4 Principles for a Brand Refresh
17 June 2015
Your brand is your identity, encompassing all that is great and recognisable about your company. A brand refresh is a tricky subject because so many companies think it means an overhaul.
Some companies avoid doing it because they’re scared of the impact on business. Regardless, read our advice for keeping your customers on-board and your brand future-proof.
Many of the globe’s biggest brands, FedEx, Starbucks and the alike have all undergone minimal brand refreshes when the time was right and unless you’re in the design industry or read a news article about it, you’re unlikely to have really noticed.
These are brand refreshes done well, whereas companies like GAP have failed by completely losing their audience with a new direction altogether.
The most important factor is to understand what your company offers, how it differs from your competitors, what your customers love and gain from our brand and how to keep all of that ‘future proof’.
Rebrand vs. Refresh
There are key differences between brand refreshes and complete rebrands, so decide carefully which one you really need:
Refresh: A facelift which leverages existing brand equity while expanding the look, feel and messaging with fresh treatments and positioning. This doesn’t always mean an overtly new look or feel to a brand, but might mean developing certain elements, such as expanding on an existing colour palette (rather than a new one altogether), improving your brand messaging or changing photography styles.
Rebrand: Includes developing an entirely new name and logo.
Follow our advice and stick to considering the future of your brand, only when one of these four instances occur:
1. Your company, industry or time itself has evolved
Companies have to react to changes in their industry or other advancements that ultimately affect their positioning in today’s market. Does your company reflect the digital age and does it portray how you are forward thinking within in your industry?
2. The products and services of your company have changed and are no longer reflected in your brand identity
Has your product or service offering expanded or developed over time? Equally, has your company changed the way it communicates with customers or have internal systems been overhauled? All of these things can distance your company from the original brand identity that you have set up.
If your company looks different on the inside, it should be the same on the outside.
3. You’re branching out into new audiences or launching a sub-brand
This is when decisions have to be made at a senior level. If you’re launching a sub-brand, does it need to relate to the original company or are you diversifying your offering?
If you’re simply evolving your current company by adding products or targeting new audiences you should remain recognisable to your early adopters, but engage your new targets by refreshing certain elements to incorporate these future plans.
4. You no longer have physical or emotional distinction amongst your competitors
As with most industries, a lot of companies can follow popular patterns or trends, design wise, meaning that companies all have that feel of ‘similarity’ in particular sectors.
Be distinctive in your brand messaging so that you target the right audiences, rather than looking like you’re taking part in a game of ‘follow the leader’ and following the same design constraints as everybody else.
Most importantly, don’t be afraid to occasionally take a step back and review your internal and external communications and brand messaging. Ensure that everyone is on the same page and communicating the same message and brand personality that suits tomorrow, not yesterday.
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