Is it time for a brand refresh?

Is it time for a brand refresh?

Is it time for a brand refresh?

eSo you are probably asking, what exactly is a brand refresh?

In simple terms, a brand refresh can be thought of as a makeover or renovation of your company. I am not talking a total overhaul of your company (even though that is always an option) but something simpler. A few tweaks here and there to your brand that will help change the way your company is perceived.

By making slight revisions to your branding and its positioning, you can . . .
•    Preserve your brand’s existing integrity
•    Infuse new energy into the business
•    Ensure your company image keeps current in a changing marketplace
•    Expand your company’s reach to new customers and create buzz among existing customers.

In today’s economy this is the direction many companies are going. It requires less risk than a complete brand overhaul and can get you the results you need. You might argue that you already have a strong logo that works well but over time things change and you need to keep from becoming outdated. Regardless of the size of your company or the industry you are in, change is always on the horizon, and you must adjust to compete. This may require expanding your market or offering different products or even following style trends.

How do you know when it’s the right time to refresh your brand?

If your organization is facing one of the five scenarios listed below, a brand refresh (or overhaul) is definitely worth considering.

1. Your branding is outdated. 
Your logo might have been revolutionary when you started your business, but now it  has aged (perhaps not so well), and your organization’s image is suffering as a result. Take an honest look at your visual branding and assess whether it’s moving you forward or holding you back. Your identity should represent you in a fresh and contemporary way.
2. Your products or services have changed. 
Is your brand messaging an accurate reflection of who you are and what you offer today, or  is it outdated? Most companies grow and evolve over time to stay relevant. For example, Starbucks originated in1971 as a local coffee bean roaster and retailer, and their logo up until 2011 prominently featured the word “coffee” but over the years they have expanded their business to include espresso beverages, teas, ice cream, etc. which ultimately led to dropping “coffee” from their name.
3. Your current branding is inconsistent. 
Maybe you use one version of your logo on your website and another on your printed materials. Not to mention all the different taglines you are using because you can’t make up your mind. This is confusing and can be detrimental to your brand. You need to be consistent or your clients won’t understand what you are offering, or worse, you may be seen as unreliable and sloppy.
4. You’re not reaching your target audience. 
You may no longer be reaching the people you want because your target market has shifted since your initial branding efforts, or maybe you’ve decided that your products and services are best aimed at a broader or narrower audience. Regardless, a refresh will allow you to reach exactly the people you want.
5. You’re preparing for growth
. If you’re expecting to see your business increase in the near future, either because of marketing efforts, a new product line, or a merger, it’s a good time to reassess your brand and be sure that it has what it takes to carry your business through that change.

Just to be clear, I am not advocating that you give your brand a little aesthetic update every few years just because you want to show you are in step with changing times. All decisions should be rooted in a comprehensive brand strategy that you have created for your company. You shouldn’t make a change just because it seems like everyone else is; it needs to make sense to your business. Take a look at your visual identity and messaging, then determine what parts of your brand still have value and should be retained and what should be refreshed to make the brand representative of who you are today and where you are going. You want to maintain the integrity of your existing logo, while making modifications that are definitely noticeable, but not too drastic. It could be as subtle as a change in the width of a font; the sizing, scaling and placement of an image; a change in the color palette; or even a new tagline. A rebranding effort will look slightly different for every company but ultimately the end result should give your company that added flash that enables you to be more effective in revitalizing your company and helping you reach your audience by informing them of what you do, and ultimately bringing in revenue.

~ Bethany Howell, art director

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