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Brand Refresh or Full Rebrand? Should You Go Big or Go Home?

Our 2021 rebrand for a Nebraska law firm

Everything with branding and rebranding always comes back to your goals and objectives. Before you decide on a brand refresh, or a complete brand overhaul for your business, here are a few things to consider.

“Are we just refreshing it? Or are we overhauling it? Can we just tighten it up here? Or should we scrap the whole thing and do it again?”

If you can afford to, go for the full rebrand. Then why not? Technically speaking, money is the only real barrier here. There are a few other things to consider, which is what this post is all about.

Regardless of whether you decide to go for a small tweak, or a substantial change, you probably have a lot of branded collateral (swag, merchandise, promotional materials, or otherwise) that will all need to change too. And whether that change is minor or major, it isn’t likely to dramatically impact the cost.

In this post where we explore the different routes you could take with your rebrand, we’re going to park the entire discussion around brand strategy and focus on brand identity only, (just the visuals). Simply because the concept of a brand refresh or full rebrand is easier to talk about when considering the visuals. However, you have to keep in mind that there is your overall brand strategy to consider too. If that’s going to change, then plainly speaking, you’ll need to rebrand properly. A simple refresh likely won’t suffice.

What is a Brand "Refresh?"

When people talk about a brand refresh, what they typically mean is they want to give their logo a bit of a spruce-up. A spring clean if you will.

Maybe there’s some small tweaks to the font and colors, and a bit of a tidy-up to your branded stationery and sales templates, but that’s normally where it ends.

Typically, these are small visual adjustments made to course correct and make a brand seem like it hasn’t lost touch.

The brand strategy remains in place, as does the concept behind your visual brand identity.

A brand refresh could be summed up in 6 words:

“Keep the concept. Adjust the look.”

Essentially, you’re tidying your brand identity up a little.

What is a Full "Rebrand?"

On the opposite side of the spectrum, you have the full rebrand.

This could go 1 of 2 ways;

  1. You change everything- brand strategy, brand identity, website, marketing strategy

  2. You focus on just certain parts of it- maybe tighten the strategy but overhaul the identity etc

Either way, everything comes under scrutiny. In most cases, you’ll be throwing it all out and starting again — your logo, your typography, your color palette — essentially, you're getting rid of it all and starting over.

When you launch your company's rebrand, you're looking to make a huge splash! We can help you do that.

Pros of a Brand "Refresh"

If a full rebrand is the more comprehensive option, then what are the advantages of a refresh rather than a rebrand?

Lower Cost (sometimes)

First off: It can be done over time, and so the price often comes comes in smaller chunks.

And although it’s completely counterintuitive and far less effective to work in smaller chunks like this, it can make the cost easier to swallow. The irony is, because you’re working with lots of smaller projects, there’s no economy of scale and you probably end up spending more.

Customer Buy-In

A key stakeholder to consider when opting for a brand refresh is your customers. If you’re modernizing your brand and only nudging it forward slightly, you’re far less likely to alienate your customers. It’s not a huge change, and could almost be positioned as a “growing up” of the brand, rather than a complete overhaul... "taking it to the next level."

Also, if things are going well for the business, then you’re not changing too much. You’re taking small steps to make your identity work for where the business is now. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

Less Stuff to Update

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