December 22, 2021
It’s the end of the year, which means everyone is reflecting on what they want to change or improve upon for the year ahead. Some people think big brand redesigns are the perfect New Year project; a way to boost their visibility and prep their brand for tons of growth.
We’ll be honest, though; rebrands aren’t a silver bullet. It’s not an instant way to get your audience’s attention, nor will it fix all the problems you had with previous designs or idea-sharing.
Honestly, making a big change (like a full rebrand) when your brand doesn’t need it can do more harm than good. It can throw your audience for a loop and cause you to lose trust with a group of people who are already on board with you. Sometimes, what you need is a refresh, or a small-scale update to your existing brand.
Of course, there are ways to do a rebrand — or even a brand refresh — well. It’s just important to know when you need a full redesign and when you don’t.
Before we dig into which one is right for you, let’s make these two terms super clear:
Rebrand: A new brand for an existing company, usually to elevate the overall aesthetics and experience of the company to reflect changes + upgrades with products or services. It also involves more research and a deeper dive into your company’s mission and audience so you can create a brand that attracts the people you want to work with now and in the future. This is generally a larger project, with phases to roll it out across platforms, including website, social, etc.
Refresh: Updates to existing brand assets, like colors, fonts, design elements + icons, etc. Previously created assets, like client onboarding forms, graphic templates, and a website would be updated with the refreshed assets.
So when should you just focus on refreshing your brand, and when should you really invest in a full rebrand?
Your mission has stayed the same and you’re offering the same (or similar) services to the same (or similar) audience.
This is great for biz owners who have a strong brand already but want to make small shifts that help them attract slightly more qualified leads, or bring in slightly higher spenders.
We do a brand refresh every year for The Design Lab, as we learn more about our clients and how we want to do business. These little tweaks, including touch-ups to our brand standards, website, and graphics, add up over time and feel like more of an organic shift. They don’t throw off our existing audience and, instead, allow them to grow and evolve with us. The same goes for your own refresh efforts.
You can see this in real time by looking at how our brand has shifted over the last few years (no rebrand involved):
Your mission, your audience, or your offerings have changed significantly.
A great example of this is when a 1:1 service provider is changing their business model to start offering subscription coaching. This person might want a brand refresh to reflect the type of experience their clients will get.
A rebrand is also great if you have a new audience, like if you’ve shifted from serving small business owners and now work with corporate clients, or you’ve gone from serving 4-figure side hustlers to 6-figure CEOs. These shifts definitely require a new look that reflects your clients’ investment and the type of expertise you bring.
If your business mission has changed, everything about your business and your look (aka how you communicate to people) should change with it.
Other times a rebrand is the right call? If your mission, audience, and offerings haven’t changed, but your old brand didn’t represent them anyway. Maybe you had to DIY it back then and you know that it was a stop-gap until you could really invest in your brand in the future. Other times, businesses never had a strong brand presence to begin with, and now they’re in a place where they can invest in a pro to help them really nail it.
We have quite a few resources that can help you with your upcoming project! For one, you’ll want to know which assets to update. You’ll also want to consider small touches that can help you spruce up the look + feel of your brand — like using icons, shades of your brand colors, and so on. If you’re wanting a new look for the New Year, you’ll also want to consider how you can make updates without totally jarring your audience.
If you want to update the look + feel of your social graphics and promotional materials, we can help with that! Our Complete DIY Course Design Kits have everything you need to create social graphics, video thumbnails, workbooks, slide presentations, a variety of PDFs, and more. Now, they even come with font and color packs to make it easy to find colors and fonts that help you weave in some fresher elements to your brand.
We’re excited for you! Stepping into the next evolution of your brand is a huge step — one that is important as your business grows. Of course, we won’t lie: A full rebrand can be more involved than a refresh, but it’s so worth it.
It’s time to choose a brand that reflects the future of your business and that uses colors, fonts, and imagery that show your mission and who you serve now. With a rebrand, you want to make sure you’re not just choosing your favorite colors or focusing on things that don’t matter in the grand scheme of things.
Instead, stay focused on the reason for your rebrand: What has changed about your business? How can you best bring that to life?
If you aren’t sure, or visuals aren’t your forte, you can always work with a professional. We offer brand style guidance to help you define your new branding and provide all the assets you need to bring it to life. That includes a mood board, client personas, a logo, colors, fonts, decorative graphics, and more.
If a professional designer isn’t in the budget — or you’re hoping to bring the new look to life sooner — The Balanced Brand Lab Kit is your new BFF. This kit is a do-it-yourself branding workshop where you’ll build a personalized and balanced brand formula to guide all your design decisions. Make your own style guide and find your brand’s trusty sidekicks: from the right colors, fonts, photography, and more!
See what’s inside the Balanced Brand Lab Kit, and create your brand’s next evolution in our Lab!