Rebrand vs a brand refresh – which is best for you?

The equity of your brand is one of your greatest business assets. So how do you modernise a brand customers know and love without compromising its equity?

It’s a well-known business truth that brands become stagnant if they aren’t open to change. For this reason, reviewing your brand strategy is now common business practice, but any changes you make should have a business objective behind them.

To identify whether change is necessary for your brand and where updates need to be made, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Does the brand identity and language accurately reflect the business?
  2. Is the brand resonating with customers?
  3. Do your team members understand how they contribute to brand success?
  4. Is the brand being applied consistently across all customer touchpoints?

When a brand is successful, the answers to most of these questions will be ‘yes’, although an indicator that your brand strategy needs updating is when that ‘yes’ is followed by a ‘but’. For example, if the answer to the brand language question is ‘yes, but I feel that the language could be more personal’, this is an indicator that your company has evolved and the branding needs to catch up.

In this instance, a brand refresh may be more valuable to your business than a complete rebrand. Refreshing your brand rather than starting from scratch provides you with an opportunity to not only refine your visual identity, but also to redefine what the brand stands for and how these core values are communicated both internally and externally.

What is a brand refresh?

A brand refresh is an evaluative process where we identify the challenges and opportunities for your business and make subtle refinements to reinforce its position in the marketplace. This ensures your brand continues to be relevant without damaging the equity you’ve worked so hard to build.

Situations when a brand refresh is appropriate include:

  • Your brand feels stale or outdated
  • Branding is not applied consistently
  • You are repositioning your business
  • Your brand has matured or is preparing for growth

In the brand refresh process, we define the elements that are working and those that aren’t pulling their weight, and we also reassess where the business is currently at and where it is going. This allows us to make small updates to the visual identity and brand language.

The recent Qantas brand refresh is an example of a company strategically modernising its brand. Since Qantas was founded more than 80 years ago, it has refreshed its identity just five times. The latest refresh was unveiled to coincide with the airline’s launch of a new fleet of Boeing 787 Dreamliners, signalling to consumers that the company remains modern and dynamic ahead of its upcoming centenary.

What to expect in the brand refresh process

A brand refresh is an opportunity to align your branding with your business strategy. You will see the best results from your brand if you take the time to define your ongoing business objectives prior to the refresh process.

During a brand refresh, we refine your brand strategy and review each element of the brand to ensure you are effectively and consistently communicating your brand promise and brand story.

Refinements made during a brand refresh project may include:

  • Subtly refining/modernising the logo
  • Updating the brand colour palette
  • Modernising photography style
  • Reviewing brand statements and technical descriptors
  • Refining the design of all business collateral
  • Implementing a new brand style guide
  • Reviewing internal and external communication strategies

The result of this process is a more cohesive identity that better reflects your business. It also provides you with a strong framework to continue developing your brand as your business grows.

What makes a brand refresh different to a rebrand?

The rebranding process is a lot more in depth. It signals a change of direction for a business and can involve the creation of a completely new identity, brand story and even a business name. This process is suited to businesses that need to reinvent themselves because their business or market has changed so much that the current brand is no longer adequate.

When a brand carries a lot of equity, a rebrand can be unnecessarily disruptive to the business. Unlike rebranding, which rebuilds a brand from the ground up, a brand refresh refines your brand to better reflect who you are, what your offer and what you stand for.

To see a brand refresh project in action, see the work we recently did for Little Tokyo Two – a series of co-working spaces that had grown up and needed a stronger identity and set of brand guidelines.

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