Call us to discuss your business' specific needs: 952-303-4594

News, Updates, & Resources

How to Plan for a Successful Brand Refresh

"Design is the silent ambassador of your brand."
Paul Rand, American Art Director and Graphic Designer

When a business or non-profit fails to stay modern and up-to-date, they run the risk of losing touch with their customer base and stakeholders and experiencing stagnant sales and buy-in. Fortunately, a brand refresh is often all it takes to regain relevancy within their market and rebuild connections with consumers. However, updating a brand is more than just changing a logo; it requires careful and strategic planning on leadership’s part to ensure any updates will support the company’s goals. We’re looking at the exact steps necessary to plan for a successful brand refresh that will take you into a new age for your organization.

What Is a Brand Refresh?

First, it’s important to look at exactly what a brand refresh is and how it’s different than rebranding as many business leaders get the two terms confused or use them interchangeably.

Rebranding

Rebranding is the process of transforming the image of a company or organization, creating a completely updated and new identity. Typically, this is done when the organization’s existing branding must be discontinued or has changed significantly, such as due to negative publicity or legal concerns, when your core audience has changed, or when your current industry is evolving.

A rebranding includes updating the mission statement, logo, product or service line, and, in some cases, changing the name of the organization. As you can see, this is a significant overhaul for an organization.

Brand Refresh

A brand refresh is a much less extreme way to update your branding. The goal is to maintain the central theme of your brand while updating aspects of the design elements to align with innovations and progress within your industry. Companies will often undertake this process in the following circumstances:

  • New market entry,
  • Expanding reach to new customers,
  • Establishing new leadership within the organization,
  • When branding is outdated or out of touch,
  • Discovering Inconsistent messaging, and
  • Realizing the company or the industry has changed significantly.

A Successful Brand Refresh: Dunkin’

In 2019, Dunkin’ Donuts shed the Donuts and refreshed their brand as simply “Dunkin’ to great success. But how can a company who was once known by their tagline “Time to make the donuts,” remove the donuts from their branding and still succeed? Let’s look at their refresh a bit more closely:

  • The company spent several years building up their beverage selection as they worked to cut into Starbucks’ market share.
  • Their refresh tied into an established advertising campaign and slogan, “America Runs on Dunkin’.”
  • They maintained their recognizable sans-serif font and recognizable pink-and-orange color scheme.
  • They had enjoyed long term connections with customers through their “first name basis” as much of their client base already refers to them as Dunkin’.

While their new branding was unveiled at a Global Franchisee Convention in which they stated that they would be updating their company name to simply Dunkin’, and updating all their branding to match, this wasn’t an overnight update, nor was it “change for change’s sake.” There was a foundation for this refresh already in place, ensuring it aligned with their values and mission, and connects with existing customers while attracting new customers seeking more than just a donut shop.

Understanding the Elements of a Successful Brand Refresh

Before planning fonts and working with graphic designers to update your logo, it’s important to recognize the four established elements that are necessary to a successful brand refresh (Andjelic, 2021).

Start with the Product or Service

Whether you’re refreshing your brand to make room for a new product or innovations, it’s important to look at your core offerings and make sure your brand aesthetic reflects the, specifically.

Refine Your Brand Story

Your brand story gives context to your products which allows consumers to better connect with your organization. Understand what you want your narrative to be, whether it’s creating a story based on sustainability and planet-consciousness like Patagonia, or innovation and excitement, like Apple.

Connect with Pop Culture

Using popular culture as a marketing tool is one of the most effective opportunities to a brand refresh (Radomskaya, 2018). By connecting with pop culture, your brand seem more approachable, shows you understand your consumer better, and is able to create more relevant and relatable content. While global, established brands like KFC can leverage characters and ad campaigns from the past to tap into pop culture nostalgia and sentimentality, small or new brands need to connect with the zeitgeist in a different way. This can include launching your refresh through a social media trend or crafting advertising campaigns around lifestyle trends that align with your brand story.

Know Your Customer and Stakeholder

The most important factor when planning a brand refresh is knowing your customer. Not only is it important to have insight into your existing customer base, but you need to understand your “ideal consumer.” Who are you trying to attract to your product or brand? By knowing what your existing and ideal customers want, you can structure your refresh to appeal to them more effectively, allowing you to stand out in your industry.

Schedule a Strategic Planning Consultation

If you are considering a brand refresh, our strategic planning firm in Minneapolis can help ensure it’s effective and successful. Schedule a consultation today by filling out our contact form below to get started.

Andjelic, Ana. 4 Elements of a Successful Brand Refresh. Harvard Business Review. December 23, 2021. Accessed online 1/17/2022 https://hbr.org/2021/12/4-elements-of-a-successful-brand-refresh Radomskaya, Valeriya. Popular Culture as a Powerful Destination Marketing Tool: An Australian Study. ResearchGate. December 2018. Accessed online 1/17/2022. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/338187388_POPULAR_CULTURE_AS_A_POWERFUL_DESTINATION_MARKETING_TOOL_AN_AUSTRALIAN_STUDY

This article or any other promotional material(s) from Woodland Strategies, Inc. is in no way intended to be a comprehensive plan.

Please note all markets, circumstances, and results vary. Any strategic plan or marketing initiatives must follow all State and Federal laws and regulations, accordingly.

Please contact us directly for a complete assessment and plan for your individual organizational needs.

Why It’s Time to Adopt Purposeful Leadership in Your Organization

Whether you’re a part of the management team, a business owner, or a director of a nonprofit, your team looks to you for leadership. This means more than just telling people what to do or setting goals for the organization and making sure they’re met. Today’s leadership role isn’t about power, it’s about purpose. Our based in Minneapolis is sharing why it’s time to adopt purposeful leadership and what this means for your organization.

Small Business and Non-Profit Mission Statements: How to Make an Impact in a Sentence

While most people think of mission statements as buzzwords for a large company, they’re extraordinarily valuable for both nonprofits and small businesses. In fact, your mission statement is the most important sentence you’ll write. After all, every bit of copy on your website, in emails, or on brochures should reflect or support that mission statement in some way. We understand it can be difficult to drill down the core of your nonprofit or business into one or two sentences, so to help you, we’re sharing tips on what makes an impactful mission statement and what to avoid.

Creating a Content Marketing Strategy for Your Small Business

When it comes to gaining visibility and attracting new clients for your business, traditional advertising, such as commercials, print ads, and sponsorships, has fallen out of favor, replaced by content marketing. But what makes content marketing so important to a small business, and can it really help you stand out from your competitors? Even more important, how do you get get started? Our marketing strategy firm in Minneapolis understands that this can be an overwhelming topic, so to help you get started, we’re outlining how to create a content marketing strategy for your small business.

4 Reasons Your Small Business Needs a Strategic Plan

When you think of strategic planning, you probably envision executives sitting around a table discussing how to increase profits or break into a new market, and you wouldn’t be wrong. Multi-billion dollar corporations certainly do rely on strategic planning to improve operations or change the direction of the organization. However, every organization can benefit from having a researched, documented statement on how to create a clear, measurable path to success, and this is especially true for small businesses. To help you get started, we are sharing four reasons your small business needs a strategic plan.

English English Français Français