A well-developed brand is a crucial element of an established business. Many companies even prioritize crafting the brand, and creating a brand narrative before starting work on web design or policy and procedures. This is wise — how can a logo be designed if the appeal to the target audience hasn’t been identified? How can a website be created if the audience is unknown?
That defined brand is a great step for a newly budding company, but many companies evolve over time. Locations change, employees come and go, products adapt to the market, and marketing strategies are always ever-changing. With the sudden onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, many brands made the decision to pivot to different messaging or even different products.
All of this is to say that the brand that was originally crafted may need to be updated to maintain the attention span of the clientele.
Now, just because things change over time doesn’t necessarily mean that the business owner has to start over from scratch. Rather than a brand update, he or she can opt for a brand refresh. A brand refresh is a great way to build up brand equity and keep the company relevant, without moving away from the characteristics that made it successful in the first place.
Refreshing the Brand
We want to look at the brand itself. First, we need to determine if the brand just needs a little updating, or if it should be configured altogether. Then, we dive into the quickest and easiest ways to update the brand without doing a complete overhaul. We want new customers to love this brand, without alienating existing clients. What are the smallest steps we can take to make the biggest impact?
Refreshing the Website
Next, I take a look at the website. The internet has changed so much even in the last five years, and the newest trends all emphasize user experience. During a brand refresh, we have to talk about easy, cost-effective ways to implement a clean design and optimize the customer experience, while keeping search engine optimization (SEO) in mind.
Refreshing the Social Media
Lastly, we have to look at the company’s social media. This is the easiest way to not only update the company’s followers, but to keep them updated. Social media marketing is such an easy, affordable way to stay in touch with current customers, attract potential customers, and provide social proof to strengthen trust in your services and/or products.
As you can imagine, all of this can be a big undertaking! For the sake of clarity and to maximize value, this blog is going to split into three installments. This first installment is going to introduce the concept of a brand refresh, provide a self-audit so you can take a quick look at your brand, and then we’ll jump into actionable steps for a brand refresh.
Brand Refresh vs. Rebranding: What’s the difference?
It’s important to distinguish whether a brand refresh or a complete rebranding is necessary. These are two very different projects!
brand refresh: an update to the existing brand; think of this like painting your house and replacing the floors.
rebrand: a complete overhaul; think of this like tearing the house down and building a new one on top of it.
Related reading: What is Branding?
Which is right for your business?
To determine which is the better option, do a quick self-audit. Ask these two questions about your business:
1) What are the target audience’s:
- Frustrations and/or why they have a need for your product/service
- If your company can’t pinpoint the type of audience they are trying to attract, then even a well designed website and tons of money spent on marketing campaigns will be unable to help.
2) Is your company’s service/product easily distinguishable from the competition by two or more of the following:
- Company name
- Website home page
- Packaging (if applicable)
- Mission statement
- Advertising and marketing campaigns
If customers are unable to understand what the company does from the company name, the website, or mission statement, they are more likely to go with another service or product that provides more transparency about their mission.
What this means: if a customer is unable to distinguish the company mission from three or more of the above, it may be better to consider a total rebrand, rather than just a brand refresh. If a total rebrand is necessary, the company may want to consult with a professional branding agency prior to investing time into some of these tips and tricks to refresh.
Related reading: A Brand Identity Case Study: The Macula Foundation
Now, if the first two questions have been asked and answered, and the company feels that it has satisfactorily created a brand that speaks to the audience and conveys their mission, then it’s on the right track.
If the company is confident in it’s brand — that’s a huge first step! This next question is simple. This determines if a refresh is in order.
3) Do your marketing strategies speak to your target audience through the following? (Keep in mind, marketing strategies is a term that encompasses lots of things, such as logo, website, social media presence, and advertising campaigns.)
- Identifying both the customer’s pressure point & the relief you provide
- Clearly presenting your service/product
- Distinguishing your company from the competition
If the answer is no to some of the above, don’t worry! This is an easier fix — as long as your brand is clearly defined, the marketing strategies can be tweaked for a more successful public image.
How to Refresh Your Branding
Now, if you’ve determined that a brand refresh is necessary, here are some simple steps to modernize the presentation.
1. Make small changes to your brand image.
Small visuals may seem insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but consumer opinions are heavily impacted by presentation. These changes don’t have to break the budget, either!
Here are a few minor tweaks that could be a major upgrade:
- Update the color palette and/or typography on the website (Remember to update email signatures, too!)
- Use new pictures and photos
- Update any dated headshots on the website, and consider adding headshots to email signatures. Potential consumers enjoy putting a face to the person they’re in communication with.
- No need to hire a photographer to update your site — use free resources like Unsplash to add fresh new photos to your website and social media sites.
2. Endorse products and/or services with customer reviews.
This gives the company a reputation with the people who matter most to consumers: other consumers. Studies show that 91% of consumers regularly read reviews prior to purchasing a product or service, and 76% of consumers trust online reviews just as much as reviews from family or friends.
- Use glowing customer reviews to promote the business — just make sure to get permission first!
- Post reviews from satisfied clients on social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn, ideally also using a photo with clean graphics. This makes sure they’re easy to see and aesthetically pleasing!
- Ask satisfied clients to endorse the services and/or products on LinkedIn. This will help when it comes to expanding, or enticing professional consumers or corporate clientele
- Ask satisfied clients to make Google/Facebook reviews.
- Address negative reviews.
(Pro- tip: Always respond to negative reviews on every platform, at least once a week. This helps to understand any issues that multiple people are having, as well as provide comfort to the consumer by letting them know that their experiences are acknowledged.)
3. Introduce new ‘mini-campaigns’ on social media platforms.
These are short, focused advertising campaigns to draw attention to the company. This is a great opportunity to showcase parts of the business that the audience doesn’t always have access to — some great ideas include team event photos, new product launches, upcoming events, and even just celebration of fun holidays.
Here are some quick tips to keep in mind:
- Use these campaigns to bring positive attention to the company. These campaigns can feature anything of relevance.
- Keep the posts short and sweet, but also don’t forget the call to action (CTA)! This is what reminds the audience to reach out to you for their needs.
- You can run a week-long campaign mini campaign. Popular mini campaigns will focus on one thing at a time. Popular ideas include:
- Customer reviews
- Product/service updates, and how they affect the consumer
- Employee showcases
- Fun, interesting, or little-known facts about the company
Related reading: 5 Ways Your Brand Can Survive the Coronavirus Crisis
These are some great easy steps for a quick brand refresh, and they’re simple and cost-effective. You don’t even need to hire someone to execute this plan for you — most of these tricks can be executed by you or your staff!
But of course, this is still only part one of a three-part blog series. For the next installment, we’ll go over the basics of a website refresh. The beauty of a website refresh is that you already have a website, so the hardest part is already done!
After reading this, do you feel like a total rebrand is in need? Contact Kairos today for a free consultation!