RCCO Logo
CODE
All articles
Brand

The Ultimate Guide to Brand Refresh in 2024

https://www.rcco.uk/learn/brand-update

A brand is more than a name or a logo. It's the association and relationship your customers have with your company. Its a foundation to help you stand out from the competition. Its an opportunity to increase the value of your services.

Unfortunately, your business can easily lose the power of branding over time. If you don't feel your brand is working hard enough for your business, it might be time for a brand refresh. Managing this process is complex, which is why successful companies such as Optable entrust their branding efforts to professional agencies like RCCO

So what does it take to breathe new life into your brand?

This guide has you covered. We'll explore what a brand update entails and how it differs from a complete rebranding. Better yet, we'll reveal the most effective strategies to ensure your brand stays relevant and vibrant.

Let’s dive in. 

What is a Brand Refresh?

A brand refresh is essentially giving your existing brand a 'facelift'. It's a process of fine-tuning that aligns your company's evolving identity, values and market positioning with its outward expression without significantly altering the brand's core DNA.

We like to say a brand refresh can come in two categories - a brand evolution and brand revolution. The brand evolution is all about taking what exists and improving it, a brand revolution is pushing the boundaries and moving further into the unknown from the existing brand. Both are great options to pursue and often our clients will explore both routes.

The primary goal of a brand refresh is to re-energise existing connections while nurturing new ones. When a business wants to update its image due to shifting trends, it often updates:

  • The logo and brand mark
  • The typeface they use
  • The colours they're known for
  • The phrase or slogan
  • The style and tone of communications

A brand refresh doesn't have to be a complete overhaul. It doesn't mean throwing out your old brand identity and starting from scratch. It can be a refined adaptation of what you already have—a slight shift in direction rather than a full U-turn. 

A brand refresh keeps your brand's essence intact while ensuring it doesn't get left behind in the race.

Rebrand vs Brand Refresh

In contrast to a brand refresh, rebranding involves a much more significant transformation, more of a revolution than evolution. It signifies a fundamental change in the company's identity, triggered by:

  • Change in offerings
  • Change in leadership
  • A significant change in the customer base
  • A shift in business strategy or market position

The rebrand might involve a new name, logo, design aesthetic, or even a change in the mission and vision.

Comparatively, a brand refresh is a lighter and less drastic option. While rebranding is like moving to a new house and starting from scratch, a brand refresh is more like redecorating your existing house. It preserves the core identity while updating certain elements to keep up with the evolving business landscape.

While both can invigorate your brand, they are different tools for different circumstances with different levels of risk and reward.

Why is a Brand Refresh Important?

A brand refresh plays a pivotal role in effectively managing a brand. Let’s look at some key reasons why it's crucial:

  1. Maintaining relevance: Brands must evolve to stay in tune with the shifting landscape of customer preferences, market trends, and societal norms. A brand refresh helps keep your brand modern and relevant.
  1. Connecting with new audiences: As your business grows, your audience may expand or shift. Refreshing your brand ensures you connect with these new audiences effectively.
  1. Reflecting business growth or change: Your business might diversify, pivot, or grow over time. A brand refresh helps align your brand with these changes and demonstrate your evolution.
  1. Staying competitive: In a fast-paced market, refreshing your brand keeps you in the race. It helps maintain your edge against competitors and attracts customer attention.
  1. Increasing quality: A brand refresh can infuse new life into your business and it can ensure your identity reflects the level of quality your service or business offers. It revitalises your team, reassures existing customers, and piques the interest of potential clients.

When is the Right Time to Consider a Brand Refresh?

Identifying the right time for a brand refresh can be critical to maintaining your business's success and relevance. Let's explore various situations that may signal it's time for your brand to undergo an update.

Your Brand is Outdated

With trends changing in the blink of an eye, an outdated brand can quickly lose traction. If your brand's visuals or messaging no longer resonate with current trends or your audience's evolving tastes, your brand may be perceived as outdated. 

It's more than a question of aesthetics; it's about whether your brand aligns with the trends and mirrors the realities and expectations of your customers.

Your audience's needs and wants aren't static. Your brand must adapt as tastes mature, technology advances, and societal norms progress. Whether it's a fresh, modern aesthetic or a shift in messaging tone, a brand refresh can help you stay in tune with the times and maintain a connection with your audience.

