Over the weekend, my daughter wanted to update the look of her bedroom to reflect, as she told me on more than one occasion, …the “new her.” Well, as we finished painting and as she started moving the furniture around and bringing new stuff into the room as well, it occurred to me that she was just “refreshing” the look of the room and not “rebranding” who she was as a person. You see, while the color of her room had changed, a lot of other things remained the same because they spoke to who she is and what’s important to her. And the same thing holds true for companies…maybe yours, as well.
And herein lies the question: When the need arises, should you be rebranding or just refreshing your brand?
As we know, rebranding your business can be an intensive process that can literally redefine a company from the ground up. It’s more than just slapping on a new coat of colors. Instead, a rebrand is a complete redo of an already established brand because the brand has become somewhat stale, insignificant, or are just dated. This often happens when the brand has been around for a while, regardless of size or industry. Contributing factors include: aggressive competition, becoming “lost in time” with an aging customer base, or industry changes that begin to turn a company’s brand irrelevant.
However, rebranding a company from the ground up might not be the best bet for several reasons. For one, rebranding a company tends to erase history in the mind of the customer and you not only run the risk alienating current customers but confounding prospective customers. Oh, and don’t forget about the money that’s involved. Still, for many businesses, it’s necessary in order to stay competitive.
However, it is possible to take a small-scale approach by simply refreshing your brand. Think of it as remodeling your home. It’s still the same house that keeps you safe and warm; you’re just replacing the dark brown shag carpeting with hardwood floors and the yellow tile countertops with granite. It’s more of a remodel of your existing brand than a complete rebuild.
Ok, so why should you be considering this option? Well, if your company has been around for a while, maybe it’s time to revitalize your dated look, or make it more appealing to a contemporary audience, or target a new audience, or address current market conditions. This involves revising/reinvigorating a brand’s positioning and branding imagery to ensure that the messaging is not only strategically sound, but that the brand’s look is up-to-date while still keeping much of the brand’s equity. In short, it’s less of an overhaul, and more of a clarification. The brand name is left untouched, but there are changes in the logo design. Maybe it’s the sizing, placement and type of images and graphics to be used or additional shades of brand colors. It could be a new look to your website, packaging or a change in the tagline.
With this in mind, here are five things are worth considering:
- Regardless of the reason, make sure to clearly define why it’s necessary to rebrand or refresh a brand and then share your rationale with your team members and other key company stakeholders to encourage buy-in.
- Going back to the remodeling metaphor, you wouldn’t grab a hammer and just start knocking down walls around your house without plan. The same holds true for refreshing your brand. In short, have a plan in place that takes into account budget, timeline, parts of your business that will be affected (i.e., marketing materials, logos, signage, etc).
- You don’t want to invest in a major brand refresh only to have to do it again anytime soon. Stay away from the flavor of the month or trends that are popular today but may not have the staying power to keep your brand current long-term. That said, it would be a good idea to consult with marketing experts who know how to do this. I’ll say this respectfully….don’t think you can do this yourself. You can’t.
- If you can, it’s never a bad idea to let your most important customers know what you’re doing. You don’t have to let them know everything up front but it would be good to give them a “heads-up” prior to the rest of the world seeing it.
- Don’t change for the sake of change. Don’t refresh or redesign your brand simply because you’re tired of it. It should be a clear-headed business decision that has a purpose.
Refreshing your brand is no walk in the park. It takes a lot of preparation and hard work to do it right, but it can help to ensure your brand stays fresh and continues to resonate with your customers. What better way to say “hey, we’re changing with the times” than to refresh your company image.