It is no surprise that people outside of the oh-so-secret world of branding and design often confuse a brand refresh with a full rebrand. Not only do they sound similar, but they both take a brand and change it. But when we delve a little deeper, it seems that the similarities end there. So, let’s once and for all put this confusion to bed shall we?
In essence, one is far more dramatic than the other. Consider a brand as a house. Whilst a brand refresh is like giving your house a fresh lick of paint, adding a few houseplants and maybe buying some new furniture, a full rebrand would be the equivalent of tearing all four walls down and building a completely redesigned house from scratch.
To make the distinction a little clearer, this article aims to define both and also provide a few pointers to which one would be best for you.
A brand refresh is a tactical manoeuvre that involves comparing your market and target audiences’ needs with what your brand is currently providing. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that if you are providing your customers with what they want and need, you will do well – even in a competitive market. Providing these can be (and often is) as simple as communicating with your audience in the right way, delivering the right message.
To stay connected, a brand refresh typically will analyse your brand’s colours, typefaces, style (photography, social media, website and print) and tone of voice. It’s amazing how by tweaking one or all of these seemingly small branded elements, you can often make the crucial difference – the one that allows you to thrive.
PolarSeal approached Rooster Marketing looking for a new website to coincide with their move into the healthcare sphere. After significant market research, it became clear that this new site needed to shift their focus from a machine-centric offering and instead celebrate PolarSeal’s amazing people and their unrivalled skill.
But, when applying PolarSeal’s brand to the new website, we found it to be lacking: their logo contradicted with their new business focus on healthcare and the colour usage seemed to lean more toward the fuel industry.
As a solution, we updated their logo to include cool blues and crisp whites to emit a clean clinical feel. This was then softened by implementing a new style of people-centric images throughout their website and branded collateral.
The overall result of this brand refresh has given PolarSeal that modern twist and market cut through that they were looking for.
Due to its nature, a brand refresh or update is a much quicker and consequently often cheaper process than a full rebrand. Although, this is, of course, dependent on the extent of refreshment that you require. But is a brand refresh right for you?
If one of the following scenarios applies to you, then chances are, it’s time to give us a call:
1. You know your brand is outdated – this can be in aesthetic, graphics, messaging or even technology (such as your website, app or lack thereof.) For instance, consider Microsoft:
Image taken from Market my Business, available here.
Where a busy, cramped Metallica-esque typeface may have worked wonders in the 80s, a sleeker more minimalist coloured graphic is what gets people really excited these days.
2. Your business has changed or grown – if you have introduced new services, changed your culture, expanded or given your company (structurally, physically or commercially) a complete overhaul, then it’s probably high time you aligned your brand to match this.
3. There are clear brand inconsistencies – When it comes to a strong brand, clarity and consistency are key. If you cannot draw clear brand parallels between each of your platforms, then this is going to hugely hinder your brand identity and thus brand loyalty. If people can’t recognise you, how can they stay loyal?
4. Your audience has changed – This is obvious. If your target audience has changed, you’ll also need to change your brand to match them. Ultimately, your brand is how you express your company to the world – and if this expression is not on the same level as your consumers, then you’re kind of on to a non-starter.
If more than one of the above applies to you, it may be worth reading on and discovering how a rebrand could work instead…
If a brand refresh is a tactical manoeuvre, a full rebrand is a complete change in game plan. Where a brand refresh will make you over, a rebrand will act as a plastic surgeon and alter underlying features to reposition and change the overall effect.
A full rebrand will normally undertake an in-depth analysis of your brand, USP, competition, marketplace and audience. Only then is a new brand built, with a new image, goals, messaging, culture and functionality. The intention is to completely reposition your company and entirely rethink your direction and appearance.
Looking to cement a new image as the market leaders in plastic injection moulding, Hi-Technology approached Rooster looking to overhaul their brand, printed collateral, signage and website entirely. After an in-depth Audience and Outcomes exercise, we evaluated the existing brand and devised the best way forward.
The new brand has been inspired by polymers – the molecules that form the basis of plastic – thus expressing the company’s expertise in their field:
Acting as the hub of all online marketing and communication, Hi-Technology also needed a new website to reflect this new direction. This was further reinforced with a new style of imagery being captured and used: High resolution, close up product shots let Hi-Technology’s precision shine through.
So – rebranding is geared up to change a customer’s perception of your business or appeal to a new set of customers, by aligning your business’s appearance with their needs, preferences and expectation.
There are plenty of reasons why a brand might want to change their image, but the most common signs of a brand requiring a rebrand are as follows:
1. Your competition is growing – as markets become more and more crowded, it’s key to stay ahead of the game. This will often call for rebranding every once in awhile, to keep up appearances and ensure that your brand encompasses both substance and style.
2. You’re looking to break into new markets or to launch new services
3. You’ve stagnated – if business has plateaued and not at a healthy level, that can often be a sign to change things up a bit. By rebranding and giving yourself a new and updated brand identity, you can repitch yourself at your customer’s level.
4. Identity is out of date – If your brand identity is outdated, it is true you can undergo a brand refresh to update. However, if your brand’s ‘outdatedness’ goes further than skin deep, a rebrand may be required. A refresh will pull message, look, and tone up to date – but a rebrand will go deeper. It will ensure that your culture – the very essence of your brand is relevant, modern and working for you as it should.
5. Industry and/or audience has changed – As industries adapt, evolve and change with society, brands need to mirror this to continue to stay relevant to an increasingly disloyal audience. One way to do this is via a rebrand.
Eventually, every brand will need to change in some way. The extent in which you’ll need to change is up to you. Either you rebrand to change how you deliver what you do OR you rebrand to change everything; to alter the very essence of your business.
Still unsure whether a rebrand or refresh is what you need?
Fortunately for you, at Rooster we’ve got just the guys to help! So what are you waiting for? Get in touch today and together, we can make your brand count again.