One of the marketing trends of our time - that several small businesses, SME’s and mega corporations have caught onto - is the notion of radical Rebranding. Alternatively, an attractive measure to a drastic and total Rebrand could consist of simply opting for a Refresh. Which measure should you invest in? Is your brand even in need of help? To address these thoughts we deciphered some of the more important footsteps along the journey that businesses go through to reach the brand point in saying ‘We need more sales and we need to do something big!’

The Breakdown

“What exactly does an entire Rebrand entail and how does it compare to its tame and timid cousin, the Brand Refresh?”

It is important to note that both of these are permanent changes, but there are major differences and variables to consider when rethinking the potency of your brand’s persuasion.

Consider the simplified analogy of a makeover, whilst keeping in mind the amount of revenue generated within that specific industry. A Rebrand requires you to go knee-deep into overhaul mode. You can expect the full spectrum of ‘plastic surgery’, a new hair colour and an entire fresh wardrobe. You are basically creating an entire new identity for your brand with the hope that this dramatic change will catapult your business forward and increase revenue. The approach is worth its weight, but we’ll need to discuss some factors that require consideration before being this bold.

A brand Refresh, on the other hand, covers the more subtle changes to your identity and marketing strategy - like getting a new haircut and spicing up your outfit. It rests on the idea that a shiny pair of shoes will transform how your identity is perceived. A Refresh will involve the slight tweaking of a logo or adding complimentary designs to a suite that reinforces engagement and relativity.

The most apparent difference is that the Refresh is sensitive in maintaining the visual connection to the previous or current brand identity. Visual elements at times simply require a dash of excitement.

“After all, your brand should at all times excite you!”

Take The Plunge?

The first step is to go back to the drawing board. If a radical identity shift is part of your master plan to propel your business onto the tongues of your target market, then it might be wise to rethink why your business needs this drastic face-lift. More often than not we have found that companies pay shockingly little attention to the notion that a brand strategy is possibly one of the most important things to have in place when running your company. Hours of research should be going into your who (ideal target audience), your what (what makes your product or service revolutionary), your why (your purpose and mission) and your how (look & feel). You need to deep dive into the relationship between each of these pillars. It is of the utmost importance to be firm in what you stand for from the get-go.

“You need be brutally honest when it comes to introspection and accept that this change will come from within the foundation of your brand.”

Your foundation is of course your core values, your main message and your authentic story. Once your foundation is realigned your external appearance - aka your brand design - needs to reflect your foundation.

It’s common practice for any company to consider a Refresh every 5 or so years and introducing new campaigns to forge the branches of an improved identity. Refreshing, after all, involves reacting to growth and strategically updating your identity accordingly - without touching the foundation. Rebranding, in comparison, means that you’ve decided to ‘start from scratch’, because your brand is either completely outdated or you are repositioning your business model.

Questions For Consideration

Before undertaking a Rebrand for your business you should ask yourself (and perhaps your colleagues, stakeholders and staff) these two questions: What event or realization had led to your decisions to rebrand?What is it that you want to achieve with this new identity?

“We’ve compiled a quick list of excellent reasons to be brave and jump head-first into a branding bonanza”

1) Your business has outgrown your brand

You might be overwhelmed with how little time it took for your business to explode into a success story, but 2 years down the line you’ve come to realize how your initial brand design is now far removed from the actual service you offer.

2) Setting yourself apart (check out our kill the competition pack!)

With great success, comes great competition. Competitors are always on the rise, but you need to remind your following that you are relevant and show that your design aesthetics reflect the top-of-the-range products/services you provide.

3) The Do-over

You haphazardly chose a name, a logo and a font. In desperation you threw together an irrelevant color palette all within a week of embarking on a business journey of a lifetime. Which means that a few years down the line you find no other reason behind the green icons on your website than, “I just took what seemed more professional”. You’ve never invested in a solid branding strategy from the start and now need to go back to square one and rethink what your business stands for.

4) A change in demographics

Whether your business has expanded to a global network or your audience demographic has shifted, it’s vital to reconsider your brand and how it performs in this new landscape.

*At this point it may be important to note that you should avoid disrupting your following too much. Make sure they understand the rationale behind the decision and that they will adopt the changes that are to come. Disruption is a powerful tool; one that becomes self-destructive when used ignorantly.

The Take-Away

The preservation of your brand rests on your understanding of when a ‘makeover’ is due. The effectiveness thereof relies on it evolving without compromising on the integrity of your business.

So if you’re considering either of the two options because you feel like your brand’s identity is getting a bit tired - we are here to help! Whether you need a new pair of shoes or a few cardio sessions - we’ve done the research and will ensure that you walk away with both a sustainable marketing strategy and a brand identity that is backed up by authentic intent.

Kind Regards The JA. Team