Is it time to Refresh your Brand?

28 September, 2013

Picture 1A brand is a promise – the promise a product makes to the market place. It’s the promise of the value and experience you get when you engage with that brand. Although a company’s visual brand identity is not the only thing that makes up the brand, it is the first thing everyone sees. Your brand is the silent communicator that says who you are and what you promise your customers and stakeholders. It’s the reflection of what your company stands for and what sets you apart.

But if your brand has been around for a while, or if you’re shifting the focus of the brand then you might not be getting the results from your brand that you need. That doesn’t mean you have to toss it out altogether. Most businesses don’t need a complete brand overhaul – too expensive and risky – but what you might need is a breath of fresh air in your visual brand identity and promise, while still retaining the equity you’ve worked so hard to achieve.

Does your brand need a shake of its tail-feathers? Some questions to think about:

1. Is your brand still relevant?

Perhaps you need to infuse new energy into your brand offering. I bet you wouldn’t introduce yourself as worn-out, stuck in your ways, inflexible and boring. Yet this is easily communicated by an out-dated and irrelevant visual identity. When a brand loses relevance, it loses impact.

2. Does it have rapport with its target audience?

For a brand and its target audience to relate well to each other, there needs to be mutual understanding and trust. As soon as your customers feel that you’re no longer on the same wavelength, that you no longer ‘get’ them, the relationship suffers and the customers dwindle.

3. Is it differentiated enough from its competitors?

You need to ensure your brand stands out in a dynamic market place. Supported by a reviatlised brand positioning, a simple brand refresh can give the brand significant forward momentum while preserving its existing value.

4. What is your brand’s reputation?

The brands we choose define us and set us apart from everyone else.

Consciously or not, your brand has been socially evaluated against an invisible set of criteria, pre-determined by your market. Do you know how you measure up?

5. Does the brand still live up to its brand values?

A simple audit will give you the answer to this one. Measuring the visual brand identity against the stated values, one by one, will tell you whether your identity (or values) are still current.

6. Are you introducing a new product or service?

You want to expand your company’s reach to new customers, create a buzz among existing customers and infuse new energy into your offerings. If this addition falls outside of your normal brand repertoire, it might be worth tweaking your brand identity. Without this, you run the risk of customers being unable to connect your brand and its new product or service.

7. Are you anticipating a change in management or undergoing a merger with another company?

This is a tricky one but the general rule of thumb is to add before you take away. This might mean two brand names while customers get used to the idea, and then dropping the first completely one over time.

You’ve answered the questions, have clear goals and are ready to move forward with a brand refresh. Before you jump into the creative, it makes sense to do the groundwork to ensure that the new visual identity is on brand and on target. Here’s how:

 1. Don’t rush the process

Refreshing a brand can’t be done in an afternoon, especially when you need buy-in from important brand stakeholders. Get employee opinions, customer opinions and shareholder opinions, and use their input to craft your new brand message.

2. Refine the brand message

This is where you get to articulate what makes you special, different and better. It includes why you do what you do, whom this best serves and which products fit their wants and needs.

3. Evaluate the visual identity

Does the current visual identity fit with the polished brand message? Which brand elements still work, and which of them need to be updated to represent the new brand?

4. Nail the creative

Now’s the right time to brief the creative team to visually portray the tweaked brand message. Make sure that the integrity of the existing logo is maintained and that any changes are noticeable but subtle. The mantra is evolution not revolution. If you’ve done points 1 to 3 well enough, you’ll know the right design when you see it.

The reasons for your brand refresh must be clear and never be implemented on a whim. You might be tired of the way your brand looks, but don’t forget your customers see it half as often as you do. Refreshing a brand is a strategic business decision with definite goals, not something to be taken lightly. On the other hand, if your identity doesn’t represent you in a fresh, contemporary way, it might be worth updating.

Does your brand say what you want it to say?


Robyn Young - Personal Leadership Branding for Executives

About the Author

Robyn Young

As a personal leadership branding strategist, Robyn Young helps individuals identify and articulate their unique strengths, values and goals, empowering them to build an authentic personal brand that resonates with their stakeholders.

Robyn has a keen eye for aligning personal attributes with professional aspirations, helping her clients project a powerful and compelling image in their chosen field.