Brand refreshing

Executive’s Guide for Brand Refresh

A brand refresh can spark customer engagement and propel your business forward. But it can be challenging.

Written By: 

Carl Undag


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Executive’s Guide for Brand Refresh

A brand refresh can spark customer engagement and propel your business forward. But it can be challenging. How do you maintain the core elements that resonate with your loyal audience while simultaneously introducing freshness that captures the attention of newer ones?

We'll delve into the intricacies of balancing consistency and change of a brand refresh. This blog will guide you through every process step, from understanding your brand's DNA to crafting a rollout strategy that ensures a smooth transition.

What is a Brand Refresh?

what is brand refresh

A brand refresh is a strategic revamp of a brand's identity to remain relevant and competitive. However, unlike a complete rebrand, it focuses on enhancing existing elements while maintaining the core identity that your customers recognize and trust.

Think of your brand as a tree. The roots represent your core values, while the branches represent your logo, color palette, messaging, and other brand elements. A brand refresh is about pruning and shaping the branches to allow for new growth without severing the roots that anchor your brand.

Common Brand Refresh Changes:

  • Visual Identity: This can include a logo refresh, fonts, color palette updates, or a revamped website design. The goal is to create a more modern and appealing aesthetic that reflects current trends.
  • Brand Messaging: Redefining your brand voice and messaging to better resonate with your target audience. This might involve using more inclusive language, emphasizing different aspects of your brand story, or crafting a more concise and impactful tagline.
  • Customer Experience: A brand refresh can be an opportunity to elevate your customer experience. This could involve streamlining your customer service channels, revamping your loyalty program, or implementing new technologies to personalize the customer journey.

Brand Refresh vs Rebranding

Sometimes, a brand refresh is all you need to keep things sharp. But in other situations, a more drastic overhaul might be necessary.  Understanding the difference between a brand refresh and a rebrand will help you determine your business's right course of action.

Brand Refresh

brand refreshing or enhancing the identity
  • Focus: Enhance existing elements while maintaining core identity. 
  • Scope: Typically involves adjustments to specific touchpoints. This could be a distinctive visual identity refresh (logo, color palette, fonts), a messaging update (refining brand voice, tagline), or an improved customer experience (streamlining services, revamping loyalty programs).
  • Goal: Improve brand relevance and appeal, and strengthen connection with the target audience. A refresh aims to keep your brand fresh and competitive without alienating existing customers.


rebranding a new identity and strategy
  • Focus: Complete overhaul for a new brand identity and strategy. This is a more fundamental shift, like changing the direction of a ship.
  • Scope: This can encompass everything from the mission statement and core values to the logo, messaging, and company name. It might involve targeting a completely new audience or addressing significant changes in the market.
  • Goal: Address fundamental issues, reach new audiences, or reposition the brand. This is necessary when a brand's core identity no longer resonates with its target audience or the market landscape has shifted dramatically.

When is the Right Time to do a Brand Refresh?

The decision to refresh your brand shouldn't be taken lightly. While a well-executed refresh can breathe new life into your brand, an unnecessary one can confuse your audience and dilute your brand equity. So, how do you know when the time is right? Here are some key factors that might indicate your brand needs a refresh:

Your Brand Looks Outdated

Consumers are bombarded with fresh visuals every day. If your logo, color scheme, website design, or marketing materials haven't been updated in a significant amount of time, they can feel stale and out of touch.

Things to look out for:

  • Your logo uses skeuomorphic elements (realistic textures mimicking physical objects) that were popular a decade ago.
  • Your website layout feels clunky and doesn't adapt well to mobile devices.
  • Your color palette relies on dated trends or lacks vibrancy.
  • Your marketing materials use stock photos that feel generic and uninspired.

Your Messaging is Inconsistent

When your brand messaging lacks clarity or consistency across different touchpoints, it creates confusion and makes it difficult for your audience to grasp the core essence of your brand.

How It Shows Up:

  • Your website emphasizes technical product features, while your social media posts focus on your product's emotional benefits and lifestyle aspects.
  • Your advertising campaigns have a bold and playful tone, whereas your customer service interactions are overly formal and impersonal.
  • Different departments within your company use varying taglines or brand narratives, creating a fragmented brand experience.

Your Target Audience Has Evolved

Markets are dynamic, and your target audience isn't static, either. If your brand messaging and visuals were designed to resonate with a specific generation of consumers, but that generation is no longer your primary target, it's time to re-evaluate your brand strategy.

Some examples:

  • Your brand caters to millennials who are now established professionals with families. Their needs and priorities have shifted, and your brand messaging might no longer resonate with them.
  • The tech landscape has changed dramatically, and your brand hasn't kept pace. Your target audience now expects a seamless omnichannel experience, but your website and marketing materials haven't adapted to these changing expectations.

Your Business Has Changed

Your company is bound to evolve. Perhaps you've expanded into new markets, introduced innovative product lines, or merged with another company.  Your brand identity should reflect the current state of your business.

Some scenarios:

  • Your company started as a provider of basic office supplies but has evolved into a leader in sustainable workplace solutions. Your brand image needs to reflect this shift in focus.
  • A local coffee shop chain acquires a national coffee bean distributor. The brand refresh can be an opportunity for the company to position itself as a premium coffee provider with a global reach.

You're Struggling to Stand Out

If your brand gets lost in the sea of competitors, attracting and retaining customers can be difficult.  A brand refresh can help you redefine your brand positioning and carve out a unique space in the market.

