Elevation_Escape Network Rebrand

Rebrand vs. Brand Refresh

By Brett Rakestraw
Brett Rakestraw
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While the terms rebranding and a brand refresh are sometimes used interchangeably, we think of a brand refresh as more of an evolution of a brand’s image that is designed to reflect the evolution of the customer, or to appeal to a broader or more diverse audience. Whereas, a rebrand is more of a brand overhaul, best incorporated when a brand is having trouble finding or connecting with customers, also known as your positioning, or when there is a significant change in the direction of the company or its products.

Why a Rebrand

A great rebrand or refresh can be incredibly effective at growing or repositioning a business. A great rebrand can make customers remember what they once loved about a brand or forget about what they didn’t. A great rebrand represents a new start or growth and evolution. 

But, before you decide it’s time to refresh your brand, or even to rebuild it from the ground up, it’s important to first understand what your brand represents today. 

  • Do you know how your audience sees you? 
  • Does your brand represent a point of view? 
  • Does your entire brand, and everyone behind it, stand united behind a unique vision with laser focus on your ideal customer? 
  • That reminds me...do you know who your ideal customer is? 

If any of this sounds fuzzy, it’s important to start with structured strategy sessions to determine what you want your brand to represent and how to achieve that. Then, you’ll have a clear understanding of the direction to take your brand.

Before moving on, it’s also important to note that a rebrand or refresh, while full of potential upsides, requires some tough decision making and steadfast resolve to pull off. Familiar is easy, and change never is. There are always going to be second guesses and generally lots of stakeholders involved. Be sure that all stakeholders are included early in the process and that everyone stays on that same page throughout to ensure a successful rebrand.

The Elements of a Brand

As referenced above, your brand is really a reflection of how your audience and customers see you. It’s a total picture of all of the ways in which your brand touches and interacts with people.

Your brand is not a logo. More on this in a minute. 

What is a Brand Core

Your brand’s core answers the questions above about your brand’s point of view and your unique vision. The core of your brand includes your brand promise or company mission. It includes core values, your target audience, and even company culture. It’s the foundation for everything else around your brand, and it’s key to the success of your brand.

Before a rebrand or a refresh, you should revisit your core and make sure it still aligns with the future plans and goals of the brand. And, if these core elements were never discussed when the brand was launched, it’s a perfect time to figure these things out when considering a rebrand or refresh.

What is Your Brand Visual Identity

A logo isn’t, on its own, a brand. But, a logo is a key ingredient in a brand’s visual identity. In a world where attention is fleeting and everyone is vying for it, the visual identity of a brand is crucial for developing split second identifiers, and compelling imagery.

A typical brand identity system includes a logo, or multiple logos, color palettes, fonts, photography, illustrations, and graphic design. But, the visual identity also includes the rules around how all of these things appear across the brand. A set of consistent guidelines is just as important as the individual visual elements.

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When planning for a rebrand or brand refresh, be sure to consider all of the ways you are currently using your visual brand elements. Think about anything that is missing from the list. And, if you already have a brand style guide, make sure to share it with the designers executing the updated visual identity. 

What is Your Brand Voice

While visual communication is key for quick recognition, the other key aspect of a brand is its voice. Your brand’s voice includes all of the ways you communicate with your audience and even with team members through language.

The brand voice runs through everything from social media posts, to ad copy, to corporate communications. More than any other aspect of a brand, the voice is the closest representation of a brand’s personality. 

  • Is your brand light hearted and humorous? 
  • Is it motivational, heartfelt, or serious in nature? 

The voice of your brand should answer these questions, and it should be consistent.

Before a brand refresh, consider what your brand’s voice is and how it’s implemented across all communication. 

  • Does it speak to your target audience? 
  • Does it contradict itself? 
  • Does it have a point of view that matches your brand’s core?

A rebrand or brand refresh is a great time to reexamine the voice and to adjust it and unify it to better represent the brand across the board. And, a strong consistent voice can also help to inform the visual identity of the brand.

Important Considerations In a Rebrand or Brand Refresh

When planning a rebrand or brand refresh, there are two factors to consider outside of the actual content of your brand – your timeline and budget.

Budgeting for a Brand Refresh

A brand refresh is generally far more cost effective than a rebrand when many of the brand assets will be reused or slightly tweaked, versus a complete rebuild of your brand identity. 

However, it’s best not to short change any aspect of your brand update. While the individual elements of your brand might seem small on their own, the sum all of all parts, well defined, well organized, and hyper focused, can make the difference in a wildly successful brand and one that fades into oblivion.

Make sure that you create a budget for your rebrand that will allow for a holistic approach to all of your brand needs for the best chance of a successful outcome.

Setting a Realistic Timeline

Along with budget, the other key need for a successful rebrand or refresh is time. We live in a world of deadlines. Nothing seems more important than “now.” But a rebrand, and even a brand refresh, is about the future. It’s an undertaking meant to effect the outcome of potentially years of business down the line. So, an undertaking that will likely be in place for a long time and will have a meaningful effect on your business for years should be given the proper amount of time to come to fruition. 

Make sure that you give your business, your stakeholders, and your vendors a reasonable timeline to achieve the goals you have for your brand. While this timeline might look different for different brands, just make sure to go into a rebrand with an understanding that, to be done well, it must be considered thoroughly, and it shouldn’t be rushed through.

A rebrand or brand refresh may be exactly what you need to take your brand to another level that current customers will embrace and new customers will be drawn to. Ask yourself and your stakeholders the right questions, set the right goals, and pick the right partners, and you’ll be set to take your brand to another level.

Visit more Elevation content on rebrands and brand refreshes here.

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Topics: rebrand/refresh development

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