For a lot of brands, there comes a point when there’s a need to refresh and re-think brand visuals and messaging. However, the idea of a flashy re-brand where a radical new look is unveiled under much fanfare is not always the way to go.
"Brands don’t operate in a stop-start way, they are constantly evolving with the business."
Brands don’t operate in a stop-start way, they are constantly evolving with the business. This means that you can reach a point where your brand visuals – logos, colours, photography – need some TLC to bring them in line with your business direction and bring your brand up to date.
Even with some savvy TLC to bring your brand up to date, if you start using new brand visuals with no explanation it can feel disjointed, odd and could disengage your audience. It also undermines your profile if you switch things over ad-hoc and use a confusing mix of old and new brand content.
Here are some simple steps you can follow to make it consistent and engaging.
10 steps to keep your brand refresh on track
1. Bring your team on board:
Make sure your team and strategic partners are on board and keep them in the loop. They’re your brand ambassadors and should be the first to be clear and engaged with why you’re evolving the brand, first to see the new assets and to be involved with the communications campaign.
2. Create your messages from your ‘why’:
Take a moment to be clear on why you’re evolving the brand – and write it down. It may be clear to you as you are so close to the business but create a set of simple messages that answer the ‘so what?’ question from the perspective of your team, your clients and your wider network.
3. Be clear what you want to achieve:
In addition to explaining your ‘why' and answering ‘so what?’ take a moment to note what you want to achieve and how you’ll know you’ve achieved it. It could be you’d like to get feedback and a positive response to the new brand visuals. Or are you doing it to get more engagement, position yourself differently in the market? In which case benchmark the measures that matter i.e. engagement on social media, new enquiries, increased referrals etc. so you can compare.
4. Set your timeline:
What projects, events or activities are happening in your business that will impact when you switch branding over and reveal the new brand assets. Ideally you want time to get your ducks in a row and also engage your audience at the same time so plan back from business critical dates and factor in any existing activities, campaigns and events.
5. Create a mini campaign:
Plan out a couple of weeks of communications using the messages you’ve created and your key audience groups – team, strategic partners, clients and wider network/audiences. You want to bring the team on board by sharing the assets with them, plus make sure you’ve planned messages to go to clients and key strategic partners as well as via your usual marketing channels.
6. Do a brand audit:
Go through everywhere you currently use your branding and make sure you know what you’re switching over, when and how. You can use the brand audit check-list for prompts for what to check, admin steps you might need to take and practical changes you might need to make on materials etc.
7. Make sure you’ve got everything ready:
Do you have all the assets you need in the new brand style? Have they all been finalised and signed-off? This is where the brand audit can help. Plus draft the emails and social media messages you’re planning to send so they’re ready to go.
8. Switch everything over:
This date should be set out in your timeline and be the start of your mini-campaign. Make sure you’ve brought your team and all key stakeholders along before you make the switch and make sure you’ve got time to switch everything over with a clear understanding of what will go live, when and where.
9. Share with your clients and network:
This is where you use your mini-campaign and the messages you created. The idea is to create engagement rather than do a brand launch, so staggering communications over a couple of weeks starting with some more personalised messages to key stakeholders, clients and contacts plus sharing stories, previews & examples and assets on social media can work well.
Once you’ve switched everything over and shared with your network, take a moment to review how it went down. Did you get a good response, any feedback? If you set a particular goal or benchmark it’s time to review and compare that too.