Optimize My Brand

Strategy, tactics, ideas and tips from Creative Company.

5 reasons to restage your brand

What is a brand restage?

Let’s look first at options. A brand refresh updates the current design elements. A rebrand transforms the current identity system into something new. Either way it’s a brand restage to launch the new look. Your situation and your goals will decide the best option for you.

A brand refresh … same, but better.

Think of a brand refresh as a makeover for your company … a better haircut, up-to-date outfit, and new shoes can transform how a person is perceived. It’s the same with your brand.

Some organizations have design elements they want to keep, update or add to. Some want to keep the logo but change the look, tone and presentation of the overall program. Each still maintains a visual connection to how they have been recognized. But the “new suit” makeover is up-to-date, vibrant and captivating. It’s the chance to restage the brand, the message and the attitude you want to portray.

Examples of a brand restage:

Keep the logo, shift the look: the brand restage for SELCO Community Credit Union was a whole new look and tone for their brand, without changing the logo. A new design system supported their growth. From brochures to ads, we incorporated elements that focused on their staff and members, and their locations around Oregon.a brand restage shown on the SELCO brochure system

A brand restage on Messaging posters for Cascade Employers Association

Add messaging and update colors: Messaging hierarchy, fresh design and a new color palette made a positive impact on Cascade Employers Association’s perceived value for their brand restage. They wanted an updated look but not a change in identity. Beginning with messaging architecture, we updated the color palette to reflect their new office, and built in new fonts and a fresh look for website, business cards, displays and posters.

A rebrand … a visual transformation.

A rebrand goes beyond the makeover. Think of it as plastic surgery and a new hair color … a transformation, a new identity and brand system for the same name. And with the identity—fresh messaging, a reinvented visual system and a transformed program to catapult the organization forward. A brand restage on steroids.

For example:

Forest Grove Lumber required a new identity to appeal to more sophisticated audiences—from architects to contractors to homeowners. A new logo system and new communication tools grabbed attention and told their unique story.

Forest Grove Lumber logo A brand restage for Forest Grove Lumber was a whole new identity

Now … 5 reasons to restage your brand

Just like the examples shown above and on our website, these companies knew they need to make a change. They wanted to grow, but could see their identity and marketing materials were no longer getting the job done.

1. People respond to good design.

We live in a visual culture. People respond to design, and expect the company the brand represents to show the level of quality they can see. Yes, it’s subjective. Yet you know when you see something beautiful, elegant, sophisticated, attractive or engaging, you respond. Studies of emotional intelligence have shown that 95% of decisions are emotional, and often sub-conscious. Companies like Apple have demonstrated the power of design to attract users and buyers and grow their business.

When a logo, brochure, or ad is out of date and doesn’t measure up to the level of the competition, it affects perceptions … and the bottom line. Even the best designs are updated periodically (look at how the Apple logo has evolved).

Compare your logo design, business cards, brochures and website to your competition, and to what you are accustomed to seeing around you. How do they measure up? Attractive? Visually appealing? Easy to see and read at a glance? If not, consider a brand restage.

2. It’s time to shift perceptions.

SELCO Community Credit Union was expanding beyond their Eugene base, and wanted to be recognized as “the Nordstrom of credit unions.” They already had the service level down and plenty of happy members. And they wanted to extend that into their new markets in a quickly recognizable way.

By shifting their overall presentation and establishing visual standards for their communications, as well as a system to organize their sub-brands, we boosted visibility, provided support for their marketing team, and helped them grow.

How is your organization perceived? Perception is reality. Design and solid messaging can impact your reach and engage more potential audiences. When a consistent look–that’s different from your competitors–is presented, you’ll build recognition.

3. Create recognition for your value.

Cascade Employers Association was also expanding into new markets. As a membership organization offering outsourced HR services, they knew they were providing outstanding services to their members. But they were also considered the “best kept secret” in the region.

We started with messaging, to distinguish who they are for their members and how they’re perceived. Using the new messaging, we refreshed the color palette and provided new marketing tools–business cards, banner displays, posters and a website reskin.

The new materials helped reinforce their value to their members. It also gave the staff a boost with new business cards containing key messages and a fresh look. The combination of messaging focused on why to be come a member, instead of what the services are, and a refreshed brand had a positive impact on their success, even during a slow economy.

4. You’ve fallen behind.

A company that has been around for more than ten years is likely to have a brand that is in need of attention. Times change. Styles change. Attitudes and perceptions change. And it’s likely the organization itself has changed. Growth, new products and services, new markets can all affect the perception and application of the identity system and brand program.

Take the test outlined in #1. How do you compare to your industry leaders? How do you compare in your market? A brand refresh or rebrand is an opportunity to reinforce your value, tell your story in a new way, cement relationships and gain new recognition. It can unify your team around the organization’s values, purpose and future. Time for a brand restage?

5. You’re planning for growth.

In the example of Forest Grove Lumber, the company wanted to reach new, more sophisticated markets. Their goal was to have high-end architects specify their unique, kiln-dried lumber for exposed timber construction. Their old identity was out-of-date and clumsy. It did not represent the sophistication or design perspective of their target audiences.

The time to update is when you know there are changes in your market, in your target audiences or in the company’s plans for the future. A brand restage, especially when supported by new messaging, will enhance and clarify those changes. It will support growth and present a new, progressive image to all audiences–current targets, internal staff and potential audiences and markets.

It will add value to your organization and help leadership align around a common focus. It’s an investment in the future success of your company.

A few more excellent reasons to restage your brand

Of course there are more than 5 reasons to rebrand … here are a few more that often trigger the need to rebrand:

  • Merger of companies that are not changing their name, but want to make a statement about where they’re going
  • New leadership that is bringing a fresh perspective and new direction
  • A change in ownership or a buyout that also puts the organization on a new path

Where are you?

A few more posts on the power of the visual and verbal brand:

A brand restage is an opportunity to focus on your audiences and refresh and update your marketing strategy, message and program. It’s the time to optimize your brand to boost response. Use our guidelines to evaluate your situation and decide if it’s time for a brand restage or a full rebrand.


Learn the best practices of an optimized brand from our ebook, 10 Steps to an Optimized Brand.
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See more examples of our brand work on our website, from a refresh to a new name and new brand. Want to talk brand update,  brand refresh, rebrand or brand restage? Drop me an email or call toll-free, 866.363.4433.

About the author

Jennifer Larsen Morrow

Jennifer's four decades of work in the industry, starting as a designer and adding marketing, copywriting and digital marketing, has generated response for clients since 1978.

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