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How to Nail A Brand Refresh

This article originally appeared on Transform.

What is something that all brands and businesses have in common? They have all at some point likely considered a rebrand! Whether it’s a logo refresh, a packaging refresh, an updated color palette or different typography, rebranding is a way for businesses to stand out and position themselves in a new way to their consumers. Recently brands like 7Up and Burberry have been making changes in new and exciting ways, signaling a current focus on rebranding.

While a rebrand can be driven by difficult challenges, when done right it can be a huge opportunity for businesses. Shifts in brand relevance, business performance and market share can indicate that it may be time for brands to reconsider their brand identity. Has there been a recent decline in business? Is the business expanding into new markets or even launching new products? Or are you an iconic brand looking to connect to and re-engage your target audience, like General Mills with their recent brand refresh of Gushers, Fruit By The Foot and Fruit Roll Ups?

Whatever the reason, here are five key things for your brand to consider when undertaking a rebrand:

Define the core truth of the brand

Consider the “who.” Who are you?

Understanding who you are as a brand and defining your core truth can serve as a guide as you develop or evolve how you present to refresh your brand to your target audience. From brand identity to messaging, packaging and design, your brand behavior should align closely with this core truth, creating a clear and consistent brand identity that your consumers can clearly recognize and connect with. Having a consistent brand identity helps consumers to have a clear understanding of what you stand for and highlights how you are different from others in the market. Building from a core brand truth, not just product benefits or attributes, your consumers become emotionally connected as you activate your brand. For example, Cinnamon Toast Crunch doesn’t just talk about a great tasting cereal, but showcases their core truth of being “extramoredinary”, tapping into a multi-sensory behavior, creating a fun and exciting holistic brand identity.

While defining the core truth is important, in order to get there you need to ask yourself what is unique about you, and where does your brand fit in culture?

Fostering connection and desire from the brand to the target audience

Next, consider who you serve.

Understanding your target audience is critical to building a connection and creating desire for your brand. What do your consumers want and need? What are their preferences? What are their pain points? Recognizing these things should influence your process as you develop a new design that finds a competitive white space and speaks directly to your consumers, helping to deliver your value as a brand that is authentic and stands for something.

Leverage your undeniable equities

Whether you are an established brand, or a new brand trying to make a mark, your visual brand identity needs to stand out. When people see a swoosh, they think Nike. When they see the golden arches, they think McDonald’s.

So, think, what about your brand design is unique to you and allows consumers to easily recognize you? Is it your logo? A color? A font? A pattern? Whatever it is, these equities should be built from depth, authenticity and symbolism to connect your brand’s identity to an ethos, message and story. Highlighting that identity through unique assets creates a memorable association, like Maker’s Mark’s red wax seal, Heineken’s green bottle, or Seedlip’s illustrations. Ultimately, leveraging unique equities can help your brand cultivate an identity that resonates with consumers and sets you apart.

Work Within the Brand System

While your brand strategy and creative ideas will drive your design, it’s important to keep your established visual identity system in mind. Brands don’t live in a vacuum, you need to consider a holistic view. Even when aiming for a new look, or a refreshed feel, you want to stick to what is true to you and what works for you. Brands like Driscoll’s show that being consistent and working within a framework strengthens your familiarity to your audience, making you a reliable and trusted brand. So be flexible in your approach and find a balance that meets your design needs to be fresh and engaging, but also ensures that your brand can be seen and understood by consumers no matter where it appears.

Keep the brand refresh simple.

Branding isn’t rocket science, so keep it simple. A clean and straightforward design can go a long way. The goal is for consumers to recognize and remember your brand, understand your brand’s position and what you stand for. Focus on the essentials and make it easy for your audience to understand your message.

Rebranding is a unique moment and great opportunity for brands. When done right it can lead to new customers, increase brand loyalty among existing ones, and position your brand in a new and exciting way. When done wrong, it can create a disconnect and damage your brand identity. As consumers and their needs evolve in this changing landscape, your brand needs to be seen and understood with a brand identity designed to relate to the lived experience of the consumer. So, when you’re undergoing a brand refresh, make it count, and make it last.

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