Updating Your Visual Brand: How to Know When a New Visual Identity is Needed

Updating Your Visual Brand: How to Know When a New Visual Identity is Needed

Change is critical in today’s fast-paced market. Consumers crave innovation and tire quickly of products or concepts that seem stagnant. As their desires change, so do the prerogatives of the businesses seeking to attract their attention. Hence, the value of the occasional refresh, which can revive a stale brand while engaging new and long-term customers alike.

As with any change, brand updates should not be carried out on a whim. A sense of purpose is critical. This necessity extends beyond identifying the target market and the new brand concept to include the actual execution of the rebranding effort.

Some brands require complete overhauls, while others can make do with a few small tweaks. If you’re interested in updating your brand, it is critical that you determine the extent of that effort early on. Chief considerations to keep in mind are highlighted in detail below.

Identify the “Why” Behind Updating Your Visual Brand

Does your business actually require a new brand? Or are you simply due for a refresh? These concepts may seem similar, but they actually represent wildly different purposes.

A refresh simply aims to build upon already successful concepts to keep existing audiences interested. A rebrand, however, seeks to correct a notable flaw within the current approach. For example, if your brand is not in keeping with the priorities of your target audience, a completely new identity may prove necessary. This could mean scrapping your previous brand entirely and returning to the drawing board in search of something more effective.

If you’re considering a rebrand over a refresh, consider why a more extensive effort is needed. A simple refresh may deliver a better return on investment if you struggle to find a concrete reason for rebranding.

Questions worth asking as you ponder next steps:

  • Has your brand changed considerably since you initially developed a logo or other visual identifiers? Does previous imagery match your current purpose and company culture?
  • What about brand equity? Would a rebrand ultimately help or harm your reputation? How can you maintain current strengths while seeking a new look?
  • How will a rebrand influence your marketing strategy and budget? Are you prepared to overhaul marketing efforts to align with your new brand?

Although sometimes necessary, full rebrands are a gamble. Completely updating your visual brand could help you reorient your brand with your organization’s evolving goals, but it could also alienate customers or negatively impact the awareness you’ve worked so hard to establish.

In many cases, a full-on rebrand is not necessary unless your reputation is suffering or your current brand is clearly holding your business back from embracing much-needed innovation.

Consider Alternatives

If the basis of your brand remains strong, you may be better served by a simple refresh, which alters specific elements of your visual approach without completely changing the look consumers have come to associate with your organization. Rather than starting from scratch, you’ll need to determine which aspects of your current strategy work—and which might benefit from small, but targeted changes.

Perhaps the bulk of your visual identity is strong, but your website or logo is out of sync. Consistency is critical, so it may be worth your while to shift any visual elements not in keeping with your audience and your underlying purpose.

Often, it’s best to start small. For an established brand with a strong reputation, the ideal refresh will provide a modern feel without veering too far from the qualities that made it successful in the first place. This may require maintaining at least one core element of your previous look.

In keeping with this approach, many major corporations retain either typesets or core colors when updating logos. General Mills, for example, offered a nod to tradition with a 2017 rebrand, which kept the company’s iconic blue G while adding a pop of red. Meanwhile, Mailchimp allowed its cheeky mascot to stick around but adopted a bolder and more impactful font.

A rebrand or refresh could energize your audience while ensuring that your visual identity remains in keeping with your core message. If undertaken strategically, this shift could produce huge improvements in brand awareness, customer perception, and ultimately, your bottom line. Consider your full range of options carefully before making the leap—you’ll never regret due diligence.

As you determine a new strategy for your evolving brand, don’t hesitate to seek an outside perspective. The AltCreative team can assist with logo design or otherwise develop the visual element of your brand. Contact us today to learn more or feel free to request a project quote.



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