A Refresh or a Re-Brand?
Usually, when I talk to persons who have been in business for a long time they state that their entity needs and overhaul; a “rebranding” they call it. But there’s a bit of a difference. Usually, there is a need for a refresh, other than a full revamp of the brand. Today’s article will briefly discuss the distinction between refreshing and rebranding.
Much like a person, corporate entities have personalities; and a brand refresh is like a new haircut, a change of clothes and some make-up. A rebrand is totally changing the individual; going down to his character, even perhaps his accent and his foundational beliefs. Get it? A brand overhaul goes much deeper than a brand refresh.
For example, if you look at various logos throughout the years, you’d see that large companies such as Apple, Coca-Cola, Nike, Pepsi and the like have varied their logos. In fact, if you were to look at a Microsoft logo from the eighties, you’d find it laughable. This is because the font and character of the logo certainly doesn’t fit with the new millennium. Although the logo’s look evolved, the fundamental characteristics of the brand have not changed. In effect, that was a simple brand refresh.
With a brand refresh, there is still a visual connection. This means that – at a glance – a person can recognise the brand, even though it has been altered. We all know the “new and improved” slogan, which can actually make a big difference to consumer purchasing habits.
It is important to not alter a brand’s look and feel so much that it becomes unrecognisable, almost like a new brand. Even more so when a brand is already strong. Think of renaming Coca Cola, “Spokie” or something of that sort and making the logo blue. It would be starting from scratch. Stock price would perhaps plummet since the equity of the brand becomes weakened.
Conversely, if you have a brand that needs new attention or insight, a rebrand may be a good move. For example, when Cable and Wireless re-branded the bMobile brand in Barbados, they called it Lime in order to fit in with the Caribbean concept of ‘liming’ or having a good time. However, the colour black was perhaps not the best for marketing in the Caribbean, since it is associated with death. I remember a VP of Marketing looking at all the black feather banners at the launch and asking, “Who died?” Lime in Barbados is no longer in existence as there was a merger and subsequent re-brand to Flow which is a much stronger name and philosophy.
Whether you rebrand or refresh, it is a delicate balance and it would be best to ask the advice of ad experts, so that they can engage in research and determine what is better for your brand.