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When is it Time for a Brand Refresh?

My close friend and former business mentor once told me in the beginning of my journey, “Whatever business you think you’re in, you’re not. And if you fail to understand what business you are in, your company won’t last.” This was perhaps one of the most powerful statements that would forever change my perception on branding. Your brand is not merely the services or products you sell, your fancy logo, witty slogan, or stunning colors. It’s deeper than that. It’s the entire experience of your company – how you make people feel.

Rebranding is no small feat. It requires hours upon hours of countless strategy sessions, brainstorming activities, and sometimes your sanity. Unless your company is going through one of the following four major signs to rebrand, it’s safe to say an image refresh might be all you need.

What is Considered in Developing a Brand?

Before we dive into the core signs it may be time for a rebrand, let’s take a closer look at the definitions of the components of branding:

  • Brand image: the emotions that customers feel when they think about a company and its offerings.
  • Brand elements: physical elements (name, logo, tag) intended to trigger those emotions.
  • Brand equity: the estimated financial value of the brand image and brand elements projected in terms of future profit.
  • Branding: the creation of brand elements and connecting them to brand image in the hope of improving brand equity.
  • Brand overhaul (a.k.a. rebranding): changing the brand elements in the hope of improving brand equity.
  • Brand refresh: changing the brand image and adding customer-centric improvements in hopes of staying ahead of the competition.

Why Would a Veteran Company Need to Rebrand?

You’ve been in business for years, perhaps even decades. The idea of rebranding your company can be scary since it’s been something that the community and your customers are familiar with. There are four major reasons to consider a total branding overhaul:

Unexpected Negative Triggers. Things happen. When something outside of your control occurs, and your company name or products is associated or related in some way, it can be difficult to change people’s perceptions. That’s when it’s time to swoop in with a quick rebranding overhaul.

Highly Publicized Scandal. Back to the basics of branding. If people associate any negative feelings toward your brand, your company, and/or your executives, it’s time to consider a rebrand.

Product-Service Mismatch. We all hope for our business to grow and expand. Sometimes, when we add new product lines or expand our services, we need our overall company brand to align with it.

Outdated Look & Feel. If you don’t continue innovating and evolving, your company becomes stagnant and loses its competitive edge. That’s easy prey for up-and-coming competitors.

Brand Refresh vs. Brand Overhaul

At the very minimum, a fresh new website and using new technologies are what will give you a competitive edge – rather than completely rebranding your company. If your company’s brand is excellent, and it’s simply your look or technology that’s outdated, perhaps it’s time to find a way to “re-invent” your company.

Start with some basic questions: Are customers leaving your company for another company? If so, why? What are your customers complaining about the most? How can you improve your service or product offerings? Sometimes the answer is technology innovations, while other times it’s a matter of diversifying your products or services – and marketing it in a compelling way.

Technology innovations can include: website redesign, adding the ability to pay a bill online, placing online orders, or creating a mobile app.

Service offerings can include: adding delivery, one-on-one consultations, or adding a new related service.
Product expansions can include: new colors or adding a new related product.

When you’ve brainstormed a good list, start prioritizing. It’s time to improve your company, without totally losing your mind. Make sure to enlist the right help you need. If it’s technology improvements, make sure you talk with a reputable tech company that has plenty of proven projects. If you’re expanding your service or products, make sure you enlist the help of an experienced marketer to make a big impact with a creative campaign.

Tim Lewis is the owner of Iron Springs Design and Website Design Phoenix. He's hired a great technical and design team to develop any online website or software project that you can imagine. Tim holds a BS in Computer Information Systems and his technology career spans 3 decades, including 11 years at Microsoft. He loves working on your websites and software projects!