Refreshing or repositioning your brand? Here’s what you need to consider

Refreshing or repositioning your brand? Here’s what you need to consider


Patrick Heath

When you’re entering a new market, or simply refreshing some of your visual or verbal identities, brand change doesn’t necessarily mean a full-on rebrand. However, when it comes to the effort required, the two likely aren’t as different as you might think.

You see, many marketing leaders make the mistake of assuming that a “simple” brand refresh is just that: simple. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Just like a full rebrand, a brand refresh that does not involve a logo change is time-consuming, complex, and costly. In fact, because it isn’t as straightforward, sometimes a refresh can actually be more labor-intensive than a rebrand.

Here’s what you need to know about what makes a brand refresh so challenging — and how the right brand implementation partner can pave the way for a smooth, cost-effective transition.

How a brand refresh is different from a rebrand in terms of implementation

If rebranding is like tearing down an old home and building a new one from scratch, then refreshing your brand is more like remodeling.

When you build a new home, you know what needs to be done from the start. But when you remodel an older home, the project has more variables and unknowns. Which parts will you change, and which will you leave the same? The way you answer those questions comes down to several factors. Which parts of the home still feel “fresh” and functional? How much money are you willing or able to invest into the project? Which renovations would best suit your overall objectives? And which would yield the highest impact?

Just like building a new home, a rebrand is a major lift. Yet, when you rebrand, it’s very clear what needs to change — because the answer is “everything.” As a result, it is clear to that if an asset has the old branding on it, it needs to change. Simple as that.

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When it comes to a brand refresh that doesn’t involve a change to your logo, your proverbial home’s bones will remain the same, but everything else is up for grabs.

What to consider for your brand refresh

It’s clear that a brand refresh is more complex than you might guess. In particular, you’ll need to be mindful of the following:

  • The far-reaching impact of minor visual identity changes and graphic elements. Keep in mind that even very subtle visual identity changes will have far-reaching consequences. For example, if you adjust your logo lockup, you’ll have to update every piece of collateral in which it appears. Even in a “small” refresh, you can expect to have to adjust branded assets throughout your organization. Put another way, if a rebrand covers X quantity of assets from a marketing perspective, a refresh could cover anywhere from 50-90% of X depending on the level of change. Just as with a rebrand, you’re going to have to update all those assets.
  • Changes in product names or product packaging. If your refresh includes new products or updated product names, expect a significant undertaking. Depending on the nature of your products and the extent of the change, you may have to update marketing collateral, package inserts, instructional materials, manufacturing molds, and the information in back-end IT systems. In addition, you may also have to go through recertification and compliance procedures. As you can see, even a subtle change related to your products and packaging can trigger an avalanche of to-do’s that look an awful lot like a full rebrand.
  • Changes to your brand voice and content. If you decide to update your brand’s voice and tone, the implications will be far-reaching and impact many of the items discussed above. That’s true even if you don’t change a thing from a visual perspective.

The right brand implementation partner can help you execute your brand refresh

At BrandActive, we help organizations like yours seamlessly navigate all the challenges and complexity associated with executing a brand refresh. We can guide you in:

  • Identifying the far-reaching impacts of the refresh. Before you can figure out how much time, effort, and money it will require to implement the refresh, you need to identity what needs to change. While scoping the change naturally includes pinpointing the branded assets affected and the part of the organization responsible for them, there’s more. You’ll also need to determine any legal and regulatory impacts, organizational priorities, and product manufacturing and marketing impacts.
  • Constructing a budget that balances cost versus impact. Many organizations underestimate the cost of a brand refresh. Initially, they may categorize it as more of a campaign and think of it as only impacting soft assets. This is often not the case and often, hard, capital assets are impacted. The good news? As with a rebrand, you have options. There is more than one way to achieve your objectives, and we can help you identify the most efficient and impactful way forward. Using brand change scenario planning, we guide your team in assessing your options and weighing the cost versus impact of each decision. This ensures that your budget is formulated to maximize impact and minimize costs.
  • Crafting a brand asset transition plan. Deciding which assets to change — and how — requires a nuanced understanding of your project objectives and asset portfolio. We work with your team to map out each of your branded assets and identify exactly what makes sense to change given what you are trying to accomplish.
  • Reduce complexity. In order to implement a brand refresh well, you must coordinate hundreds of details involving across all the impacted functional units. Without the right plan or attention, projects like these can easily go off track. BrandActive brings over twenty years of experience and expertise to bear on your brand refresh project. Once we’ve identified the extent of change, we lead your team in smoothly executing your reconfigured brand in an organized fashion.
  • Reducing costs and capturing efficiencies. As we embark on implementing a brand refresh, we identify opportunities to streamline your internal processes and rationalize assets. The result? New efficiencies that add up to long-term savings.

Want to learn more about how BrandActive can help you successfully refresh or reposition your organization’s brand? We’d love to talk.