We all know the feeling when you’re trying to say something important but can’t shake the feeling your words aren’t doing it justice. Nothing you say is quite capturing the importance of the subject matter.
A tired, outdated or misjudged brand is essentially the business equivalent of this. You’ve got something important to say and the really important details are getting lost in translation. Never having the desired impact.
Your brand should make statement, a lasting impression your audience will remember. Which is why it deserves the time, energy and investment to ensure it’s hitting the right notes – every step of the way. One client of ours recently told us, a year from a rebrand project, it was “one of the best business investments we’ve ever made”.
But, other than that niggling feeling you’re not quite connecting in the way you want to, how can you tell your brand needs a refresh? What are the key signs it’s not doing you justice?
1. It’s all over the place
One of the most common issues we find when working with a new client is a lack of consistency in their brand communications. Depending on who’s in control, comms will go out with different colours or fonts, logos are used in a range of “creative” ways and language can vary wildly.
This doesn’t always mean the things going out look bad – although some do look bloody awful – but the lack of consistency can have an adverse effect. It can significantly hamper efforts to build familiarity with your audience.
I’m by no means saying there can’t be variety in your brand communications. However, this variety needs to be purposeful and thought-through.
One of the key things that’s often missing in these scenarios is a clear and comprehensive brand style guide. Something that will guide your people through the process of capturing your brand identity effectively. This should be an essential part of your brand toolkit.
Take some time to review the various touchpoints of your brand – your website, social channels, recent external comms – will your audience get a consistent experience? Will they get the right impression of your organisation at every point?
If not, it may well be time to consider a review and a refresh.
2. Something big is happening
It’s a misconception that the reasons to refresh your brand are inherently negative. However, this isn’t necessarily the case. There are numerous instances in which it makes complete sense to refresh a brand you’re predominantly happy with.
A great example of this is when something exciting is taking place. Something that marks a turning point in your company’s journey. Something you want people to take notice of.
This might be a new website, a product launch or a new strategy. It could also be a change in leadership. In all of these scenarios, a brand refresh to coincide will help create more of a buzz about it. It’s also a signal of intent (internally and externally) and a demonstration of the importance of what’s happening. Even subtle changes can really help mark the occasion and make people take notice.
3. Your voice doesn’t match your visuals
In many ways, this comes back to inconsistency but a mismatch between verbal and visual identity is so common it deserves a point of its own.
When reviewing an organisation’s brand – a key aspect we look at is the identity and personality they’re trying to communicate. It’s not necessarily about whether the brand is objectively ‘good’ or ‘bad’. It’s whether it’s effective.
Once we know what they’re trying to get across, we then look at whether this is currently present in not only their visual style but also, and possibly most importantly, their voice. So often, a company has significantly invested in flashy visuals that tell one story but haven’t considered whether the language they use is backing it up. We also speak to a lot of people who are constantly frustrated by the feeling they’re never quite able to capture the personality they want in their writing.
Ensuring your brand voice is consistent with the image you’re putting across in the visual side of your brand is crucial to creating a genuinely effective brand identity. Again, capturing this in a comprehensive style guide ensures anyone putting together any kind of written comms will find it easy to incorporate your voice.
4. It doesn’t make you proud
It sounds simple to say but you should be proud of your brand. You should be excited to show it off to clients, peers, friends and family. You should be content and happy knowing your brand is out in the world doing its job for you.
However, this isn’t always the case. For so many, they can’t help but feel embarrassed when sending people through to their website or social channels or emailing through collateral. They cringe thinking about the impression it’s giving off. This just isn’t on.
If you feel this way, it’s time to do something about it. You deserve a brand that makes you proud.
5. You’re getting left behind
Tell me if this scenario sounds familiar. You’re enjoying a period when everything is going the way you’d hoped. Everything seems to have fallen into place and things are ticking along nicely. Until, suddenly, things take a turn.
The growth you were seeing has plateaued or even started to decline, the (maybe theoretical) phone has stopped ringing and the competitors you thought you’d raced ahead of appear to have caught up. Or worse, have left you behind.
This is a scary thing to be facing, especially when you can’t quite put your finger on what has caused this change. There’s no obvious factor that’s a catalyst for this sudden swing.
Have a look at your competitors’ brand – have they updated recently? Are they coming across as more modern or relevant? Could they be appealing to your shared audience in a more effective way?
A brand refresh could be exactly what you need to get you back in the race.
I’m sure it’ll come as no surprise that the ongoing moral of this story is: there is no one reason to consider a brand refresh or a rebrand. There are a vast number of challenges and situations in which brand work would offer a positive and proactive impact.
So, let’s talk about what it could do for you!
If you’re seeing signs it might be time for a brand refresh, give us a shout. We can help you tell your story properly.
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