies are about brand identity and whether it is fit for purpose, the reasons for choosing one or the other are quite different. 

Think of a rebrand as a transformation, when a company has taken a new direction or needs to disassociate itself from the old way of doing things. 

Think of a brand refresh as an update. It is more natural brand evolution to stay relevant to the market and customers.

Is it time for a brand refresh?

Sometimes, evolution is preferable to a revolution, so if it isn’t completely broken, it’s time for a brand refresh:

  1. Your brand is well-received, perceived in a positive light but looks a bit old-fashioned and needs modernising. It has to evolve to stay relevant, but you need to retain its equity.
  2. If brand recognition is strong, you may want to update without losing the familiarity and engagement you have built up.
  3. If the market is changing or evolving, it is important that your brand moves with it, but without losing its identity or credibility.
  4. A brand refresh costs less time, money, and other resources. So, if your resources are limited, it is the best short-term remedy to reinvigorate your brand.
  5. If your brand has to align with new market trends or customer journeys, a brand refresh allows for subtle changes without changing its identity or losing brand equity.
  6. If the cores values of your brand are still strategically aligned with your business vision and goals, a brand refresh will refine or adapt certain elements.

If you want to see a few examples of a brand refresh, take a look at:

You can also check out how other big names refreshed their brands, for example, McDonalds; Nike; Dunkin’ Donuts; Coca-Cola; Burger King.

Showing your brand some love via a refresh can invigorate it and boost interest:

  • Brings your identity up to date, so your brand remains relevant in today’s market
  • Helps to renew passion in your brand – for you, your employees and your customers
  • Engages new customers
  • Boosts sales

If you think 2024 is the right time for a brand refresh, why not book a brew with me? As a branding expert, I can talk to you about your fabulous business and discuss how I can help you to reinvigorate your brand, so it remains current and relevant but reached new heights!

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