Brand Refresh Guide: How To Modernize Your Identity

Brand Refresh
Restaurant Marketing

Imagine that you’re on the dating circuit, looking for that special someone. One of the fundamental things you need to do is keep up your appearance: your hairstyle, your clothes, your physique. You need to stay current, stay fresh, to be successful in the dating game.

The same holds true for your business. Your customers want to know you’re working to keep up with the times. They want to know that your brand continues to reflect their values and their preferences. Because your customers are not frozen in time; they’re changing, growing, evolving in their needs and desires.

It’s a reality of business: your brand needs to keep up with the times, so it’s important—essential, really—to refresh it now and then. To continue our analogy, we’re not talking about a completely new wardrobe or a major physical transformation. We’re talking about, say, a new pair of glasses and a hipper hairstyle. A brand refresh shows your customers and potential customers that you care enough to look and be your very best. That means you care about them. And that, ultimately, is good for your bottom line.

Refreshing your brand identity, in a nutshell, benefits your business by:

  • Keeping you up to date with the changing values of current and potential customers.
  • Giving you an edge over your less-proactive competitors.
  • Indicating that your company and product offering(s) are evolving.

Let’s look at some ways to refresh your brand identity.

Getting started.

The first thing you need to do is assess your need for a brand refresh. Remember that refreshing your brand identity is quite different from a complete rebrand. A brand refresh involves tweaking your brand identity to stay current in the marketplace. A rebrand is a complete overhaul of your brand due to major changes such as new product offering(s), restructuring of your company, a merger with another business, or even a new company name. 

One way to assess your need is to conduct a brand audit, or a thorough analysis of how your brand is performing across all touchpoints, e.g., retail locations, your social media accounts, and your website. A brand audit helps you better understand your strengths and weaknesses, and you can learn this through methods and tools such as surveys, interviews (customers, employees, stakeholders), focus groups, and website analytics. With this information, you can better see the big picture of your brand’s health and effectiveness.

Defining your goals, building your strategy.

Once you decide a brand refresh is in order, you and your team need to clearly define the goals of the refresh and how you’re going to accomplish them. Ask yourself:

  • What are the biggest challenges your brand faces? The biggest opportunities?
  • How do you distinguish yourself from the competition?
  • What is your unique value proposition, and how do you best communicate it?

With honest answers to these questions and data from your brand audit, you can begin to develop a strategy for refreshing your brand identity. This strategy should clearly outline your vision, mission, values, positioning, messaging, and goals, and it should be closely aligned with your overall business strategy. Above all, it needs to be realistic and serve as the foundation for every action you take and every decision you make.

What elements does a brand refresh involve?

A brand refresh often incorporates small yet important changes to elements such as your:

Your logo can be modified to look more modern; completely replacing it would be part of a total rebranding effort. One of the more recognizable brand identity refreshes occurred in 2011 when Starbucks dropped the word “coffee” from its logo, leaving just the image of the mermaid. The reason: Starbucks was no longer known, or wanting to be known, for just serving great coffee. The company also offered great teas, food, and other products. But the most significant and recognizable part of the logo remained. 

Colors can be altered to better fit your new brand image. Sometimes just a different shade of a color is enough to spruce up your identity, and sometimes a whole new color is required to reflect a new commitment—green to reflect a renewed dedication to being environmentally responsible, for example.

The font used for your logo, tagline, product packaging, store signage and environmental graphics, and any other representation of your brand identity is part of most brand identity alterations.

Sometimes a shift in company attitude or market conditions requires a company to alter its tagline. (In most cases, a total replacement of the tagline would be considered part of a rebrand.) An example of a company that recently refreshed its tagline would be regional barbecue restaurant chain Rib Crib. The tagline that used to be part of its broadcast media, “Smokin’ the good stuff,” has been revised to “Servin’ the good stuff.” Why? Did “Smokin’” became too controversial or inappropriate in the eyes of new management? Did the company want to reinforce its new commitment to high-quality service? Or were there other reasons? Either way, the tagline was deftly refreshed without making anyone think there was a fundamental shift in the company or its products.

Communication style
A brand identity refresh can also involve the way you communicate with your customers and potential customers. Let’s say you used to rely heavily on direct mail to advertise your product or service, but after your brand audit you learn that your increasingly younger audience prefers electronic media, specifically email and social media. You would then justifiably begin focusing more of your media dollars on non-print efforts, but keeping your current brand look and feel.

Naturally, any changes to your logo, typography, colors, etc., will need to be incorporated on your website.

Implementing changes and following up.

Once the new brand identity is ready, it’s time to implement it across all touchpoints and channels—your website, social media profiles, marketing materials, packaging, signage, and more. It’s also the time to tell everyone about it: customers, partners, employees, the media, your mom and dad—everyone. How? Any way you can to get the word out, including a press release, newsletter, website blogs and videos, paid influencers, special events, or all of the above.

With all your efforts in launching a brand refresh, you’ll want to know if your investment of time and energy was worth it, and whether it has achieved your objectives. That’s why monitoring and evaluating the impact and performance of the refresh should be an essential part of your overall strategy.

Using tools such as surveys, polls, reviews, testimonials, and social media mentions, you can track and measure metrics and indicators such as brand awareness, recognition, ad recall, loyalty, satisfaction, and more. Less formally, you can simply ask stakeholders and customers for their opinions and reactions.

While it can be time-consuming, the brand refresh process can be rewarding in many ways if planned and executed carefully. AcrobatAnt would love to help you with a brand update that can transform your business. Contact AcrobatAnt CEO Angela Harless at 918-938-7912 or [email protected].