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A Marketing Manager’s Guide to a Brand Refresh

Successful rebranding starts with a promise

What is a brand refresh and why is it important? Here is a marketing manager's guide on what to consider and whether it is time for a brand revival.

You can sense that the time has come. Whether the conviction has grown gradually or hit you like a lightning bolt, it’s become very clear now: your brand needs a revival.

You know it because every day you see the widening disconnect between how your company is currently represented in the marketplace, what your company actually stands for and where your company wants to be in the future.

So you think a rebrand may be the answer. You have an inner desire to tear everything down and build something from the ground up, with no connection to the past. We know how tempting that is. And, in fact, it may be necessary. But let’s talk about it first.

Your brand is your promise

A company exists because it makes a promise to its customers—what value do you get in return for their products or services? Upon this promise, the company–customer relationship is created. And if later down the road that promise becomes inconsistent, it threatens the foundation of the company itself.

Chances are, you’ve probably already spotted a few of those inconsistencies yourself. And the larger the company, the more inconsistencies can develop subtly without action to correct. It could be the discrepancy in colours between your website and printed marketing materials, or between what your customer representatives say on the phone and what’s being discussed in executive meetings.

The truth is, even with the best efforts, any brand can drift sideways over time. That’s why regular alignment activities are highly beneficial. And the more thorough and structured the alignment, the better and more long-lasting the result.

At Skyrocket, such alignment does not equal a full-blown rebrand. Over the years, we’ve developed a light-handed way of renewing brands while maintaining their essence—a brand refresh.

What is a brand refresh?

Although the idea of touching an established brand can be daunting, it’s crucial for your brand strategy and can be done quite seamlessly by leveraging the appropriate toolkit and applying just the right resources. What does it accomplish?

First, let’s think about the core reason for a traditional rebrand. If your brand is a promise to your customers, then, at the most fundamental level, a need for a rebrand arises when your promise assumes a new form. Are you taking over another customer segment, such as B2B? Are you going premium or, on the contrary, democratizing your offering? A new brand is a perfect way to convey such a change in your promise.

The alternative is a more nuanced approach of a brand refresh. Still the same company, still the same promise, but clearly communicating that you are in step with the times and the market you operate in, and your brand is whole and complete.

As such, a brand refresh means something different for each company. To give a few examples, here are some things that could be modified should a refresh process take place:

Think of a brand refresh as good maintenance, ensuring that you continue to deliver on the promises already made. Thus the changes here are intended to be subtle in any single area, but make a considerable impact to the overall brand strategy.

What's the brand refresh process?

For any level of brand engagement, the work begins with an audit and in-depth discovery, which lay the critical groundwork for understanding what your brand is about at its core. From here, a high-level process generally follows these steps:

  1. We identify the points of misalignment between your promise and your brand

  2. We devise an updated brand strategy that takes into account all internal processes as well as consumer engagement points

  3. We adjust the designs and your messaging accordingly

  4. We strategize on the best way to roll out the refresh into the world

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Although the brand refresh framework tends to be the same, we tailor the exact process and deliverables specifically to your company’s needs. For a real-world example of an effective brand refresh, take a look at our work with the investment firm Advantage Capital, where we managed to take the brand into the 21st century without even touching their logo.

Why do a brand refresh?

In the end, a brand refresh retains your essence, keeps your promise and hones your message without being disruptive to your audience. Here are other benefits of conducting a brand refresh:

1. Not a dramatic change

Both internally and externally, a brand refresh feels simpler and is easier to get a buy-in from stakeholders and to implement across the organization.

2. Keeps the existing brand equity

A brand refresh retains the core parts of your company and reinstates the promise to your audience.

3. Realigns the team

Have you noticed how people from various departments tend to describe your company and purpose differently? A brand refresh is your chance to get everyone on the same page.

4. Communicates consistency

Some brand identities might feel historic for a reason, but more often they are just not properly cared for. A brand refresh is a signal to your audience that you evolve with time but continue to stand for the same foundational values.

5. Capture the interest of a new audience and partners

A brand refresh is the perfect opportunity to re-introduce your brand to the market, which might be a good reminder for new audiences or business partners to pay heed.

Is now the time for a brand refresh?

Are you feeling the pain points of disconnect, discontinuity or inconsistency in your brand? When was the last time the brand identity was held up alongside the organization’s reality?

We’ve provided a few thought starters above to get you started on building a solid case for why a brand refresh may be in order. Best of luck and we're here if you'd like backup. 

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