Nobody likes a stale brand. Not only does it prevent you from reaching new customers, but it’s a major turnoff for existing customers. Having said that, maybe it’s time to hit the proverbial refresh button?
The Need for Freshness
While your products and services are ultimately what people buy, it’s your brand that magnetizes and converts. The right branding can offset a host of other issues, while the wrong branding can undercut your ability to get high-quality products into consumers’ hands.
A brand is anything but static. It’s a constantly evolving organism that requires nurturing over time. And even the best brands go stale from time to time.
The question is, do you need to hit the reset button and breathe new life into your business?
A stale brand can be identified by looking for a few key markers -–most of which are subjective and require some introspective thought and analysis. The first aspect to consider is whether your brand looks “tired.”
“Tired-looking products have a difficult time convincing customers that your product is the better option,” brand strategist Karen Kerski writes. “Customers don’t buy things out of pity, and tired branding instills that pitiful feeling in potential buyers. Making sure that your brand is current and meaningful to your customer is important in ensuring your brand stays fresh.”
Another sign of a stale brand is failing marketing. In spite of following all of the best practices, making the right investments in the appropriate content mediums and messaging, and understanding precisely who your audience is, everything is failing. That’s because nobody connects with the brand.
Your marketing strategy can be fundamentally sound, but if there’s no connection to the brand, everything will fall apart. You’re reaching people, but you aren’t engaging them.
Those are the two biggest signs of a stale brand, though there are plenty of other symptoms. For example, maybe you launched your company in a brand new market 10 years ago. The market has evolved a lot over the past decade, but your brand has stayed the same. That’s probably a sign that you’re not as fresh as you need to be.
Yet another example would be a situation where your biggest competitor has developed a fresh angle or a compelling unique selling proposition, yet you’re still relying on the same recycled messaging that you’ve clung to for several years.
Change for the sake of change is never a good idea. But if you notice your brand going stale, it may be time to make a change.
5 Tips for a Successful Brand Refresh
Refreshing a brand is not the same as tearing it down and building it from scratch. It’s about revisiting core tenets of the brand and updating elements that are no longer engaging or reflective of the value customers expect to receive.
Here are some helpful suggestions:
1. Update Your Logo
Logos aren’t meant to be static. If you study the world’s most successful brands, almost all of them have refreshed their logos at some point.
Have you ever seen the original Microsoft logo from 1975? Or did you know that it was updated again in 1980, 1982, and 1987? The latest variation – the one that we’re all so accustomed to seeing today – has only been around since 2012.
Apple has also undergone four logo revisions – though the most recent one has been in existence since 1988.
Other companies with logo refreshes include Starbucks, Baskin-Robbins, AT&T, Visa, Burger King, and Walmart.
Your brand might not be as big as these household names, but there’s still something to be said for modernizing your logo so that it’s fresh and engaging. This might look like simplifying the color scheme, flattening the logo, or changing the font.
2. Add or Update Your Slogan
Does your brand have a slogan or tagline? It might be time to add one or update what you’re currently using.
The key to a slogan is to keep it simple and specific. The goal is not to explain your entire business in a five-word phrase. You’re basically setting the table for your brand. You’re establishing a sense of what your company is about and encouraging people to engage in order to learn more.
3. Update Packaging
For physical products brands, one of the most important steps in a brand refresh is updated packaging. Whether you’re selling online or in brick and mortar stores, the right packaging makes a huge difference in the perception of your products.
When updating packaging, you’ll want to strike a proper balance between cost-efficiency, visual appeal, and the inclusion of practical elements (like labels, warnings, descriptions, etc.). Assuming this isn’t something you’re proficient at, you’d be wise to work with a customized manufacturing company to brainstorm and execute new ideas.
4. Create More Consistency
As time passes, there’s a tendency to let little things slip. And before you realize it, your brand no longer has as much clarity as it once did. In other words, the edges of your brand have become blurred. Thus, one of the most important issues to address in a brand refresh is consistency.
As you update your brand, you should create a comprehensive brand style guide that includes things like logos, color hex codes, preferred fonts, slogans, specifics on tone and voice, words/terms that are disallowed, etc.
Consistency and specificity breed comfort in the consumer. And if there’s one thing we know, it’s that a comfortable consumer is much more likely to become a paying customer.
5. Test, Test, and Test Some More
Avoid the temptation to have one big brand relaunch party. While this may work for larger household names, you’re much better off doing a gradual rollout. This allows you to test what’s working, nix the elements that aren’t well-received, and make smart changes that move the needle in a positive direction.
Reenergize Your Brand!
Sometimes the only thing that’s needed to go from stagnant to success is a simple brand refresh where you dust off the cobwebs, address key concerns, and spruce things up in a way that connects with your target market in new and profound ways.
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