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Rebrand or Brand Refresh : What's the Difference?

Have you fallen out of love with your business's brand? Have your customers? If so, it might be time for a brand refresh or a complete rebrand. 



But what's the difference between a brand refresh and rebranding? How do you know when it's time for a change? And once you've decided, what exactly are you supposed to do? Those answers and more are coming right up.


What's the Difference Between a Brand Refresh and a Rebrand?


First, understand that these two terms refer to making changes to your brand's identity in order to shape the way customers see your brand. The difference is in the degree of change. A brand refresh is a lot like a fresh coat of paint, while rebranding is akin to tearing your brand down to the foundation and building a whole new structure.


Both have their place. So how do you figure out which approach is what your company needs? It all starts with understanding your brand and diagnosing its issues.


Evaluating Your Brand

Before you can even start to analyze what's missing from your brand's identity, you need to review the fundamental characteristics of your brand. What are its values, visual elements, and personality? Take a look at your mission and vision statements. Are they still applicable, or have they gone stale?


If you didn't establish these clearly and firmly in the past, then now's a good time to start. Once you know what you need to evaluate, you need to get your customers involved.


Using Customer-Driven Data

Everyone likes to say they put the customer first, but a whopping 42% of companies don't survey seek feedback from their customers. Be on the right side of that statistic by encouraging your existing customers to provide you with feedback on your brand.


Your feedback surveys should include some key questions that let you know what consumers are thinking. For example, can they identify your values? What do they think of your marketing materials? How do they feel about your logo and slogan? You could even have a new slogan contest to stimulate engagement.


Your changes need to be driven by market research, otherwise, they may miss the mark. 


When Should You Consider a Brand Refresh?


Consistency is great, but eventually, everything loses its luster. There are a few cases where a brand refresh is definitely the right choice. Consider a few examples.

Periodic Refreshes

Sometimes your brand just starts to look old. Dunkin' Donuts made a significant refresh when it unveiled a new campaign: “America Runs on Dunkin.” That was back in 2006, and it got people's attention. At the time, they needed to compete with the explosion of coffee shops and shifted their emphasis on their coffee and its mystical powers.  


Fast forward to 2016, and you can see that Dunkin doubled down on what worked. They modified the campaign and called it “Keep On”, further showing that a periodic refresh can keep your company's values clear in the public's mind.


Adding Values and Scope

When you need to grow as a business, a refresh can be the perfect solution. You're not completely changing who you are as a brand, but you're taking on greater ambitions. Whether it's a new product line or an increased focus on a particular type of service, your brand identity needs to reflect the growth of your business.


As an example, Whole Foods quietly made changes to its 365 brand recently. It used to say “Everyday Value” and featured a more colorful label. But, typically the brand focused on basic food items and aimed to be slightly more affordable than other brands' products.


With the shift, 365 began to produce more products that sat on more expensive shelves. “Everyday Value” had to go because it had lost its meaning, and the black background made the label more suitable for other kinds of goods.


Minor Tweaks

If your research shows that there is one aspect of your brand that people can't relate to, then you can make minor tweaks in a simple refresh. Don't fix what isn't broken. Instead, try to target the one thing that you need to.


But what if it's more than one thing? What if the whole brand needs rebuilt?


When Should You Consider a Full Rebrand?


If your business for some reason is not in good standing or suffered negative press, it probably means that your brand is facing some problems. The process of redesigning your brand can and should take some time to complete. You need to conduct extensive research and a clear understanding of what is not working so that you can find something that does.


Responding to Crisis

Trust takes a lifetime to build and only a moment to lose. If, as a brand, you've lost trust in the marketplace, then it may be time to start over from scratch. Look no further than Volkswagen.


After being rocked by their emissions scandal, their old brand was tarnished. The new logo is only one facet of the transformation. They are also shifting their overall marketing strategy. When you rebuild your brand, you need to dramatically rethink how you communicate and who you want to target.


Complete Transformation

When your company has to change dramatically, so does its branding. Microsoft notably reinvented its identity around the launch of Windows 8. Each of their applications received entirely new branding and new products were added to the roster. This was all because of a fundamental shift in how Microsoft would work.


Windows as a Service was the new paradigm. Today we have Office 365 and Xbox Live, subscription services that function in a similar manner. Microsoft took a new approach and remodeled its entire brand to support that approach.


Get a Fresh Take on Your Brand


If you need help figuring out how to spark some fresh life into your brand, then contact us Spot On Creative Solutions. We are happy to give your brand a fresh set of eyes and provide you guidance in your decision process. Whether you just need a touch-up or a complete makeover, we'll make sure it's spot on.  

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