Your Brand is Inconsistent

Consistency is the hallmark of a strong brand. If your brand presentation is inconsistent across various channels and customer touchpoints, it dilutes your brand identity and confuses your audience. 

Consistency applies to visual elements like the logo, colour palette and typography, your brand's voice, tone, and messaging.

Inconsistency arises from a lack of a clear brand guideline or due to significant growth or expansion and can harm your brand's recognition and credibility. A brand refresh can help you establish a unified brand identity, creating a seamless brand experience that builds trust and loyalty.

The Market Became More Competitive

With new brands constantly entering the market, staying competitive is a never-ending battle. If you notice your brand is becoming too similar to others in the crowded marketplace, a brand refresh can be the tool to set you apart.

However, it's not about being different for the sake of being different. It's about defining and highlighting your unique value proposition—i.e., what sets your brand apart. A well-executed brand refresh will carve a distinct niche, highlight your unique selling points, and reposition your brand in the competitive landscape.

Marketing Campaigns Aren’t Working Well

Your brand serves as the foundation of your marketing campaigns. If these campaigns don't resonate with your audience or drive the desired results, it might signal that your brand needs a refresh.

  • Are your marketing messages compelling? 
  • Do your visuals engage your audience? 
  • Does your brand voice echo your audience's values and aspirations?

If the data and metrics show the answer to these questions is no, it's time to reevaluate your brand. A brand refresh can revamp your brand and breathe new life into your marketing campaigns.

Your Brand’s Audience Has Changed

As your business evolves, so might your target audience. If your business is growing, you might start entering new markets, targeting a different demographic, or trying to entice more customers. 

The problem is your current brand may not be attractive to these new groups.

Understanding this new target market's needs, preferences, and behaviours is essential to capturing them. Armed with a strong grasp of these data points, you can deliver a brand refresh that speaks their language, aligns with their values, and appeals to their tastes.

Brand Refresh Strategies

A brand refresh is an exciting journey, but it is also one that demands a meticulous strategy. Let's delve into some effective strategies to help navigate your brand refresh process and set your brand up for renewed success.

Rebrand or Brand Refresh

The initial step in your brand refresh journey involves a crucial decision—will you opt for a complete rebrand, or will a brand refresh suffice? 

This choice should be informed by your brand's current state and your strategic objectives. 

A refresh may be the optimal solution if your brand is outdated but maintains strong equity. However, a rebrand might be necessary if your business strategy or target audience has drastically shifted. Take time to assess your brand's condition and your business's future direction before deciding.

If you are not sure, at RCCO, we can explore both routes for your business and you can decide once we have proposed some routes for your brand. Often we will run discovery workshops to better understand the requirements and make the decision clearer.

Competitive Market Research

Staying informed about your competition and industry trends is essential in a competitive market. A deep dive into the market landscape can uncover new opportunities, threats, and areas where your brand can carve a unique niche. 

This research could involve: 

  • Analysing your competitors' branding strategies
  • Understanding their strengths and weaknesses
  • Pinpointing gaps your brand could fill

Utilise this knowledge to inform your brand refresh strategy and help your brand stand out.

Target Audience Research

A successful brand refresh necessitates a profound understanding of your target audience. As customer preferences change, your brand must evolve to meet these new expectations. 

Engage in comprehensive audience research to map out your customer personas, understand their needs, wants, and pain points, and identify how your brand can best resonate with them. 

Data-driven insights can guide your brand refresh process to ensure it resonates with your current and potential audience.

What to Update in the Brand’s Visual Identity

Once you've gathered your insights, determine which aspects of your brand's visual identity need an update. Visual elements like your logo, colour palette, typography, and imagery form a significant part of your brand's impression on your audience. 

While you want your brand to look contemporary and fresh, it's important not to go too far from what your brand stands for. Your refreshed brand should still be recognisable to your existing customers while appealing to potential new ones.

Appeal to Emotions in Messaging

Emotional appeal is a powerful branding tool. People connect with stories and emotions more deeply than with facts and figures. As you refresh your brand, consider how you can weave emotional narratives into your messaging. 

Stories of transformation, growth, resilience, or innovation can evoke emotions and forge stronger connections with your audience.

