Revitalising Your Brand? Avoid These 7 Common Mistakes for a Successful Brand Refresh

The most common mistakes involved in a brand refresh and how to avoid them.

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So, your business is growing and you’re thinking it might be time to give your brand a little refresh. A fresh new look can do wonders for your visibility and attract new customers, reflecting the growth and evolution of your business. But before you start browsing logo designers’ portfolios and getting inspiration from the web, let’s talk about some common mistakes businesses make when refreshing their brand.

In this article, we’ll share 7 of the most common mistakes we see and how to avoid them. Trust us, we’ve been there, and we want to help you make the most of your brand refresh. Whether you’re just starting to consider a refresh or are already in the process, this guide will help you get a successful outcome.

 

Mistake 1: Failing to take the team on the brand refresh journey, especially the founder or key decision maker.

Earlier in my career I’ve seen brands reach the rollout stage only to have the company founder throw a spanner in the works with a last minute fart bomb.

The most important thing when it comes to investing in a brand is to meet internally with the key decision-makers and discuss the business strategy. It’s ‘Business First, Brand Second, Marketing Third’. Rushing into brand or design solutions without first understanding business challenges is fraught with danger. Plus, you want to get internal buy-in and commitment that change is necessary.

A vital step in our branding process is to interview founders and senior leaders to understand what legacy things or areas we might need to pay respect to and maintain.

Similar to this is not letting the team know that change is coming. You don’t need to involve them in every step of the process, but getting their involvement will make for a much better brand rollout. Would you rather feel like you’ve crafted the brand together, or simply inherited it and told to love it?

Building an internal army of motivated brand ambassadors can be a powerful force when growing companies.

A simple and effective exercise would be a staff-wide online survey where you seek their advice on what things should be kept, what could be improved and anything new that could be introduced.

 

Mistake 2: Not enough market research

Market research is a crucial step in understanding the current market conditions, identifying trends and consumer needs, and gathering insights about the competition. Without this information, companies risk making changes to their brand that may not resonate with their target audience or align with current market conditions.

For example, a company may decide to update its logo and branding without researching what similar companies in their industry are doing. This can lead to a logo and branding that looks out of place and unappealing to their target market.

Additionally, not conducting thorough market research can also lead to a brand refresh that does not effectively differentiate the company from its competitors. This has the opposite effect to the point of a brand refresh, actually making it harder for the company to stand out, as well as attract and retain customers in their marketplace.

To avoid this mistake, companies should conduct extensive market research before beginning a brand refresh, including surveys, interviews, and focus groups to gather feedback and insights from customers and other stakeholders. This ensures that the new brand aligns with current market conditions and resonates with the target audience.

 

Mistake 3: Not involving your most loyal customers.

Loyal customers remain loyal because they feel welcomed, appreciated and part of your business’ community. Imagine how loyal customers would feel if you arrived tomorrow with a brand new uniform, business card, shiny website and signage. They’d be confused, surprised and possibly even a bit left out. It’s also a massive opportunity to gain deep insight and guidance of how they perceive your brand.

As part of our discovery process, we conduct in depth interviews with loyal customers to hear firsthand what they like and dislike about the business and opportunities for improvement. The insights gained during this step can be instrumental in crafting a unique value proposition.

 

Mistake 4: Designing without the strategy.

You wouldn’t renovate your house without plans. Imagine the chaos of bringing in a builder and saying ‘mate, just have a crack!’

Diving into the designs without a strong strategy and thorough research process can almost create a beauty contest. New concepts and directions are judged only at face value, with little rationale for why something is stronger than others. Superficial judgments based on aesthetic or designs thrown to an uneducated court of public opinion will ultimately harm the strength and identity of your brand.

There are 3 key steps that occur before our designers get to work:

  • Discovery – Determining what everyone thinks about your brand when you’re not in the room.
  • Define – Defining the key business challenges that brand strategy and design seeks to solve.
  • Develop – Developing a Brand Strategy (the brand’s personality, tone of voice, desired perceptions and framework for all future design to be guided by.)

Only once these stages have been covered and communicated through the team are we ready to commence the design.

 

Mistake 5: Changing too much

Whenever you’re changing things there’s the temptation for dramatic change. However, there is a risk of ‘throwing the baby out with the bath water’. Sometimes there are recognisable elements and key brand visuals that help differentiate your brand from your competitors that should be retained.

A good example of designers being too heavy-handed is the packaging change of orange juice company, Tropicana. As a result of the packaging overhaul and the following consumer backlash, it led to a spectacular decline in sales and a loss in revenue of 30 million dollars.

Tropicana_Packaging_Before_After

During a brand refresh, you should audit the brand assets and during the customer and staff interviews take stock of what elements are unique identifiers that should be retained for brand consistency.

 

Mistake 6: Botching the design process by keeping designers at arms length or designing by committee

A simple and effective way to ensure that the creative product is aligned to the business and brand strategy is to involve designers in developing the strategy. It gives creatives greater insight into the business challenges and connects them closely with the problems their designs are looking to solve.

One thing I’ll always cringe at is when founders post four logo options publicly on LinkedIn or Facebook and seek feedback from their friends, family and network.

No good is going to come from this. Ideally, you’re working with a design partner who understands your business challenges and purpose builds a brand to help address them.

 

Mistake 7: Underinvesting in the roll out

Imagine if you forgot to get a photographer for your dream wedding or skimped on food, leaving all of the guests hungry.

The final hurdle of refreshing a brand is taking it to market and effectively rolling it out.

A successful brand refresh is not only about the visual elements like logo, colours, and typography, but also about how the new brand is communicated and implemented across all aspects of the business.

Failing to properly communicate and implement the new brand can lead to confusion and inconsistencies in messaging, both internally and externally. This can make it difficult for customers and partners to recognise and connect with the brand, and can also lead to confusion among employees.

Internally, it’s important that all employees understand the new brand, its values, and its purpose, and are equipped to represent the brand consistently and accurately. This can be achieved through training and education programs, clear guidelines and policies, and regular communication and updates.

Externally, it’s important to ensure that the new brand is consistently represented across all touchpoints, such as website, social media, packaging, advertising and marketing materials. This includes updating all the assets, guidelines and templates.

 

Revitalising your brand can be a tricky task, but by avoiding these common mistakes, you’ll ensure a successful and effective refresh. Remember to involve key decision-makers, conduct thorough market research, and involve your loyal customers in the process. And don’t forget, having a solid strategy in place before diving into the design is crucial. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t hesitate to reach out to our branding studio for expert advice and support. We’re here to guide you through the process and help you achieve the brand refresh you’ve been dreaming of.

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