Most businesses will, at some point, come to a place where they realise their initial branding is no longer suitable. This is especially the case for many smaller businesses that started on “shoestring” budgets, as the initial branding was most likely completed in house, and probably by the owner who has no prior knowledge or experience in branding and/or marketing. Typically, a point is reached where the business is growing and new services/products are offered and if the business owners want to grow any further, they realise that the initial branding no longer makes any sense and could potentially be holding them back from future growth. But the question is, should I rebrand or refresh my business?
Before we can answer whether or not a rebrand or refresh is required, it’s important to understand the difference between these 2 options.
Many (majority) of business owners fail to understand the difference between branding and identity an this is their biggest downfall when it comes to deciding whether to rebrand or refresh their current brand
Branding is how the business is perceived on a whole by external sources, whether that is by clients, potential clients, or competitors.
BusinessDictionary.com defines it as:
“The process involved in creating a unique name and image for a product in the consumers’ mind, mainly through advertising campaigns with a consistent theme. Branding aims to establish a significant and differentiated presence in the market that attracts and retains loyal customers.”
Note the first part of that sentence. Branding is how all of your business elements work together to create perception of your business. It’s all about the mind of your audience. What they think you do, or how you can serve them. What they think of you when they see your logo or advertising.
Identity has much more to do with the imagery your business has. The logo, colours, style, and design.
Identity is easily recognisable.
Unfortunately, most people get these confused, or rather simply merge the two and forget entirely about perception. In essence, most people don’t think about identity, and think branding has everything to do with what your logo looks like.
When Do I Need To Rebrand?
As branding has much more to do with external perception than a change of logo, there are a couple of main reasons as to why you would want to look at rebranding, as opposed to refreshing your business.
1. Poor Perception
This could be self inflicted or totally out of your control.
Regardless, if your business/brand is being received poorly, or has some negative connotations surrounding it, it might be a good idea to think about a complete rebrand.
There was a Rock band in New Zealand in the late 90’s and early 2000’s that was experiencing some pretty good success in the NZ and Australia markets, so they were looking to try and crack the U.S market. Their name was Shihad.
Somewhere around the time they were looking to crack the U.S music business, September 11 happened and they had to make a decision. These guys were savvy enough to think about their brand and the perception around their brand in the U.S. They decided their band name was far too similar sounding to jihad and realised very quickly that there was most likely going to be a very poor reception in the early 2000’s to a band with a name that sounded like a term that was being used to scare U.S citizens.
The above is an example of an external situation influencing a rebranding of a band, but similar things can happen in business.
If a few bad apples ruin the perception of an entire industry (hello, Enron!), it’s important to disassociate your business/brand from the rest.
2. Future Business Growth
It is good business practice to be able to pivot and grow. To be able to add new offerings and cull the ones that are no longer profitable.
The issue is, all of this growing and culling can leave you with a totally different looking business than the one you started on your shoestring budget, and this often means your branding no longer reflects your business.
In our case, we started off with simple website offerings to clients. We decided to call ourselves “On Purpose Websites”. It made sense at the time. We only did websites, and we wanted to make sure the websites we created met the purpose of the businesses they were created for.
Fast forward a couple of years, and our business now offers many other services. Digital marketing, automation tools, courses, email signatures etc.
Our brand no longer reflected our actual business.
No one is willing to pay for marketing services, or buy an online course about building relationships, from a website company. It doesn’t make sense. The perception around our business was the we did websites, and that was all.
We needed to change this. Not only did we need to change the current perception, but we needed to plan ahead and try and think about where the business would be in 5 – 10 years time. We needed to make sure that the new branding would last the test of time.
We settled on “Vision Digital” because all of our work was digital and could be broken down to work completed online (digital platforms). This also future proofs our business because whatever we offer, as long as it’s digital, fits our brand.
When Do I Need to Refresh?
The process of refreshing can be thought of more like a refresh of your identity.
Remember we discussed identity being more about the visual aspect of your business that others will see when interacting with you?
If you have no need to rebrand, the perception is great, and your business offerings aren’t falling outside the boundaries of what is to be expecting or perceived, then a refresh is what you’re after.
Businesses need to remain modern.
A business that has outdated design, colours, or imagery will be left behind.
The fact is that you don’t need to be a designer to know when a business is stuck on the last decade. All it takes is for you to stumble across an older business and you will immediately notice if the identity is outdated.
The most common way to refresh your business identity is to create an updated logo.
Logo’s are typically one of the first thing anyone thinks about when creating a business. This is because it’s often the first visual people will see from your brand, and is likely to be on all of your communications etc.
However, you don’t always need to completely change your logo if you want to refresh your identity. Sometimes, a complete logo change will incur serious backlash from stakeholders and end up impacting negatively on your brand (perception).
It is good practice to refresh your business identity every few years or so. This will keep your business current and modern, which will allow your brand to be strong.
If you have any questions or comments, add them below.
If you’re looking to go through a rebrand or a refresh, contact us at [email protected] as we offer this as a service and can have an initial consultation with you about your needs and requirements