The time is ripe for resetting the essential elements that represent your business – think logos, colours, designs and even blurbs on your website, social media and marketing materials. According to Elleni Jamal, director of Elleni Kay Creative, a successful brand refresh can act as a boost for your whole business. “I have a lot of experience with rebranding and it often opens up a whole new world of what we can do in talking to existing customers while also appealing to new ones,” she says. “It reinforces your position in the marketplace and brings the fun back into visuals.” 

So, when is the ideal time to refresh? Meyrick Adams, director of growth at Queensland’s Maker Street Studios, says that established brands need to consider how a brand refresh could help them grow, influence and build positive associations with the brand. 

“This could be after a merger or acquisition, when sales are declining, or when launching new products or services,” he says. “Sometimes it’s about building relevance, other times it’s about attracting new customers and re-engaging existing ones. If you are experiencing declining sales, finding it hard to attract new customers, and struggling to re-engage with your existing customers, it may be time to consider investing in a brand refresh.”

With big brands like Pepsi (who did their first visual overhaul in 14 years in 2023), Kmart and Priceline (to name a few) undergoing brand makeovers through the years – it’s all about staying relevant. Follow this guide to hitting restart on your brand identity with a clear brand marketing strategy.

The First Steps

Before you begin, determine what the purpose of the brand refresh is. Take stock of your existing brand image and note down what is and isn’t working. It might be helpful to create a PMI Chart with columns for Pluses (positives), Minuses (negatives) and Interesting (things to note). This exercise helps you organise and evaluate your thoughts when you’re making big decisions. 

Graphic designer Melissa Wakefield suggests analysing how your business is performing and where you see room for improvement. “Look at your sales, or digital channels like social media, impressions and visitations,” she says. “Are you getting the engagement you expect? Are you reaching the goals you’ve set for your business? How are your competitors doing? And what are they doing differently? Gather information from what you’ve tried and received great results from – and what flopped.” 

“Start by understanding your vision,” Elleni adds. “Make sure your choices reflect what your company stands for and remember that ‘trending’ doesn't always mean ‘timeless’.”

According to Meyrick, there are six key considerations when considering a brand refresh:

  1. Staying relevant: “Consumer behaviours and preferences change, and brands need to adapt to remain competitive. For example, needing to shift from a bricks and mortar store to an online shopping experience.” 
  2. New competition or competitors stepping up their game.
  3. You look at your brand and it simply feels outdated.
  4. Your company has had a strategic change in direction.
  5. Negative brand reputation: “When a brand lands a negative reputation, a refresh is almost always on the cards. It goes a long way in helping the business reposition itself in the market to regain customer trust and credibility.”
  6. Establishing a foothold in a new target market.

SEE ALSO: What I’ve Learned About: Honesty and Authenticity in Business

Ask for Help

A woman wearing a white shirt and black leaf-print cardigan and a man wearing a black jumper sit at a desk facing each other and talking. On the desk is a big red lamp and a scattering of photo layout sheets.  ‍

If you’re tech savvy, there are plenty of apps, online tools and digital software that can help you with your successful brand refresh. But if you would rather spend your time on other aspects of your business, or you would like to ensure professional results, it may be a good idea to consult an expert. 

“It’s easy to identify elements of your branding that are outdated. However, it is usually hard to pinpoint exactly what isn’t working without some professional advice,” Elleni says. “An expert, with experience on tools such as InDesign and Illustrator, can help guide you through a tailored re-brand.”

Officeworks offers comprehensive graphic design services, with an expert graphic design team to fulfil your promotional needs, including business cards, posters, marketing materials and logos. 

If DIY is more your style, you can print on demand and copy your own designs using the handy self-serve kiosks located in select Officeworks stores. There are a variety of convenient ways to take your collateral from your home hard drive to reality, simply bring along a USB or send the file to Officeworks in an email and wait for a return email with a unique print code. Our online printing services are also available 24/7 to make life that little bit easier.

Be Clear and Consistent

Whether you’re working alone or with a team of design and media experts, you need to establish a clear brand identity and keep things consistent across all marketing and digital channels. “Select a refined colour palette that is consistent with your brand, easily recognisable and distinguishable from competitor brands,” Melissa says. “Communicate your message clearly with your customers and don’t make it too complicated or confusing. If you’re consistent, you will be remembered.” 

For this reason, brand guidelines (also known as a style guide) are handy. Create a document that dictates the rules for your brand, stipulating the fonts, colours, logos, templates and images that should be used in your marketing collateral. “Having defined brand guidelines makes marketing and branding decisions easier because you have an existing outline to guide you,” Elleni says.

Share these guidelines with employees or collaborators to ensure everyone’s on the same page. 

Why Colours and Your Logo Matter

A person wearing a white tee and denim shirt, pictured from the neck down, is sitting at a white desk holding a pencil and a colour chart.‍

Successful logo design is a balance between fitting in and standing out, and adhering to best practices without getting too generic – this is especially important when it comes to a brand refresh. US-based Website Planet conducted a survey and found that in 2021, 40 per cent of Fortune 500 companies (a list of the largest companies in America compiled by Fortune magazine annually) are using the colour blue in their logo. Why? Because it’s a trusted colour for businesses as it conveys feelings of tranquillity, harmony, peace, trust and stability.

Website Planet also revealed that the colour of the logo makes up 90 per cent of a consumer’s first impression about brand identity. Gradients have also proven popular in recent times with 34 Fortune 500 companies now incorporating colour ramp in their logos. 

Time to Hit Refresh

When your new assets are ready, roll out your refresh across your marketing materials, website and social media channels. 

Consider investing in items such as business cards, letterheads and stickers for face-to-face interactions with potential customers. “The more stationery you have your branding on, the more people will see it and remember it,” says Melissa, who has had many successes with this type of collateral. “Especially if it’s something they can use, like postcards, loyalty cards or magnets. You want to make it easy for customers to know who you are and where to find you.” 

Hot Tip: Did you know Officeworks can help with your marketing materials? Utilise the Officeworks Print, Copy and Create service to make everything from custom apparel, magnets and calendars to business cards, stationery and signs

What to Try

SEE ALSO: What I’ve Learnt About: Creativity

Generate Buzz

A man in a brown jumper and blue jeans lying face-up on a beige lounge in a living room. He’s holding and looking at a mobile phone and smiling.

Once your brand refresh is complete, get people talking about it! Leverage free social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and TikTok. Consider also if it would be effective for your brand to jump on newer options, such as podcasts, social broadcasting (for example, Instagram Broadcast Channels and WhatsApp Channels), and voice-first experiences, like Alexa Skills. Melissa also points out that EDMs (Electronic Direct Mail, aka email newsletters) are always worth your time. “They remind people who have interest in your brand already that you’re still there, while explaining what you’re about and allowing for repeat and loyal customers to hear from you,” she explains. Aim to form a dedicated community around your brand, made up of interested and like-minded people.

Elleni suggests clueing in customers on your brand refresh along the way. “You’ll avoid confusing your customer and instead make them feel included in your journey, further creating loyalty,” she says. “If you’re planning a huge [refresh], a good old countdown always creates hype. Be sure to offer little teasers along the way or create an exclusive offer or competition that relates back to your brand refresh and gets people talking about it.”

Get the Essentials

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This article was originally published in 2020 and has been updated.