Tastes change. People move on. New innovations come along. Whichever industry you’re in, whether your small business is online, in-person, or both, giving your brand and website a makeover can help you kickstart a new chapter whilst keeping true to your roots.
What is a brand refresh?
A brand refresh is a strategic update to a company’s visual identity and messaging. For many small businesses, it’s a way to stay relevant to their target audience and keep up with the latest trends in their industry.
On one level, brand identity signals a company’s relevance and position in the market. If their competitors all have fresh new looks, then theirs will look increasingly outdated by comparison. To keep the competitive edge, it’s important to periodically refresh the brand.
Refreshing your brand is the perfect way to assess and adjust your brand’s visual identity and voice across various touchpoints with customers. It’s a way of re-aligning how you’re perceived to ensure you maintain the right resonance with your target audience.
To maintain a lasting connection with your audience, your visual identity and messaging needs to grow with them. It’s important to evolve your brand’s look and feel to avoid stagnation, and signal a marked change in direction, vision, or growth.
Rebranding versus brand refresh
If a brand refresh is about the evolution of a brand, then rebranding is all about revolution. With a refresh, your brand slowly evolves; with rebranding, you rip up the brand rulebook and start again.
When a company undergoes rebranding, they significantly change the look and feel of their brand’s identity. Rebranding requires a deep dive into the organization, getting right under the hood to overhaul the company and its positioning, mission, vision, and values.
Watch this short video for a simple explanation of the differences between refreshing and rebranding by Col, from Rock Your Brand.
Rebranding is generally done for one of two reasons:
- Firstly, when a company makes a proactive choice to rebrand, they typically do so in conjunction with a planned change in direction, to engage with a new or wider audience, and set a new strategic path.
- Secondly, when businesses take a reactive choice to rebrand, they usually do so to distance the company from negative perceptions or to differentiate it from competitors who may be gaining the competitive edge.
In contrast, the reason for a brand refresh is usually to modernize existing visual elements, like the company logo, website, brand fonts, colour palette, icons, and imagery. For many small businesses, it can be difficult to decide whether the time is right to refresh and also how to go about doing it. Bringing in a brand consulting specialist is always a good place to start.
Need help with your decision-making around refreshing your brand? You might be interested in our blog post about knowing the right time for a brand refresh.
What should a brand refresh include?
An effective brand refresh runs deeper than simply polishing your visuals. For it to make an impact, it needs to be aligned with your wider vision, mission, and core values.
At the same time, you need to ensure that it matches with your customer and employees’ experience of your brand. There’s little point pretending your business is something it’s not. It might be your company brand, but it’s the people who choose to do business with it, and the people who work for it that truly own it.
For that reason, a brand refresh is likely to include:
- A brand audit: A checkup on the health of your brand in the marketplace, evaluating its strengths and weaknesses and how to improve it.
- Competitor analysis: A study of your competitors will reveal how to differentiate your brand from theirs, including things like brand colour, tagline, value proposition, and website.
- Positioning and messaging: A brand needs clear rational messaging which has emotional resonance with your target audience, addressing their pain points, and promoting why you’re uniquely positioned to help.
- Visual identity: A distinct logo and brand identity gives your business a distinct look and feel and helps to alleviate mixed messaging across different touchpoints, from your website to your social channels.
- Launch and roll-out: A brand refresh is a big deal. Make sure you communicate it effectively, both internally and externally. Build excitement and make it an event.
Why is a brand refresh important?
A brand refresh is important to small businesses for a number of reasons.
Primarily, it helps to revitalize your brand by updating its look and feel, without alienating existing customers. It’s still recognizably the same company, only better-looking and more modern. Even subtle changes to your logo can make a huge difference to how your brand is perceived.
From your pitch deck to your website, a brand refresh enables you to share a clear vision with employees and customers. Over time, it’s possible that your brand identity may have become misaligned. Perhaps your social channels look like a different company to your website? A refresh can help to ensure consistent messaging and a cohesive look and feel.
With that consistency, wherever your audiences find you, it will feel like the same business. This can also strengthen your brand against competitors, and it’s a great opportunity to speak to your audience in a more engaging way.
Finally, refreshing your brand is a powerful way to spark new interest in your product or service, whether you’re pushing outside your traditional audience, or making your business more appealing to potential customers and hires. Refreshing your brand can also be the cue to kickstart your marketing efforts if sales have fallen flat.
Examples of brand and website refreshes
Here are two examples from the Khula Design Studio portfolio where a brand and website refresh has made a powerful difference:
With hundreds of children attending their award-winning after school program, Afternoon Adventures needed a stronger and more cohesive brand identity to match their incredible mission. At the same time, it was essential for them to have an accessible and easy-to-navigate website for parents, teachers, church members, and school leaders to learn and interact with their programs.
As data privacy experts and long-time partners of IBM, ABMartin were looking to extend their reach to a new customer-base. With a subtle yet powerful brand refresh alongside a stronger online presence in the form of a new Webflow website, they now have a more modern look and feel to take the company forward.
Khula Design Studio has helped 50+ businesses transform their websites using Webflow. Learn more about what it is and why it makes a difference when you’re refreshing your website and brand by reading our guide to Webflow migration.
How do you successfully refresh a brand?
It’s all about perceptions, and understanding them.
Once you’ve done the discovery work, and completed a brand audit, where to sit in the market becomes much clearer. Whatever your customers say you are — that’s what you are. Make sure you listen closely before making changes. That way, you can ensure you’re perfectly aligned with your audience and their needs.
Taking a fresh look at your visual identity is critically important. Those visual signs need to communicate the right message, at the right time, to the right people. What does your logo say about you? Ideally, you want it to communicate a modern and forward-thinking organization, which knows where it’s going, what it stands for, and what it’s about.
When your revitalized brand is ready, it’s time to hit the play button. Make sure you deliver a kick-ass campaign across your website and social channels, and wherever else your target audience hangs out, to truly announce your new look.
Your brand is a small business’s most valuable asset. So thinking about tinkering with it can be a stressful decision. If you’re thinking about a brand refresh and need professional help and guidance, get an estimate from Khula Design Studio.
Brand refreshes are our forte. We’d love to hear your challenges and goals to see if we’re the perfect fit for your brand refresh.
Originally posted on www.khula.studio