Rebranding: why, why not and what matters

Is a brand refresh one of those things you’ve had on the back burner?

As a creative agency, you might think we’d love nothing better than for all our clients to consider a new look for the new financial year.

But that’s not true.

There are many reasons to update your brand. Equally, there are many reasons not to.

Here are some things to consider regarding the ‘dos’, ‘don’ts, ‘whys’, and ‘why nots’ of a brand refresh.

Three good reasons to refresh your brand

  1. The customers are getting confused
    Is your brand causing people to get the name of your business wrong? Is the messaging making sense? Does the logo shape or design leave people thinking you’re not the type of business you really are? If you’ve had customers make comments like: ‘I thought your name meant you were ‘x’ type of business, but it turns out you’re ‘y’.’, then chances are your brand is causing confusion and, if it is, you’re almost certainly losing business as a result.

  2. It’s been 20 years, and it still isn’t cool.
    Sometimes we leave things too long. You don’t need to rename or even make radical changes, but if your brand looks like something out of the 90s, it’s probably time to give it an overhaul. And often, it doesn’t mean a radical change. Years ago, when your business first started, you may have created your brand on the cheap. Now’s the time to invest in professional design to match your business’s high-quality service and products.

  3. Done well, it’s good for business.
    One of the reasons small to medium firms hold off on doing a brand refresh is they don’t see the value. Your brand is the first thing your customers see. An effective rebranding process should work to keep your customers interested, alert and perceiving you at the forefront of your industry. If your brand looks tired, your customers will likely be getting tired of it as well. Is there a precise number of years you should wait before doing a rebrand or refresh? No. All we can say is don’t rebrand every six months but don’t leave it ten years either. The key is to make your brand refresh a proactive push to retain your customers and grow your business, rather than a reactive move to stay relevant because you’ve left it too long.

Three good reasons not to update your brand

  1. My family doesn’t like it
    Families are great at being supportive, encouraging and offering unconditional love. However, they’re usually not the best people for perceiving your customers’ value in your business. The point is, unless your husband, mum or cousin is a business partner or one of your core customers, their branding advice needs to be listened to and then politely taken with a grain of salt.
  2. I’m tired of it
    In business, we’re often told to trust our instincts. However, the rules are a bit different when it comes to our brand. After a refresh, business owners are usually the first to start hating their own brand. The reason: they see it every day and just get tired of it. Unless it is truly hideous, resist the urge to update your brand within two years of a refresh. Give your customers a chance to get to know it and, if you have to, close your eyes when you walk in the front door of your business.

  3. It may not look like much, but it’s working
    If your brand is working, don’t touch it. That might seem like obvious advice, but problems often arise when owners wrongly perceive simplified brands as lacking value. Perhaps your corporate identity is a single black word on a white background. There’s nothing wrong with that. So long as your customers perceive value in your business, that’s all that matters. Start tinkering with a simplified brand by frequently adding unnecessary elements, and you’ll soon end up with a mess. Great chefs talk about classic recipes containing no more than five ingredients. The same principle applies to your brand, where simplicity can and should be your aim.

Three things to remember now you’ve decided to do a brand refresh

  1. The trend is not always your friend
    A tired and dated design might well be reason enough to update your brand. But be careful about wanting to look cool for the kids. Sure, for certain retail brands, it is critical to use this month’s latest fonts, colours, and buzz words. However, for most businesses keeping your brand-look modern should be driven by the importance of being perceived as a  leading firm within your industry. Your brand needs to do two critical things. First, it should reflect who you are, and second, it should connect with and make sense to your client base. In effect, don’t risk turning away customers just for the sake of trying to look hip.

  2. Understand the depth of what you’re undertaking
    Rebranding is so much more than just a ‘logo’. Even if all you’re doing is the slightest tweak to your brand, that change needs to be applied throughout your business. From online to printed materials, clothing to business cards, email signatures to promotional materials, wherever your brand is seen, it should be consistently applied. It pays to understand what is involved upfront because only updating a few items will leave you with two brands and a worse problem than that with which you started.

  3. Think value rather than beauty
    This might be a strange sentiment coming from a creative agency, but the point is, the primary purpose of a brand refresh is not to make you feel good. Sure, we all get excited about a new and updated look for our business. Still, ultimately the purpose of your investment in rebranding is to enhance the return to your business by improving the value associated with your brand. Yes, you need to be comfortable with your new brand look but what matters most from your refresh is how your customers respond.

Are you thinking of a new look? Start your brand refresh conversation with us today.

Pistol A Creative Agency
The pros and cons of brand self-management

The pros and cons of brand self-management

Across Australia, businesses are doing it themselves like never before. Rather than outsourcing or hiring trained professionals, an abundance of hi-tech tools is putting specialised skills in the hands of owners. From accounting to HR to business development,...

read more
RU .AU ready?

RU .AU ready?

We'd all love to have a website address that rolls off the tongue. Well, that dream came a little bit closer with this year's release of '.au' domain names. Don't say '' after a business name. Just say 'DOT A U'. Perhaps you're worried about your...

read more
The Great QR Code Comeback

The Great QR Code Comeback

Ugly, boring, and not good for much at all. As recently as 2019, the now-ubiquitous QR Code was looked upon as an over-hyped marketing device from a by-gone era. A bit like the CD-ROM or the USB keyring, printed QR Codes were yesterday’s gimmick bound for the dustbin....

read more
A Creative Future

A Creative Future

Could 2022 see the beginning of a creative marketing renaissance? Understandably we’re all reluctant to make too many bold predictions after a couple of rather depressing years. Still, we thought we’d turn our attention to the potential for happier times ahead,...

read more
Is Digital Disinfectant Making You Less Visible?

Is Digital Disinfectant Making You Less Visible?

Ever get that feeling every bit of marketing looks the same? You’re not the only one. Some of Australia’s biggest firms picked up on this problem several years ago when they saw overly polished campaigns failing to resonate with audiences. Whether its Bunnings’ use of...

read more
Share This