Let it go: why it’s time to refresh your brand

Updating your company image can be expensive, but it’s the smartest money you’ll ever spend.

From time to time, my wife will point at something in my wardrobe and say something like: “you want to get rid of that old thing”. I’ll be mildly offended at first, but I’ll duly chuck it out, replace it and then spend the next couple of months wondering how I could have worn the “old thing” for so long.

Sometimes you need a bit of perspective.

The same is true of branding. Often, a new marketing director will join a company and the first thing they’ll do is insist on a brand refresh. It’ll take a while for the other directors to get on-board but then suddenly, they’ll all be placing orders for new brochures and pull-up banners and whatever else their budget will stretch to.

Soon, there’ll be a buzz around the place, a renewed sense of pride and a feeling that the company is moving forwards. And more often than not, this optimism will translate to the bottom line.

Brand refreshes work and are a proven strategy for reinvigorating an organisation, both internally and externally. Admittedly, they don’t come cheap – although they’re less expensive that a full rebrand – but they should be accounted for in any long-term planning. Even the most recognised consumer-facing companies on the planet adjust, refresh and update their brands as they mature. Google, for instance, has tweaked its identity at least half a dozen times since launch, while the major supermarkets are forever modifying their logos.

So, why bother?

The wallpaper effect

You could start selling the most innovative piece of kit that your industry’s ever seen, but if your potential customers think they know who you are and what you do, you’re going to have one hell of a job trying to alter those prejudices. A refreshed brand forces your customers to look again (often out of curiosity if nothing else) and to reconsider what you’ve got to offer them. If you’ve got what they need, they’re going to become warm sales leads.

Tastes change

However much you future-proof your company or believe that your brand can be the only constant within an ever-changing industry, the fact is that logos become dated. Your target market – both B2B and B2C – knows this and their perception of you will almost subconsciously shift over time. The next thing you know, your logo will be as unfashionable as one of my old shirts (RIP).

You’re not reaching the right audience

As the old saying goes: if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got. Maybe your product or service has changed in recent years and you want to appeal to a new audience, or perhaps you need to ditch a low spending market segment? A refreshed brand can help you target the right people again.

 Your online and offline brands don’t align

There was a time when logos were designed primarily for brochures and letterheads, but then the internet came along, followed relatively quickly by social. Brands started needing avatars, favicons, carousel banners and all sorts of unique digital assets and often, these were created on demand. The result? A botched brand where nothing aligns, consistency has been lost in the mix and your customers don’t recognise you.

Your vision’s out of whack

Let’s imagine you run a tight ship. You know what your business is all about, your staff are all pulling in the same direction and you have a clear vision for where you want to be tomorrow. That’s all great, but what about the rest of the market? Brands should evolve in response to the external environment and particularly to the shifting socio-economic conditions. A judicious tweak from time to time will ensure that your brand remains relevant.

Your campaigns are stalling

You know how it goes: you invest in a marketing push on a deal that really stings your profits. You figure that the increased business from new customers will compensate, but the campaign doesn’t perform to your expectations and you’re left scratching your head.

Today’s customers do their research. If they see a deal they like they head straight to the internet to check that it’s not too good to be true. And if the first clue they get is a slightly shonky looking brand – one that’s tired, disjointed or out of place – it’s likely that they’ll give up on the whole deal. However, if your visual branding is current, consistent and ties back to your services, you’ll engender trust and help convert sales.