Are your company success indicators permanently stuck in the red? Revenue and profit suffering while you’re slowly bleeding market share to your competitors? Got a feeling that your brand has simply become outdated and unappealing to a changing consumer population?
Fear not – there’s a very effective fix that can help your business quickly turn things around. The topic we’re covering today is how to approach the “brand refresh” tactic. It embodies a very focused effort with an extremely broad potential impact, and relies on the fact that a well-designed visual identity can instantly change how your existing and potential customers perceive your brand and how they interact with it.
What is a “brand refresh”?
A brand refresh is essentially a reimagining of your brand’s overall aesthetic and emotional feel. To put things bluntly, it usually represents a cosmetic overhaul which serves to convey positive sentiments of progress, refinement and growth. The process is built around creating a new and alluring visual identity for a brand which already possesses a significant following and a recognizable value proposition. Often enough, the change in the visual domain requires complementary matching adjustments in the verbal space for the overhaul to be fully effective. Based on the competitive landscape and the company’s overall goals and needs, this process can easily expand to include the company’s product or service portfolio, its slogans and taglines, or even the company culture.
However, we’d like to share a piece of wisdom early on – you should keep in mind that performing a brand refresh is a delicate feat and that there is a chance of it backfiring if not done right. Of course, if you choose the right partner for the job, you’ll be reaping all the benefits of this tactic in no-time.
The goal is not to completely reinvent yourself – this is what a full rebranding would be about. A brand refresh means you’re simply shedding the weight that’s keeping you down and preventing your brand from performing at its maximum speed, while simultaneously upgrading your visuals to excite consumers and drive sales.
How to perform a successful brand refresh?
First and foremost, don’t rush it. This is one of those cases where it definitely pays tremendous dividends to invest extra time into research and planning before diving headfirst into the execution.
1. Researching the competition is a high-priority key ingredient – the impact made by your brand refresh will only be as potent as your ability to successfully and memorably distinguish yourself from the competitors. Some of the most popular and recognizable brands have earned their place at the top exactly because they were courageous enough to make bold creative choices their rivals weren’t. Once you’ve mapped your competition and cross-referenced this with your own ambition, mission and current position, you can formulate your strategy, and the next step would be to validate it.
2. Test and re-test – ideally, you’ll want to create at least a couple of focus groups with larger samples where you’ll be able to quickly and accurately assess how your customer base perceives your brand’s current identity. Using these insights, you can draft a couple of visual (and/or verbal) prototypes and float them to these focus groups to make sure you’re on the right track. The key here is to ensure that the focus groups are made of people who genuinely love your brand, but are not too blinded by brand loyalty which would prevent them from delivering constructive criticism.
3. Update your visual identity – it’s time to synthetize all the things you’ve learned and all your creative ideas into a new logo, colour scheme, typographic standards and brand devices to dazzle your audience. The immediate and direct nature which is associated with visual stimuli makes this a very powerful tool which enables you to create an instant positive link with your brand in the minds of your customers.
4. Show your new style to the world – once you’re done with production, it’s time to let your brand’s fresh colours shine for everyone to see. This means you’ll be launching various campaigns whose goal is to display your rejuvenated brand while also reiterating your key values and potentially adding new messages. Be sure to focus on the channels where your ideal customers are for maximum impact.