When you started your business, a “friend of a friend” designed your business’ brand logo and another designed your website on a copy-and-paste web platform.
All you had to do was write the “About” and “Services” pages and the rest is history. But now that your side-hustle has grown into a business, your service offering has matured, and you even have employees (“Look, Mom, I’m a big girl now”).
The niggling feeling that you need a rebrand or brand refresh has been there for a while, but you’re not sure whether you need a makeover or complete plastic surgery.
Even though you could compare it to a makeover, refreshing your brand is more than just designing a new logo and changing your website theme. It is about reworking your brand from the inside-out. When done successfully, it’s a complete refresh of how the brand feels and communicates visually and affects what customers see when they walk into your business, visit your website, and read your marketing materials.
Although a rebrand may sometimes entail a change in your colour scheme or logo, it may also mean doing none of these. A rebrand equates to a more drastic change. You may need to come up with a revised brand strategy for a new target demographic and brand messaging across all your platforms and collateral.
Whether you decide on a business brand refresh or a complete rebrand, making sure your cast-iron brand story stays at the center of it all, is imperative. Your brand should communicate your values and ideas in a way that connects with the heart of your customer.
A refresh changes the way you look to attract attention and change the way your clients and prospective clients perceive you
What is the difference between a brand refresh and a rebrand?
A rebrand will start with a fresh look at your brand personality, background, products, vision, mission, demographic and, in fact, your entire image. A refresh entails reviewing the visual elements of your brand such as the logo, font, website, slogan, colour palette, letterheads and business cards and social media profiles.
Both a rebrand or refresh can be quite the investment depending on the extent of the changes needed. At times they can overlap. Even a simple logo change could lead to you changing all your marketing materials, advertising and social media platforms while a rebrand could affect your logo, website and client documents too.
Depending on the scope of the work, a brand refresh can be achieved in a relatively short time whereas a rebrand will take longer.
When do you need a refresh?
A refresh changes the way you look – your visual elements – to attract attention and change the way your clients and prospective clients perceive you.
You may need a business brand refresh if:
1. Your corporate identity is staid or old-fashioned or if you want to inject some life and attract a new market segment;
2. You want to keep up with a change in the marketplace;
3. Your current corporate identity does not translate well to social media;
4. You want to build a consistent image of your business and have played around with too many different colours in the past;
5. You have merged or acquired another brand and you want to highlight this with a change in visual identity.
And a rebrand?
A rebrand is necessary if you need to completely change your business’s brand identity as opposed to just updating it. This may be necessary if your audience has changed, you have a new product or service, or you need to reclaim your position in a market with tough competition. And it isn’t a decision to take lightly.
Here is a checklist to see whether you need a rebrand:
1. Has your target demographic changed?
2. Has technology in the industry changed or are there new competitors?
3. Has your business experienced big changes such as a change in product, leadership or have you acquired another business?
4. Are the elements of your brand outdated or not thought through properly?
5. Are you losing market share or are you seeing a dip in profits linked to a reduction in sales and client enquiries?
Whichever option you chose, make sure you partner with a brand strategist who knows small businesses, understands where you are in your business lifecycle and knows how to keep your brand story as the focus of your rebrand so that your customer still recognises you under the shiny new brand image.