When it comes to a company’s success, there’s no doubting the importance of having a strong brand image. However, creating a brand that is completely timeless is nearly impossible. With the rise of technological advancements and the increased utilization of social media in the business world, maintaining brand relevancy is more important than ever.
Many times, brands require slight updates or even complete makeovers to keep up with this fast-changing world. The term “rebranding” is often used for this process, but in many cases, “brand refresh” is more accurate. Now you’re probably wondering how different the two could actually be, so we’ve got you covered:
A brand refresh is more of an update than a complete rehaul of the brand. In many cases, a brand refresh is focused on visual changes. While the foundation of the brand stays the same, the visual presentation is given quick, modernized enhancements. This requires the company to rework just one stage of the branding process rather than creating a brand from the beginning. A brand refresh is ideal for a brand that already has a solid brand strategy, story, and philosophy.
In a brand refresh, the idea behind a company’s main brand messaging usually remains quite consistent. Since the company’s long-standing presence in the market has already established brand equity, it’s important for the refresh to build on the brand’s existing reputation and enhance the brand equity that currently stands. Whether through a slightly altered logo or a new font, it’s almost like giving your brand a mini makeover. A brand refresh can come in many forms:
Slightly altered logo
The up and coming communication platform Slack had a recent brand refresh that has caused a lot of discussion in the advertising world. While some love it and some hate it, this brand refresh did not go unnoticed. Saying goodbye to the common and overused “hashtag,” Slack decided their logo was no longer unique to their brand. Instead, they designed their new logo to mimic that of conversation bubbles in order to show what their app is really for.
Much like in Google’s case, even a slight change in font can be good for a brand refresh. Although many of you may not have even noticed this change in font, this brand enhancement is the perfect example of how brands “refresh” their image to keep up with the times and give their brand a more modern look.
New color palette
Instagram not only changed their logo completely, but even their color palette. Rather than sticking to their more vintage look, they decided to use brighter, bolder colors. Now that’s sure to pop out in the app store….
While a brand refresh keeps the company’s main brand identity and strategy intact, rebranding allows the brand to scrap their current identity and start with a fresh slate. Rebranding is a great strategy for companies that feel as though their brand strategy is unclear or ineffective. Since this is a top-to-bottom change, this approach includes creating a new brand strategy, redefining the mission, reestablishing the brand story, and reworking the brand positioning and values to match a new, clear set of goals. Rebranding gives you the power to start back at the beginning and go through the branding process again with a redefined vision for the future.
A company wanting to rebrand essentially means that it’s looking to transform its brand image and perception in the market. Although it may retain some aspects of the old brand identity, the brand, for the most part, will be going in a new direction. In many cases, rebranding is a good solution when a company’s brand strategy is no longer viable for its current market. Whether its current target market is evolving or is simply no longer a practical audience, a rebrand allows a company to change its brand strategy to keep up with new trends in the marketplace.
Since a rebrand requires starting from scratch, it should be approached with consideration and intentionality. A company should kickstart the rebrand only when the new brand strategy has been carefully planned from beginning to end. The rebrand should bring about a long-term strategy rather than a short-term solution.
In reactive rebranding, a company is reacting to a more immediate situation in which it can benefit from a rebrand. This type of rebrand is more of a response than an initiative.
A reactive rebrand most likely occurs when:
- You’re looking to combat bad publicity or a negative brand image
- Your company is being acquired or merged with another
- Your competition has gained a strong advantage in your market
- Your brand violates certain trademark or copyright laws
When a company is preparing for future changes in the market or within the company itself, it’s considered a proactive rebrand. This type of rebrand happens when a company is anticipating changes in the market or business and aims to cater to these changes. A proactive rebrand is a strategic decision to take your company in a new direction.
A proactive rebrand most likely occurs when:
- Your brand strategy isn’t working with your target audience
- You’re looking to reach a different audience or expand to a broader market
- Your brand is no longer viable in the market
- You want to expand your company’s product/service offerings
- Your brand identity is not cohesive with your brand strategy
- Your brand story and philosophy are either nonexistent or ineffective
With a name like “Old Spice,” there’s no question who the company’s target market was. Originally targeting an older generation, Old Spice decided to target a whole new audience of younger males when it was acquired by Procter & Gamble. Starting off by renaming their old scent “Glacial Falls” to “Swagger” and launching a new idea of turning wimpy kids to strong males, Old spice then went on to transform their entire brand from boring to hip.
For years, McDonald’s has struggled with a brand perception that was… not the best. Having a notorious reputation for being an unhealthy food option with poor customer service, McDonald’s has since been working to change this brand perception. With healthier menu options and a new commitment to sustainable sourcing, the company is still working to position itself as a “trusted and respected” fast-food option for families.
What if we told you that the company so widely recognized for providing a large range of technological products was once limited to computers? Apple’s rebranding is a great example of a company that underwent a proactive rebrand to expand its brand to be known for more than just one product. While formerly limited by the name “Apple Computer,” rebranding the company name to just “Apple” (as well as simplifying the entire brand) allowed Apple to become the futuristic, modern technology leader we know it as today.
With such a fast-evolving market, making sure that your brand is up-to-date is essential for long-standing success. Whether you’re looking to complete a simple brand refresh or a more complex rebrand, there’s never any shame in making changes to enhance your brand!