What is a Brand Identity Refresh and How it Will Improve Your Business?

April 19, 2022
Versa Creative

If you’re at that point in owning a business where you feel like something needs to change, it may be time to consider a brand update. A whole new branding strategy may seem overwhelming, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the difference between a brand identity refresh and a rebrand. Never fear, there’s plenty of information here to help you decide what your business needs, as well as the ultimate checklist, to walk you through the brand refresh process.

How Is a Refresh Different from a Rebrand?

Refresh and rebrand—they sound so familiar that anyone outside of design and marketing could mistake them for synonyms. However, these are two distinctly different branding strategies that have their own purposes.

Rebranding involves a more in-depth reshaping of your company, and includes creating a new personality, redesigning your company background, overhauling the entire image, and potentially establishing your business with a new target audience. Some businesses even rename themselves since rebranding is often a total departure from the original business. 

The brand refresh process typically involves updating the brand messaging and visual elements for the brand image. You will update your visual identity with a new logo design and color palette in order to keep up with your current marketplace. 

To keep it simple, think of rebranding as a fundamental shift for your company while brand refreshing is more of a messaging and visual identity change. 

Why Does My Business Need a Brand Refresh? 

A brand refresh demonstrates to your target audience that you are growing with them and helps you keep an edge on your competition. A brand image from a few years ago will start to look outdated, and clients will not be attracted to a business that they think is not up to date on the latest trends, technology, and industry knowledge.

Similarly, businesses without a recent brand update may struggle to attract the top talent in any given industry. Candidates are conducting research of their own when job searching, and if your company appears to be stale or outdated, they will be less likely to apply to open positions. 

So, when is the right time for a brand identity refresh? Thankfully, not as often as you may think. A few factors to consider before committing to a refresh are:

  • The marketplace. Ensure you’re regularly conducting research on your competitors and compiling a competitive analysis on what they are doing. Stay up to date on the latest trends in your industry, along with what’s popular with the public. 
  • Target audience. Since you first opened, your business may have drifted from your original audience. Reexamining your brand identity will give you the opportunity to reconnect with them or ensure you’re engaging the audience you want.
  • Company growth. No matter how many years you have been in business, your company has evolved in some shape or form. Maybe you didn’t have the resources to make a strong brand when you initially opened, but business growth means now is the time to change. 

A brand refresh will ensure your business is up-to-date, consistent, and engaging to your clients. There’s no right answer for “when” to complete one, but if you feel your company needs a change because of any of the circumstances above, you should consider consulting with your team about the branding and visual identity of the business.

Ultimate Checklist for Your Brand Refresh 

Now that you know what a brand refresh is, and you know when to consider getting one, it’s time to go over everything you will need to go through the brand refresh process.  Whether you consult a creative marketing agency or work with your internal team, there are essential questions to answer and tasks to complete for a brand refresh.

  • Rediscover your business. Take this time to step back and ask yourself questions about where your company stands. Does your brand accomplish what it sets out to do? Does the brand match your goals? Why or why not? 
  • Reassess customers’ needs. Examine your target audience and how their needs have changed since you opened. What are their priorities? What are their preferences? Do you have the same target audience? Do you want to attract a new audience?
  • Conduct competitive analysis. Survey your competitors. How are they performing well or poorly? What can your brand do to have an edge over them now and in the future? In a world of countless options, how does your brand grab and keep attention?
  • Consider brand messaging and positioning. Now that you’ve asked yourself some hard questions, it’s time to find your position in the marketplace. Brainstorm how your brand messaging and visual identity will communicate the mission, goals, values, and uniqueness of your business.
  • Update the logo and brand identity. Time to dive into the design world to see what’s trending for brand image and typography because going wrong here will only drive customers away. If this isn’t your specialty, leave the research to the experts on your team or consult a graphic designer that has experience with a brand refresh. 
  • Communicate the refresh. Brand messaging is important not only to your customers but to stakeholders as well. Your employees and partners need to know how to adequately represent your brand. These groups of people also need to understand that change is for the growth and improvement of the business.
  • Roll out the red carpet. This is when all of your work comes to fruition, and you can announce the brand refresh. Employees will start using the new brand image and messaging in internal and external communications, and this new update has lots of potential for social media engagement. Afterward, you can start analyzing the success of your big move.

Remember, the brand refresh process takes time and shouldn’t be rushed. You’re making a big change to your business for now and the future. Every stage should be tackled with patience, perseverance, and the desire to make something great.

What a Successful Brand Refresh Looks Like

Need a little inspiration to push through? We’ve got your back. A brand refresh can be quite the dramatic overhaul, but other times, a company just needs to clean up their brand image. Here are three examples from big company names to help you get a clear idea of a successful brand refresh.

  1. Starbucks. The famous coffee shop on almost every corner of America has gone through more than one brand refresh. They’ve updated their logo a few times over the years, first and most noticeably moving to their iconic green, and then completely removing their name from the logo design. The brand became a household name, and reflects that they now serve up more than just coffee.
  2. MasterCard. Hardly a dramatic change, but MasterCard had one nonetheless. The interlocking red and yellow circle became largely known, and like Starbucks, they were in a position to remove their name and develop a modern brand image for the digital era.
  3. Walmart. The old logo for this massive retail chain was big, bold, and sharp with a dark navy color. The corporation updated their logo to be lighter, brighter, and more welcoming to families since they were a big part of the target audience. 

Refresh Your Business with Versa Creative

If you’re considering a brand identity refresh, consider consulting the design experts and strategic storytellers on the Versa Creative team. 

We are a full-service creative marketing and advertising agency that can support your brand through a redesign, and long afterward, with the drive and knowledge of our talented team. Explore these  case studies to  see for yourself just how effective our methods are. Start an exciting new venture for your business by contacting us today. 

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