Is it time for a brand restage or a brand refresh?
Is your logo out of date? Is your marketing program not producing? Do you need to reach new audiences? Are your communication tools tired and boring? Then it’s time for a brand restage.
The most successful brands and organizations stand for something. They have loyal customers, enthusiastic employees and an established niche in their market. Yet we see many successful, long-term companies that have fallen behind in telling their story and sharing the value they provide. Most were focused on taking care of customers and building the organization.
Meanwhile, they’ve lost sight of the importance of how they are perceived by new audiences. Remember, perception is reality.
A solid brand program presents the organization visually and verbally–with a brand identity and design system that reflects what’s so; and a messaging hierarchy that communicates essential ideas in a clear and compelling way. Both reflect the culture of the organization and create a context to live into. They also help the company stand out from others in the category.
When the design, message and overall presentation no longer reflect what you stand for, it’s time for a brand restage.
Just what is a brand refresh?
Think of it 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. An updated design and color palette can move your company from tired to transformed in the eyes of your staff and your target audiences.
Depending on how your brand identity has been used, it may be important to keep, update or add to specific elements. Or a brand restage–a new look, tone and presentation of the overall identity system could be needed.
Each still support a visual connection to how they were seen before. But the “new suit” makeover is up-to-date, vibrant and captivating. It is also standardized, designed to fit vertical or horizontal positions in a consistent “lockup” of mark and name. No more cutting it up, resizing, stretching or choosing a new typeface!
The goal of a refresh is to make a visual connection between the old and the new. This makes the transition easier and builds on the brand recognition that has already been established.
Often a refresh is the chance to update colors and standardize fonts, a color palette and a brand promise, as shown on the First Federal logo update.
A refresh is a good approach when there’s strong recognition for the old identity system, but a need to create a more standardized, contemporary look.
Often identity systems that have been around for a while have morphed and evolved to a mish mash of versions, with little consistency. A refresh is the time to bring that all together, create identity standards and guidelines, and put a fresh spin on the brand.
A brand restage takes it further … to a complete redesign
When everyone agrees a fresh start is the best, it’s time to restage the brand completely. Begin anew with a whole new design. Often a new design is needed to keep up with changing attitudes and audiences, or to reach new audiences that expect a more up-to-date look or contemporary image.
Along with a redesigned identity, it’s a good time to rethink how the organization is positioned, if there is a new direction to highlight, or a new niche being filled. Aligning the direction for the design and message with where the company is going and how it wants to be perceived will deliver the best long-term solution. It will also help employees to understand those essential ideas and take pride in the new look.
I have been amazed at the difference new business cards make. When an employee is proud to hand out a card that is distinctive, captivating, interesting or just plain cool, a company ambassador and evangelist is created. It’s amazing to see how energized and enthusiastic people can be about a fresh, meaningful design they can share.
Here are a few examples of successfully restaged brands. Each was created to make a bold statement for the company that moved them forward in their category.
SRC shifted from a line design representing old-fashioned X-rays to dots to represent digital technology.
The bold R for Roth Heating and Cooling, with the carefully placed degree sign helped the company stand out. When
applied to the vans, Roth was seen as a major service provider, which helped them move into larger commercial projects. Staff were excited to drive the newly branded vans and hand out the new business cards.
Check out our website to see the before and after of the logo. The business card design is on the right.
When you’re ready to bring new energy to your brand, whether a refresh or restage, talk to us. We do some pretty darned good work that stands the test of time and reinvents how audiences see your organization.
Remember, that new design is more than a design system. It becomes a way to propel your organization forward, to unite your staff, to stand above the competition, and to reach new target audiences.
- Read more on our blog about the power of positioning through messaging and identity.
- Download our free worksheet on positioning to help you define the direction for your brand.
- Read about these refreshed brand systems for government organizations, including standards and guidelines and stationery templates.