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5 Key Elements of an Effective Brand Refresh

You’ve updated your business plan, launched a new product or service, and are excited to let the world know what's new with your venture. Before the big reveal, however, make sure your branding does justice to your growing business—or your news may just fall flat.

What encompasses your brand identity?

Many business owners think brands are names and logos. While it's true names and logos are part of what’s known as brand identity, your brand is much bigger than these pieces. Described most simply, your brand is your business’ promise to your customers. Any elements that communicate and support this promise make up your brand identity.

A strong brand establishes credibility and trust with customers by clearly communicating what your company offers and how it serves customers. This can be accomplished not only through your name and logo, but also your mission statement, sales sheets, website, blog, and other assets.

What’s more, your brand representation may not be static. Successful businesses are constantly evolving to stay relevant and competitive. The same is true for a business’s brand.

Evaluating your Needs: Brand Refresh vs Rebranding

There are many reasons to update an existing brand—such as your business identifying a new target market, your visual assets looking dated compared to current standards, or just a sense that your current brand isn’t sharing your story as clearly as it could or resonating with your audience.

The extent to which you need to update your branding, however, can vary. While you could be in dire need of a major overhaul—most brands benefit from simple refreshes periodically to stay current.

What’s the difference?

Simply put, rebranding means totally transforming your business’ brand identity in order to change public perception about your business’ services and products. Rebranding typically takes extensive market research to develop a completely new brand identity, creating a new background or name for your business, and updating your marketing collateral accordingly.

Because rebranding is a significant investment of time and resources, the decision to rebrand should be driven by a clear need—and guided by a comprehensive business and marketing strategy.

A brand refresh, on the other hand, is less extensive, involving simple updates and tweaks to your current brand identity. The brand refresh process typically calls for some limited market research and competitive analysis, and uses that insight to drive updates to marketing visuals and messaging.

5 Steps To Approach a Brand Refresh

Here’s some steps to help you get started on refreshing your brand:

1. Know your goals.

As with any undertaking, you need to know where you want to go in order to create a roadmap to get there. Determine the main goals associated with your brand refresh. What resulting changes are you hoping to see?

For example, a common goal behind a brand refresh is to improve your target market’s perception of your brand. Companies measure brand perception in many ways, such as focus groups, customer feedback surveys and social listening. If the feedback you’re getting from your research isn’t up to par, it’s time to change your brand positioning.

Effective brand positioning results in your customers’ opinion and perceptions of your business matching the way you want your business to be seen. Refreshing brand elements that aren’t resonating with your audience—as determined by your research—is critical to realizing better alignment.

2. Revisit your business mission statement, vision and values.

If your brand isn't connecting in the market the way you’d hope, the first place you should start is your brand’s foundation—the who, what and why behind your business. Does the mission statement, vision and values you were founded upon still ring true to who you are as a business today?

If not, you need to honestly ask yourself: Do these assets need updating to better reflect an evolved identity? Or is it your business that needs updating to realign with your founding principles?

Additionally, ask yourself how your mission statement, vision and values compare to your competitions'. Do you have a unique differentiator to help you stand out in the crowd? Or are you blending into the background?

3. Conduct a competitive analysis.

Once you’ve determined what you stand for and how you stand out, conduct a competitive analysis to see how you compare to others you respect and/or who are performing well in the market. In addition to looking at the assets mentioned above, look at how other organizations have communicated their value propositions through various branding assets.

Review visual assets such as logos, sell sheets and color palettes. Click around their website and evaluate content, photography and general user experience. Examine their social media platforms to get a feel for their messaging , tone and resulting engagement. Pull measurable analytics such as blog views, social followers and more. How do these compare with your own assets—and are there any gaps?

The goal here isn’t to duplicate the competition’s branding. Competitive analysis gives you a baseline for comparison. Ultimately, you're developing insights into what you like or don’t like, or perceive as better or worse. Your resulting refreshed look will be unique to you.

4. Conduct an internal analysis.

Use what you’ve learned in the competitive analysis as you turn to evaluating your own branding assets. Do the visuals look modern and appealing? Does your messaging communicate value to your consumer base? Are your various marketing materials across print and digital channels relevant, distinctive and cohesive?

Wherever you find red flags, gaps or opportunities for improvement—that’s where you’ll focus your refresh efforts.

5. Roll out your brand refresh.

Armed with a list of areas and items to improve, you can begin tackling changes. Think of it as updating your home. You’re not knocking down the structure and rebuilding, but perhaps just repainting a room, changing out furniture pieces and incorporating flowers into the landscaping. You can tackle these tasks in stages or all at once, but regardless, with each effort things will start looking better and better.

Often, it can be helpful to communicate to your customers the reason behind refreshed elements, particularly if your driving goal was to improve consumer perception, engagement or user experience. Focus on how the brand reflects your focus on them.

Simple Brand Refresh Inspirations

Looking to refresh your brand, but not sure where to start?

We’ve shared our own logo refresh, and an update we did for client DMS Management Solutions, below to get your creative juices flowing! You don’t have to start big to start making a big impact.

Jennasis & Associates Refresh

In 2017, our team focused on better reflecting our organization’s evolving culture and expanding service capabilities with a more modern, sexy and fun logo. A similar look to the old logo ensured the brand would remain recognizable, but a new tree graphic and updated colors gave it a brighter, crisper, more forward-thinking feel.

We incorporated the updated color palette across all materials for a united look across marketing platforms.

DMS Management Solutions Update

Long-term partner DMS Management Solutions turned to us for help refreshing their own branding, with a focus on logo, brand font and color palette. In comparison to competitors within the market, their logo was simply outdated—with a serif font and simple, monochrome visuals.

Jennasis maintained the core blue color elements to ensure brand recognition and avoid a costly overhaul of other existing materials—but updated the palette by added a pop of yellow to catch the eye with more visual interest. Other elements were modernized, including changing to a sans serif font. Lastly, a tagline was incorporated to more effectively communicate DMS’ driving mission.

Start Refreshing Your Business Brand Today

Are you unsure if your brand could benefit from rebranding or a brand refresh? Or perhaps you know you want to undertake the process, but don’t know where to start?

The digital marketing experts at Jennasis & Associates can help with comprehensive branding services!

From high-level marketing strategy to graphic design and content support, our team has the experience and resources to help. Contact us today for a free consultation, and to learn how our scalable digital marketing services can meet both your needs and your budget.

Megan Augustine is a Cleveland, Ohio native who relocated to Charlotte, NC in 2018. She has over 5 years of experience marketing in the technology field, and a passion to learn more every day. She enjoys traveling and scuba diving, and spending time with her 2 daughters.​

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