Could your brand use a little refreshment this summer?

I doubt you’d find it surprising to hear that most companies cut back on marketing during the uncertainty of the last couple of years – and you probably wouldn’t be surprised to find out that now the pressure’s off a little, they’re starting to fund new initiatives again.

And as a result, we’re starting to see a new trend – brand strategies being reviewed and refreshed from the ground up.

Normally, the first clues that a brand needs attention will come in relation to a merger, acquisition, deregulation, spin-off or re-organisation. But sometimes, it’s not as clear-cut. Sometimes, the tip-off is that the company finds evidence of brand misconception in its target audience. At scope, we believe that the most powerful brands are built on authentic stories and inspiring experiences – like Zappos online shoe store.

Zappos brand story is all about customer service – in an online world, being able to deliver a product fast or cheaper isn’t enough to differentiate you from the competition, but going above and beyond in the customer service stakes is. Zappos add value to its customers by not only finding and delivering the shoes you want, but taking the risk out of buying them online by letting you return them free if charge if they don’t fit. They’ve built a culture based on the brand value of customer service and every employee lives the brand – in fact, I’ve heard a story about a customer calling a Zappos rep to find out where their local pizza delivery store was. The rep not only found the customer’s local store, but ordered the pizza and had it delivered – and any way you look at it, that was way above and beyond normal customer service!

Zappos employees live and breathe the Zappos brand … do yours?

So, if your story has stopped resonating with your target audience, or the experiences people have with your brand don’t deliver on your brand promise … you’ve got problems. And refreshing your brand might just be the answer you need.

But what exactly does ‘refreshing your brand’ mean?

Well, it’s not as simple as a new logo – although when a brand is refreshed properly, an updated logo can become a compelling rallying point. In fact, when we refreshed the Hill Rogers brand identity to introduce the recent merger, our research revealed that the logo had become such an intrinsic part of the Hill Rogers brand, and had such valuable equity, that any major change to it could be risky. So rather than starting from scratch, we worked with the original logo, improving its construction to give it a stronger presence, which would transfer more successfully across a range of mediums, without subjecting it to a massive visual change. The strength we created with the logo was then re-created throughout the rest of the customer touch points and steered the new brand style guide.

The important thing to remember when it comes to a brand refresh is that whether you go for new graphics, colours or images, everything should come back together to underscore your brand’s new and refined message. Telling your updated brand story involves a complete process – you need to communicate it to your target audience, involve your employees at every level, and make it consistent at every single touch point. A brand refresh should help you tell your brand story with more clarity, aligning all of the existing elements. And that’s exactly what a brand refresh with team scope can do.

Is your brand ready to be refreshed?

To work out whether your brand could do with a bit of freshening up, you need to ask these questions:

Do you have a simple, emotional brand story that can cut through the clutter?

Is that story still relevant today?

Is it the same story that your customers tell?

Can your employees tell this story?

Does your brand experience stand out?

Do you know what aspects of the experience drive your brand?

Does your experience have a unique, branded personality?

Are you managing the full customer experience across touch points?

Remember, the most important consideration, when thinking about any change, is why. It doesn’t usually make sense to change just for change’s sake. Before you make any investment in a brand refresh, you need to work out how that investment will help grow your business – and if the answers to the questions you just asked yourself won’t help you grow your business, maybe it’s time for a fresh, new change that will.

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