When is a Brand Refresh a good idea?
This month marks one year since I announced the new logo and visual brand for Anchor Watch Marketing in January 2022. I had designed my first logo myself, while the corporate stiffness still ran through my blood. And as time went on and AWM matured and developed into what it is today, I didn't feel that clean, cold logo was still the best representation of the heart of my business. To me, the visual representation of my brand was imperfect and complex, rooted in the process I bring to all of my work, and I couldn't be happier with the logo I have today.
Logo and visual brand changes are common as businesses evolve, and many major businesses and corporations have changed their logos and looks over time: Starbucks, Facebook, McDonalds, Instagram... it's a lot more common than you may think! That being said, making the decision to change your brand, which is the main interface between your business and your customers, should never be a casual decision.
Rebrand vs. Brand Refresh
When it comes to deciding to give your visual brand an update, many people like to use the word "rebrand." In reality, they're looking to do a "brand refresh." If those things sound like the same thing and you're confused, you're definitely not alone. A brand refresh and a rebrand are really two very different things, despite sounding so similar. And while many people might think a logo shift counts as a rebrand, that's not typically the case.
A brand refresh primarily focuses on the visual appearance of your brand. It typically involves shifts and updates to your logo, font, color palette, brand slogan/tagline, or maybe your writing style. Similar to some shifts we've seen to major corporate logos over the years, it's often part of a campaign to stay modern or realign with current consumer trends. Think of it like a facial for your brand: you're starting with something you like, and making it fresher.
A rebrand, on the other hand, includes substantial changes, maybe even an overhaul, of what makes up your business and your complete brand. This can include changes to your positioning, values, brand guidelines, mission and vision statements. It's a major shift that often implies creating an entirely new brand and message for your business, and with it usually an entirely new marketing strategy. It may be a good idea if you're shifting to a new market, or feel your current brand is no longer working. Think of this more as tearing your brand down to the studs and rebuilding it brand new.
So, if you're feeling like something about your brand needs some zhuzhing, these should be your next steps.
1 Ask yourself why
First and foremost, ask yourself WHY you feel it's time to make an update to your brand. Understanding this will help clarify what needs updating and what should remain consistent. Knowing the main difference now between rebranding and brand refresh, this should feel easier.
If your reasons fall more into the "rebranding" column, it might be time to consider a shift in strategy. If, however, it seems like a brand refresh is right for you, then let's keep talking through what you should do next.
2 Look to the future
Identify what you want the future of your business to be: how you want people to feel about it or think about it, what you are selling, and who is buying from you. From there, identify what parts of your current logo or brand no longer resonate with the audience you are looking to attract, or reflect what you see as the future state of your business. Trust your gut here: if it no longer excites you or brings you joy, or just feels not quite right - fix it!
3 Do some market research
Take a look around at others in your industry and see what's on trend. Gain some inspiration from what others are doing and see what feels right, what resonates with the reasons you identified in step one.
4 Make the updates
(Hard to believe this is step 4, right?) Once you know what you want, make the necessary updates. Hire a graphic designer and/or marketer to help bring an emotion-free, professional outlook. Try a couple of designs. Think on it for a night or six before making any final decisions. Think about your feelings and those of your audience. Then pick a new visual brand you love!
5 Roll out your new visual brand
Inform your customer base and audience about what these new changes symbolize as you start applying things like your updated logo to your business. This update is now part of your story, and sharing helps develop trust in your brand and business.
6 Make it consistent
Ensure that your new personality and voice match your new and improved brand look. If you've moved to something more casual or a bit fresher, make sure your tone reflects that update as well, or you risk alienating your existing customers.
Making any updates to any part of your brand should be thoughtful and rooted in the overall marketing strategy of your business. When executed well, they can help elevate, expand and even focus your business.
If you're ready to take the next steps on a rebrand or a brand refresh, Anchor Watch Marketing can help you develop and execute a strategy designed just for you. Great marketing is easy marketing.