What do your brand and iconic brands like Ivory Soap, Campbell’s Soup, and Coca-Cola have in common?
From time to time, they each need to re-evaluate and refresh to stay current with audience expectations.
How do I know when it’s time to refresh my brand? Is a brand refresh simply a new logo? Will I have to build a new website?
These are all good questions. Let’s address them one at a time.
When is it necessary to refresh your brand
There are really two areas to assess when considering a brand refresh: internal factors and external factors.
Internal factors include mission, vision, values, and core product/service offerings. Your mission defines what you do and why you do it. Has that changed significantly over time? It likely has adapted to the demands of a changing marketplace. As your mission has evolved, so has your vision: this is your aspirational goal that drives you away from complacency and toward growth. These are two fundamental components of your brand and your culture. Your brand should reflect them. If they’re out of sync, it’s probably time to refresh your brand.
Each organization has its own culture built around its values. As your mission and vision have shifted, you may have had leadership changes, significant growth, different hiring practices, or outside forces (like a global pandemic) that have impacted your culture. If your brand and your values don’t align anymore, you should consider a brand refresh.
You have evolved your product and service offerings as the marketplace demands. Recently, the global pandemic brought unforeseen changes to organizations literally overnight. Many organizations switched from on-site to online delivery of services (think restaurants, telehealth, and education just to name a few). Brick-and-mortar businesses became e-commerce businesses. Audiences that had been reluctant to embrace online offerings like banking, shopping, and investing have embraced apps and QR codes in untold numbers. How has your business changed as does your brand still represent your business model? If your brand has not moved forward with you, a refresh is in order.
External factors are those areas that are largely out of your control but have a definite impact on your business. Expanding global markets, audience shifts, competition, and the ever-shifting industry landscape are all factors to consider when you evaluate your brand.
Does your current brand reflect cultural attributes that don’t translate well into regions where you anticipate growth? Assessing your growth patterns and understanding how your brand will be perceived and accepted in those cultures is a critical factor in deciding to do a brand refresh.
When was the last time you put your fingers on the pulse of public opinion? Do you know your audiences’ perceptions of your brand? As technology has evolved, and people have more information than ever, audiences are making decisions differently. In many cases, audiences are influenced more by what other consumers have to say about your brand than what you have to say. Is your brand still connecting with your audience? Research can be enlightening when considering a brand refresh.
Can you succinctly say how your brand stands out from the competition? Can your employees? Can your audience? If you’re not standing out, you’re not moving forward. A brand refresh can help you stake your claim in your industry and differentiate yourself from the competition.
Every industry experiences a shifting landscape. During the recent pandemic, no industry was left untouched. Organizations everywhere were upended. New technologies have significantly impacted how people research, purchase, and share their opinions. These disruptions lead to change throughout your organization – your brand needs to keep pace.
Is my logo my brand?
Your logo is a visual representation of your brand. It’s the most recognizable and public-facing component of your brand, so it is integral to communicating your brand to your audiences. As you refresh your brand, you will need to consider whether this important piece still reflects your brand goals. In many cases, your logo will need an upgrade. Sometimes, especially in the case of mergers, you may need an entirely new logo.
Keep in mind that a new logo is not the same as a new brand. To be truly effective, work with a firm that can help you with your overall brand strategy – including your logo.
Will I need a whole new website?
Your website is the hardest-working tool in your marketing toolbox. It’s something that should be refreshed regularly, and rebuilt from time-to-time. One of those times might be when you refresh your brand.
Your website is the most visible element of your brand. If your website is slow to load, doesn’t make e-commerce easy, or function well in a mobile environment, in the minds of your audience, those flaws are attributed to your brand. Sometimes a brand refresh only requires a few tweaks to your website. But keep in mind the critical importance of your website to your brand’s reputation and don’t be afraid to start fresh with a new website.