Is your business ready for a rebrand or brand refresh?
Just as humans evolve, so too do our businesses. This means that the branding you chose for your business, say, five years ago, may no longer truly reflect who you are, where you’re at and what you’re offering. It also may no longer resonate with the target market. A refresh (or rebrand) might just be the thing that helps elevate your business to the next level.
So, how do you know if it’s time for a rebrand or refresh?
What’s in a brand?
What do we actually mean when we talk about a brand? Most of us are familiar with the concept, but allow us to clarify. Basically, your brand is how customers or potential customers perceive your business and what they associate with it.
We make judgements and form impressions about businesses very quickly (and often subconsciously) based on information we receive from branding assets. This includes the tangible, visible assets such as your name, logo, tagline, uniforms and collateral, as well as the intangible, more abstract elements like your tone of voice and the impression you leave on those who interact with you.
Put simply, it’s the overall personality of your business.
How branding inspires trust
In 2021, research conducted by marketing firm Edelman labelled “trust” as “the New Brand Equity” and revealed that 68 per cent of people surveyed say being able to trust a brand matters more to them now than it did in the past.* Bolstering your brand’s consistency, authenticity and confidence helps people feel they can trust your business.
Consistency means that the image you project into the world is the same across all touchpoints. Branding that comes across as completely different depending on the context is confusing and, in a saturated market, makes it more difficult for your audience to remember you. It also undermines your efforts to convey your trustworthiness.
Authenticity involves having integrity and transparency. If your business is perceived as authentic, customers feel they can rely on you to deliver what you say you’ll deliver, and in turn, will give you their loyalty. To achieve authenticity, you need alignment between who you are as a business and the image you project to the world through branding.
Confidence is reported by consumers as one of the more important qualities in a business.* Boiled down to its essence, confidence is about have a strong sense of who you are. Branding — or rebranding — involves getting super clear on your identity as a business and then creating the tools to communicate this to the world.
What’s the difference between a rebrand and a brand refresh?
While both can make a profound impact, these are not one and the same thing. PIER Marketing Studio Manager Georgia Morrison says that a brand refresh is “an update rather than a transformation”.
“A brand refresh is an iteration, an ‘upgrade’ of your existing brand” she explains. “It’s where the brand remains recognisable as it was before, but just a new and improved version.”
PIER Marketing has performed many a brand refresh — for example with Frankston Arts Centre, where the original logo was reworked to be simpler and clearer.
Ideally, at least a minor brand update should be conducted every five to seven years (this will also help you avoid having to do a total rebrand down the line). Take a look at how the McDonald’s logo has slowly evolved over the decades.
A rebrand, on the other hand, is more dramatic. It involves going back to basics and changing your branding on a fundamental level.
“A rebrand is a whole new look and feel,” says Georgia. “It might even include a name change. A completely new logo, set of colours, fonts and brand rules. It transforms your identity.”
How do you know if you need a rebrand or refresh?
Most branding issues can be resolved with a brand refresh. It’s only in the most extreme situations that a total rebrand would need to be done: in most cases, the brand equity you’ve built through your business journey is too valuable to start again from scratch.
There are several reasons why a brand refresh may be in order, including:
- Market changes. Consumers care more about certain things than they did before. For example, it might have become more important to highlight the conscious or ethical aspects of your business.
- To improve consistency. As mentioned above, consistency is super important in building trust and making a lasting impression on your audience. It might be that your branding is witty and playful but you want to be perceived as professional and sophisticated, or that your branding is being applied differently in different contexts and needs to be streamlined.
- Your branding looks out of date. No business wants to come across as daggy or outdated. A brand refresh can help breathe new life into your brand.
A rebrand may be required if:
- Your offering has substantially changed. For example, you used to focus purely on scuba diving gear and now you sell goods for a variety of sporting activities — but your logo features a scuba diver and your brand name is ‘Scuba World’.
- Your branding is confusing or misleading. You might discover, through research, that people find it hard to read the typeface used in your logo or that the colours or style give a totally different impression to the one you intended.
- You need to shed a negative reputation. If people make negative associations with your brand and therefore your business — which can be due to factors totally outside of your control, such as an unfortunate event taking place at your restaurant, for example — it might be time to rebrand.
To determine whether a rebrand or refresh is needed, you can perform a brand audit to flesh out the branding issue and how it would be best resolved.
What’s involved in updating branding?
Whether you’re in need or a refresh of rebrand, it starts with a conversation and a bit of soul-searching around your identity as a business.
“A great brand strategist will ask you a set of thought-provoking questions to learn about your business – what you do, how you do it, who’s your audience, why you exist and what makes you unique,” says Georgia. “These questions are imperative in creating a brand that is meaningful, effective and cuts through in your industry.”
From there, it’s about researching your target audience and competitors and strategising around how your branding can best represent you and convey the holy trinity of consistency, authenticity and confidence.
At PIER Marketing, we get a great deal of satisfaction from helping you achieve your business goals by eliminating the gap between where your branding is and where it needs to be. Interested in speaking with us about a rebrand or refresh? Get in touch today.