Some signs:

  • Your marketing materials and brand messaging are generic and fail to highlight what makes your brand special.
  • Competitors are launching innovative marketing campaigns and capturing consumer attention, while your brand seems stagnant.
  • Customer surveys reveal confusion about what your brand stands for compared to your competitors.

Negative Customer Associations

Unfortunately, brands can sometimes develop negative associations with consumers.  This could be due to a product recall, bad customer service experiences, or a brand image that no longer feels relevant.  A brand refresh can be an opportunity to shed these negative perceptions and create a more positive brand image.

Potential Causes:

  • A social media gaffe leads to negative publicity and customer backlash.
  • Customers consistently complain about poor product quality or unresponsive customer service.
  • Your brand image feels outdated and doesn't reflect the values or social consciousness that today's consumers expect.

How to Do a Brand Refresh Effectively?

Here's a step-by-step guide to help you with your successful brand refresh project:

1. Define Your Goals and Conduct an Audit

brand defining of clear goals and audit

Take a moment to define clearly what you want to achieve with the refresh. Are you aiming to attract a younger demographic, modernize your image to appear more tech-savvy, or better reflect your company's commitment to sustainability? Having a clear set of goals from the outset will guide every decision you make throughout the refresh process. 

Once you have your goals set, conduct a comprehensive brand audit. Examine your current brand elements, including your logo, messaging, website design, marketing materials, and customer service interactions. 

Analyze what aspects are working well and identify areas for improvement. Are certain elements needing to be updated? Is your messaging clear and concise, or is it confusing your target audience?  The brand audit will provide valuable insights that will inform the direction of your refresh.

2. Know Your Audience

target audience and conduct market research

Understanding your target audience's current preferences, media consumption habits, and brand expectations is vital to a successful refresh. Conduct thorough market research to understand their demographics, lifestyles, and pain points. What kind of content do they consume? What social media platforms do they frequent? What are their brand preferences?  

Understand your audience deeper and tailor your refreshed brand identity to resonate with them. This might involve refreshing your brand voice to be more casual and relatable or revamping your visual identity to incorporate colors and design elements that appeal to their tastes.

3. Analyze the Competition

analyze competition with the team

While you don't want to simply copy what your competitors are doing, it's wise to understand the competitive landscape. Conduct competitor research to see what they're doing well in branding. Analyze their messaging, visual identity, and marketing strategies.  

Identify any gaps or opportunities where your brand can differentiate itself. Perhaps your competitor's brand voice is overly formal, creating an opening for you to position yourself as a more approachable and friendly brand.  

The goal here isn't to become a carbon copy but to learn from the successes (and failures) of others in your market. This will allow you to position your brand refresh strategically to stand out from the crowd and capture the attention of your target audience.

4. Refine Your Brand Core Values

refine your brand core values and elements

Your brand core values encompass the foundational elements that define your brand's essence. This includes your mission statement, core values, and brand story. Review these elements and ensure they accurately reflect your company's purpose and aspirations. Ask yourself: Does your mission statement still resonate with the company's current goals? Do your core values still represent the principles that guide your business decisions?  

If these elements feel outdated or misaligned, consider refining them better to reflect your brand's current identity and future direction. This might involve updating your mission statement to incorporate a new sustainability focus or revisiting your core values to emphasize the importance of innovation within your company culture.

5. Update Your Visual Identity

updating the brand's visual identity

Your visual identity is what people see first, so it's crucial to ensure it's visually appealing, memorable and aligns with your core message. This might involve refreshing your logo with a modern redesign or tweaking your color palette to feel more vibrant and energetic. 

However, it's important to strike a balance between updating your look and maintaining brand recognition. Your existing customers still need to be able to recognize your brand easily after the refresh. Avoid drastic overhauls that could confuse your audience. 

6. Revamp Your Messaging

a woman revamping the messaging for target a

The way you communicate your brand story also needs attention during a refresh. Refine your messaging to be clear, concise, and engaging for your target audience. Consider your brand voice and tone, ensuring it aligns with your overall brand personality. Is your current messaging full of jargon that confuses your audience? Does your brand voice come across as overly formal or impersonal? 

The refresh is an opportunity to refine your messaging to better connect with your target audience. This might involve simplifying your language to be more easily understood or injecting your brand voice with more humor or personality.

7. Implement Your Refresh Consistently

brand identity of your refresh consistency

Keep your brand identity consistent and implement the refresh across all your touchpoints. This includes your website, social media platforms, marketing materials, packaging, and even customer service interactions. 

Develop comprehensive brand guidelines that outline the proper use of your logo, color palette, fonts, and messaging. These will ensure consistency across all your marketing channels and customer interactions.  

8. Monitor and Measure

monitoring and measuring the impact of refresh

Track the impact of your refresh to see if it's achieving your goals. Monitor key metrics such as brand awareness, website traffic, customer engagement, and sales. Many social listening tools like Hootsuite can help you track brand sentiment and see how your audience responds to the refresh

The brand refresh process is not static, and based on the data you collect, you may need to tweak certain elements. Continuously monitor and measure to ensure your brand refresh drives positive results and propels your brand forward.

Final Thoughts

A successful brand refresh strategy is always an ongoing process.  It requires ongoing monitoring your brand refresh checklist, adapting to your audience, consistency to your brand values, and a commitment to staying relevant in the market.

Looking to refresh your brand as well for a competitive edge? Let us know how Evolv can help you!

You can also check out our blog page and be updated for the latest brand-building insights.

Brand refreshing

About the Author

Carl Undag

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Evolv's dedicated copywriter, blending storytelling prowess with business acumen for impactful results.

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