Want to reset your brand without tearing down everything? A simple brand refresh can work wonders to spruce up your business and make it feel more current.
Make a fresh start with our brand refresh checklist to reset your brand and start anew.
Brand refresh versus rebrand
If your branding feels obsolete, it’s important to assess whether you need to refresh it or go for a full rebrand. A brand refresh can be seen as an update, with your core identity remaining the same. It can include tweaking your logo, changing fonts (here’s some inspirational fonts to get you started) or revisiting your color palette. A rebrand, on the other hand, is about creating a new identity for your brand from scratch.
Make sure you make the difference between the two concepts before devising your brand refresh project plan. If you’ve been through big changes and your brand identity doesn’t reflect the company’s values and mission anymore, refreshing your logo won’t be enough. However, if you’re looking to stay up-to-date with market trends and keep your competitive edge, a brand refresh might be just what you need.
Define what needs changing
The first step to a successful brand refresh is to assess your strengths and weaknesses. It might seem obvious, but a refresh can mean lots of different things, so it’s important to identify what needs updating and what doesn’t. Start by benchmarking your competitors to see what they feel, look and sound like.
Then, look at your brand guide – logo, color palette, fonts, tone of voice… Do they each stand out from competitors? Are they immediately recognizable? Can someone who doesn’t know the company immediately understand what you’re selling – or, at the very least, what industry you’re in? Add your weakest brand assets to your brand refresh checklist – they’re the ones that will need your attention.
Timing is everything
Resetting your brand should be a carefully planned decision. Your brand refresh might be long overdue, but make sure you release it at the right time to get the best results. A brand update is a great way to build momentum when you’re approaching the next milestone as a company. Planning a new product launch next year? You might want to make it coincide with your brand refresh announcement so all the eyes are on you when your product is finally available.
Empathize with your audience
Every good brand refresh starts with empathy. Chances are you’re currently considering a brand refresh exactly because you feel like you’re losing touch with your audience. Follow the principles of design thinking by centering your approach on people – specifically your current and potential customers – to put together an effective brand refresh project plan.
Your target audience should be considered every step of the way. Start by asking your customers for their feedback to better understand where you stand. Depending on your resources, a survey or a focus group with your target audience can help find the symbols, tone of voice, colors and fonts that best convey your message while resonating with them.
Explore your brand’s history
Resetting your brand doesn’t mean you’re getting rid of your history and core values. On the contrary, the objective is to show those in a more powerful way – getting rid of the superfluous to let your identity shine through. That’s why remembering where you’re coming from is essential for a successful brand refresh.
Look back at your journey as a brand. How did your business start? What was your objective then, and what is it now? What do you consider to be key milestones and achievements for your company? Asking yourself those questions will help you refine your brand identity and pin down your points of differentiation. Those will allow you to develop more cohesive and meaningful assets to represent your brand while preserving your integrity.
Take a lesson from Goldilocks here. Don’t go too little or too big when planning your brand reset. Too little, and all your hard work will go unnoticed. It can also affect consistency, as you want your branding to feel cohesive and tell a consistent story. If you’re refreshing your logo, for example, you have to consider how it fits into the rest of your assets – colors, fonts and so on.
Too big, and you might as well rebrand. A good brand refresh usually feels natural and non-disruptive. It’s a business organically progressing towards its next stage, and it should feel logical – and hopefully helpful – to your audience. Changing everything about your brand requires much more communication to introduce your new identity and reassure your customers.
Consistency and adaptability are key when it comes to branding. Your updated branding should be reflected in every facet of your business. Don’t forget any channel – digital AND print materials should be taken into account on your brand refresh checklist. Your updated assets should make your brand shine its brightest on every channel, from social media posts to newsletters and Business Cards.
It’s also important to consider your internal communications and how the brand refresh can – and should – impact them. It will be difficult to convince your employees to spread the word if they don’t feel like anything’s changed internally.
Spread the word
You’ve invested time and money into making your brand update a success, so don’t forget to share it! This is an essential step in your brand refresh checklist. Start with your team, making sure every employee in the business stands behind the plan and understands your decision as a brand. Your employees should always be your ultimate brand ambassadors, so it’s essential they’re on board with the refresh.
Working with your social media and PR team can be useful to spread the word about your brand reset, especially if you’re launching it in preparation of your next milestone as a business. Prepare assets such as blog articles, social posts and press releases to tell your story and reach out to potential new customers. You can also print Flyers and Posters to share the news on paper!
Make it stick
A successful brand refresh should last longer than the initial excitement of its early days. Communicate a clear plan and make useful resources and guidelines available for your team – it’s the best way to avoid mixing up the new charter with the old one again after the first couple of weeks.
Make sure everyone in the business knows where to find your tone of voice guidelines and graphic charter with real-life examples of branding dos and don’ts. You can nominate brand guardians who’ll help make sure the right assets are being used throughout the business for both internal and external communications.
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