Over the last few months, we’ve shared several blog articles that can help you get back in touch with your marketing components such as your mission statement and your logo. These are pieces of a whole, and sometimes it may be beneficial to your business to do a full brand review. However, there are several ways to go about it, mostly resulting from whether you feel you need a brand refresh or a rebrand.

So what’s the difference between a brand refresh and a rebrand?

A brand refresh is a less intensive process that involves tweaking what’s already in place to make it more current and more attractive to a changing environment. On the other hand, a rebrand means re-examining goals and intended audience and reconfiguring an entity’s basic pieces and face moving forward to better reflect those pivotal changes.

Deciding between the two when considering makes adjustments to your business is a complex process. There are obvious factors that may come into play, including cost and time. However, if you’re really seriously considering this as a near future move, it’s more important to fully commit to logically reflecting on the two options. 

Start by examining your brand as it is currently. Do you feel your messaging is current and modern? Do you feel that you are portraying yourself as you wish to be seen by current and potential clients? Do you have a full marketing and brand suite that would be impacted, and if so, to what extent? 

At this point, those other factors should come into the equation. What sort of timeline are you able to commit to when putting a plan into motion, including the time of planning, consulting, the rebrand timeline itself, and the follow up? What budget can you allocate to the updates that may be required, including the costs of designers, new physical objects such as mugs, stationery, business signage, apparel, as well website redesign?

It is very possible to refresh rather than rebrand, particularly if you feel that the core messaging of your business has not changed. This would mean more updates like logos, color themes, and maybe office décor rather than a re-design of everything from the ground up. This can be very effective as a way to revitalize your brand and give you and your team extra energy to give a new look to your client experience.

Start with an audit of your current brand to see what is working and what isn’t. Have your clients mentioned things they like or dislike? When you look around at competitors, particularly in your locale or those around your age, what have they done in terms or evolving? Are there any areas in your brand that you promise but are not fulfilling?

From this internal brand audit, you can identify what you can leave be and what needs the refresh. At that point you can formulate a plan, perhaps to tweak your logo or other aspects of your visual identity. Maybe it’s your brand messaging that needs to be updated to align with your current goals and values? Then you can rollout your refresh at once, ensuring that the change is shared with your team and clients alike, including why you decided to make these updates. The key to a successful refresh is making sure the plan is followed, from initial research through implementation. Once it’s all set, then you can see if your optimized refresh is drawing in new clients and opportunities. 

However, for some situations, it may be beneficial to completely rebrand. A large shift in your business model and goals, a change in location or office partnership, or other major changes may be better suited to rebranding to fully embrace and grow from the changes. A rebrand is more of an investment than a refresh, but as you know, an investment is made with an eye to the future. A rebrand can benefit a business that has evolved past previous messaging, and it can help you stand out in the bustling marketplace. New look, new clients, new energy. Your strong brand can be the key to your success.

For a complete rebrand, it is often a good plan to work with an experienced consultant who can make sure that every aspect is considered. You may list off the top of your head that you know you’ll need a new logo, color palette, and website, but have you considered tone of voice, social media presence, and new marketing strategies? Professionals can also help you stay on top of contemporary trends, as they know what will differentiate you from others in the field. 

Are you concerned about customer loyalty after a change that big? Don’t be! While you’ll be making updates, you can work to ensure your brand is still recognizable—you’re not turning from finance to zookeeping, after all. Keeping open communication with current clients about the changes and sharing your excitement will make them feel more of an emotional connection to a brand they’re watching evolve and remaining part of. Announcements about new website design and brand new logo (perhaps with pens or other promotional items to remind your clients about the new look) will also tell clients that you’re avoiding letting your business grow stagnant. 

Most importantly, whether you choose a refresh or a rebrand, you must follow through and ensure that everything is consistent. You do not want to send out some letters on old letterhead just because it was still in the drawer. A consistent branding strategy is how you ensure that your business is recognizable and drives client loyalty as well as prospect interest, which is at the heart of your whole marketing plan. So if you feel that it’s time for a change, big or small, do a little research and see whether a refresh or rebrand is the best way forward for you and your practice.

Mandy Szewczuk

More about the author: Mandy Szewczuk

Mandy works with advisors as the lead of Evolution Financial Advisor’s virtual assistant program and is part of the marketing and events team.