3 Steps to Give Your Established Brand a Refresh

Refreshing an Established Brand: When & How to Do It

By Karen TaylorApr 5 /2022

Oftentimes, we think of brand identity development as part of an organization’s roots. And while this legwork is an important step, it’s just the beginning of the brand identity journey. As the business grows and dynamics change, one’s brand identity must also be nurtured to adhere to the times, without losing the essence of what’s been created. After all, you don’t want to create an unnecessary disconnect with previous prospects or customers.

In some cases, the need for a brand refresh is triggered by internal factors like cultural changes within the business, or the introduction of new product or service lines. Other times, external factors are the catalyst, from changing market conditions that alter the needs of your target audience to a rise in competitors with a strong brand presence.

When there is reasoning for a brand refresh, these three steps help guide your efforts.

3 Steps to Refreshing an Established Brand

1. Walk (or Re-walk) Through the Brand Discovery Process

The brand discovery process involves analyzing your organization from several angles, but most importantly from your customers’ point of view. Their insights paint the picture of how your target audience perceives both the market and your brand — perceptions that may have changed over time, if you’ve been through this exercise before.

One way to reach customers is through short interviews or surveys. Let’s consider a provider of third-party solutions for mortgage lenders. Through targeted questions, you can have a lens into the current market challenges your audience faces — after all, real estate dynamics are always changing — and what they need from a provider. 

While such insights can help you strengthen relationships with existing customers, they can also be funneled into your buyer persona development. By refreshing personas to speak to current challenges and goals — and perhaps even adding new personas — you’ll have a foundation to better communicate and connect with your target audience.

2. Use New Discoveries to Fuel Your Refreshed Brand Strategy

Your brand strategy encompasses many different components —your company’s value proposition, positioning statements around your products and services, visuals and more. Updated insights from your persona discovery process can inform each of these variables, creating a cohesive brand architecture that aligns with your new vision while respecting the history of your brand.

Going back to the mortgage solutions provider example above, the discovery process may reveal that customers are most concerned with compliance as industry regulations have become more strict and expediting turnaround times as borrower expectations grow. As an established brand with a 100+ year history in the financial space, the provider wants to bridge their rich background with the investments they’ve made to modernize their operations.

Here are some ideas on how to weave these sentiments into your brand architecture:

  • Company or product logo - Update the typography of your logos to include a more contemporary font, or look for ways to declutter the logo to create a neater and more modern look for your established brand
  • Value proposition - Showcase where you can step in to offset current industry pain points. A sample value proposition: Building off a rich foundation of mortgage data and a deep industry history, our digital mortgage solutions help lenders and servicers stay efficient and compliant, no matter the market’s state.”
  • Graphics - Lean into the idea of “digital mortgage solutions” with graphics that show mortgage transactions taking place over devices, as well as the back end of the technology (or the lender’s view)

Before you launch a brand refresh, it’s vital to ensure everyone is speaking the same language, both vocally and visually. Be sure to update your brand guidelines based on your revised brand strategy so internal personnel are operating on the same page and external prospects and customers are having a consistent experience.

3. Monitor the Response to Your Brand Identity Refresh

Closing the loop on a brand refresh means tuning into how the updates are received by your target audience. This feedback, available in many forms, can help you see if your efforts are hitting the right marks or if there’s further room to build upon your findings.

For instance, after you’ve updated the messaging on your website’s homepage, you can create a goal related to that change in Google Analytics. Comparing time on page and bounce rate metrics before and after the update can provide insights into whether or not the new messaging is resonating well with your target audience.

Social media can also serve a valuable purpose, too. As you promote posts that utilize new imagery and messaging, take note of the engagement you see — from comments on the posts to shares that boost their visibility. This is a helpful way to see how your brand identity refresh is impacting the way your target audience connects with you.

The Art & Science of a Brand Refresh

Refreshing an established brand is a delicate balancing act. It requires a careful approach that respects where a brand has come from and capitalizes on what it’s doing now to best serve its target market. 

With years of expertise in brand experience, Kuno Creative is well positioned to help brands not only establish their identity but refresh it as business dynamics and goals grow and shift. Learn more about our process here.

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Karen Taylor
The Author

Karen Taylor

Karen Taylor is a professional content marketing writer with experience writing for over 100 companies and publications. Her experience includes the full range of content marketing projects — from blogs, to white papers, to ebooks. She has a particular knack for creating content that clarifies and strengthens a company’s marketing message, and delivers optimum impact and maximum results. Learn more at karentaylorwrites.com.