Do a Content Audit

A brand refresh isn't just about updating your visual identity; it should also include a comprehensive content audit. Examine all your brand touchpoints, from your website and blog posts to your social media content and marketing collateral.

Identify any inconsistencies and ensure all content aligns with your refreshed brand. A coherent brand experience across all platforms and touchpoints is vital in building and maintaining brand trust.

Communicate Through Social Media Channels

In the digital age, social media channels provide a direct line to your audience. These platforms offer a space to announce your refreshed brand, showcase its updated look and feel, and interact with your audience. Use these channels to engage in conversations, solicit feedback, and share your brand's renewed story. 

A brand refresh is a journey that your business takes with its customers. So, keep them engaged and invested in your brand's evolution.

Brand Refresh Examples

A practical way to understand the potential and impact of a brand refresh is to study examples from successful businesses. Here, we discuss several prominent examples of brand refreshes.

Paynovate

About the company: Paynovate is an e-money institution that aims to provide trusted, innovative, and secure financial solutions.

The challenge: Paynovate needed to maintain its reputation while updating its brand identity to increase awareness and clarity of its unique offerings.

The solution: RCCO designed a brand identity that encapsulated Paynovate's dedication to innovation, demonstrated through a custom logo and a newly designed website.

The result: The brand refresh succeeded in communicating Paynovate's core values across all touchpoints. It effectively distinguished Paynovate from other acquiring partners.

Starbucks

About the company: Starbucks is a global coffee giant known for its range of coffee products and related services.

The challenge: The company sought to reflect its evolution beyond coffee through a refreshed brand image.

The solution: Starbucks simplified its logo by removing the "Starbucks Coffee" text and focusing instead on the iconic mermaid image.

The result: The simplified logo symbolised Starbucks' expansion beyond coffee. It represented a broader range of Starbucks products and services.

Mastercard

About the company: Mastercard is a multinational financial services corporation known for its credit and debit card services.

The challenge: In 2016, the company realised the need to modernise its iconic logo and reflect its increasing global reach. 

The solution: Mastercard simplified its logo design. They are focused on a clean, minimalist look and move the brand's name below the circles in a contemporary sans-serif font.

The result: Mastercard's logo-only redesign facilitated global recognition and easy implementation across digital platforms. It also aligns with the brand's focus on simplicity.

Walmart

About the company: Walmart is an international retail corporation known for its chain of hypermarkets, discount department stores, and grocery stores.

The challenge: Walmart aimed to update its brand image to come across as a more friendly and approachable retailer.

The solution: The company swapped its angular logo for a rounded, friendlier design, introducing a bright blue colour and a stylised yellow 'spark'.

The result: The refreshed logo and brand image successfully presented Walmart as a more approachable retailer.

UPS

About the company: UPS (United Parcel Service) is a multinational package delivery and supply chain management company.

The challenge: In 2003, UPS needed to modernise its brand image to reflect its expansion beyond package delivery.

The solution: The company refreshed its logo by keeping the iconic shield but eliminating the package and bow imagery. The new logo adopted a brown and gold colour scheme.

The result: UPS successfully modernised its logo, maintaining its iconic badge shape while introducing new colours and shading. This refresh created a more 3D, engaging appearance that represents the brand's progression.

These examples illustrate how companies can approach a brand refresh by updating their logo, modernising their website, or changing their colour palette. A well-executed brand refresh can effectively redefine a brand's image while staying true to its core identity.

Final Thoughts

A brand refresh is more than a mere facelift. It's an investment in your brand's future, ensuring it remains vibrant and resonant with its evolving audience and market trends.

A successful brand refresh requires careful planning, strategic insight, and a deep understanding of your brand's essence and its audience. It's a delicate balance between retaining what works and what doesn't while introducing new elements that align with your brand's future direction.

As illustrated with Paynovate, collaboration with a seasoned branding agency such as RCCO can be instrumental in navigating this transformative process. RCCO's portfolio showcases a wealth of experience in helping brands refresh their identities while staying true to their core.

Take the next step in your brand's journey. Explore RCCO's past work and get in touch with us via the RCCO contact page. Let's collaboratively breathe new life into your brand.

Contributors
Jordan Richards
CEO & Founder
Speak to us for more ideas and a free consultation