Things to Consider When Deciding Whether to Refresh Your Brand

Pursuing a rebrand or brand refresh is arguably the biggest decision you can make regarding the identity of your business. But while most marketers are familiar with the (often intimidating) concept of rebranding, sometimes a brand refresh is the better solution. But what does that mean — and how do you know if it’s time?

A brand refresh is a comprehensive reimagining of how a brand looks, operates, and communicates its message — but it retains its brand name and core position within the market. Essentially, a refresh is for a brand that has strong customer loyalty and brand recognition, but that may need substantial adjustments to communicate its value to new consumers or to stay current in a market that has significantly evolved over the lifetime of the brand.

A refresh is most commonly associated with changing your brand’s message: While you might also change the logo or theme line, the majority of investment should typically be spent on communications. In the purest sense, it’s about changing communications such that the brand message resonates more with consumers.

So, how do you know if a refresh — rather than an all-encompassing rebranding effort — is right for your brand?

Audience priorities: Is your priority to:

  1. recapture an existing audience that is drifting away?
  2. appeal to/add a current or younger audience?

Equity: Does existing brand equity appear to:

  1. harm the brand/hinder entering a new market?
  2. still help create positive associations?

Market: Is the primary goal to:

  1. enter a new market OR revitalize within an existing one as a new player?
  2. simply stand out in the existing market?

If you answered mostly A, you may want to look into a full rebrand. Mostly B? A refresh will work just fine.

Pursuing a refresh?  Here are the top three things to keep in mind:

  • Know thy purpose: You’ve decided to refresh. Why? It’s critical to have a clear “mission statement” — it drives the market research you will conduct and the goals you set. Is it to inspire and delight a consumer segment within your market? Something else? Get to know your purpose before you set out on the journey.

  • Pay attention to the market: To refresh your brand successfully, you need to know what the market expects from you — and what you can do to stand out while still delivering clear value. How? Get busy with research. Survey your customers, talk to your employees, and look into competitors’ metrics when possible. This will help drive the refresh to a place where you’re exciting customers in a new way — without getting rid of the market essentials.

  • Set measurable goals: Come up with one to three overarching, concretely measurable goals that will guide the process and can be revisited later when it comes time to measure the success of the refresh. These goals should be broadly defined and observable objectives, e.g., increasing market share in your company’s vertical.
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