Is your brand still fit for purpose?
You already know the importance of brand so I’m not going to rehearse that. Instead, my question is whether your brand continues to deliver what it should? And if it doesn’t, what you can you do about it?
To unpick that a little, a brand needs to reflect your products, services, values, aspirations and, ultimately, your organisation’s DNA. It also needs to be consistently applied across everything you do. Over time, brands often lose both relevance and consistency, meaning they need some remedial action.
Broadly speaking, you have two options: a brand refresh or a rebrand. A refresh is a strategic move to modernise and strengthen your image, whilst maintaining your core identity and strategy. And a rebrand is a complete overhaul of your brand’s identity and strategy.
Both need to be handled with care, to ensure the result reflects what it should and that your internal external audiences understand the changes, why they are important and what they mean for them.
Refresh your brand…
A brand refresh involves updating certain elements of a brand, such as its logo, colour scheme or messaging, while keeping the core essence of the brand intact. The purpose is to update the brand so better resonates with its target audiences, reflects changes within the organisation, or to stay current with industry trends.
A brand refresh is a less drastic change than a rebrand, and is often used to keep a brand relevant and modern.
…or a complete rebrand?
On the other hand, a rebrand involves a significant overhaul of a brand’s identity, up to the brand name, logo, messaging and even the products or services offered. The goal of a rebrand is to fundamentally change how the brand is perceived and positioned.
It is typically used when a brand is struggling to connect with its target audience or when it is undergoing a significant change in direction. And, of course it is more time-consuming and expensive than a brand refresh.
How do you decide between a brand refresh and a rebrand?
Many factors go into the decision about what route is most appropriate for your brand, including your goals, the market environment, your target audience, your employees and the age of the current brand. Here are some considerations:
- The current brand is still relevant and resonates with the target audience, but may need some minor updates to stay current
- The organisation has made minor changes to its business model, product offerings or marketing strategy
- The current brand has a strong brand equity and recognition, and the company wants to maintain that while updating the look and feel
- The market and competition are relatively stable, and you want to stay ahead of your competition
- The company has limited resources and wants to make affordable changes to the brand
- The current brand has been around too long. It is no longer relevant and has become very diluted
- The organisation has undergone significant changes
- The market and competition have changed significantly and your organisation is in danger of being left behind
- The organisation has the resources to invest in a significant rebranding effort
- In short, the brand needs major work to make it fit for purpose
Ultimately, the decision often comes down to the available resources. We always recommend undertaking market research to gauge the views of your important stakeholders, combined with advice from independent brand experts.
Pros and cons of changing your brand
Any change come with potential positives and negatives. Done properly, any brand work will always be a good thing. A refreshed or new brand can deliver increased…
- …relevance, helping you stay current and relevant in a changing market by updating your messaging, visual identity, and tone of voice
- …customer engagement by connecting with your audience on a deeper level by creating a new, more compelling story that resonates more effectivley
- …brand loyalty, reinforcing your values and mission, which can help build stronger relationships with stakeholders
- …differentiation, ensuring you stand out from the crowd by creating a unique and distinctive brand identity
On the other hand, if you don’t get it right the result can be:
- Confusion among internal and external audiences, who may not recognise the new brand identity, messaging, or visual identity. I’m sure we can all think of rebrands we hate
- Loss of brand equity if the changes are perceived as negative or if the company fails to communicate the reasons for the changes effectively
- Increased costs, especially if it involves significant changes to the company’s visual identity, packaging and marketing materials
- Rejection, if customers don’t like the changes or perceive them as inauthentic, insincere or unnecesary
How to win at changing your brand
It’s simple: get your branding right and communicate it effectively. That does not mean, however, that it’s easy.
I’ve already talked about the importance of getting the foundations of the change right by understanding exactly what your stakeholders need, and having the right resources in place. As well as money, those resources include a branding team that also understands your requirements and is competent to make the right changes. Again, that’s easier said than done.
You also need to communicate clearly and thoroughly with your various audiences throughout the process. You need to tell everyone what you’re doing and why. The why starts with explaining the importance for your organisation, quickly followed by why it is important and relevant for your audiences. What’s in it for them? Why should they care? Why should they accept it?
Often the best way to convince people, particularly internal audiences, is to involve them from the beginning. Being part of the decision-making process, at whatever level, makes it very hard to disagree with the end result. And multiple voices providing input in the early stages often means a better result at the end. Finally, have a plan. This is complex, multi-faceted project and it should be treated as such. Branding and communications are 95% science and only 5% art, with planning as the foundation.
Everything you need to rework your brand
This is a public information broadcast not a sales pitch. However, you will find everything you need to rework your brand at Leidar. We have the rare combination of designers and communicators on the same team. We sit next to each other, bouncing ideas off each other and working closely together. The result is an effective and highly efficient process. Please do get in touch if you want to discuss your branding project.
Senior Consultant, Head of Design, based in London
Juli heads up Leidar’s London-based creative team. She is an experienced design consultant that works with clients to develop outstanding visual communication solutions that resonate with audiences and deliver on brand objectives.