Ready to Refresh? The Small Business Branding Guide

Written By
January 11, 2024

Let's play pretend for a moment. Imagine walking into a clothing store you haven't visited for a few years. You loved their styles back in the day, but now, things seem different. The clothes on the rack are the same style as they were years ago, and everything feels a tad outdated. How likely are you to come back? Probably not very.

Your small business brand can be like that store. What worked a few years ago might not strike a chord with your customers now. That's where a brand refresh comes into play. It's like giving your brand a makeover to keep it relevant and appealing to your audience. But when and how should you refresh your small business brand? Let's explore!

Knowing the Signs: When Is It Time to Refresh?

When it comes to refreshing your brand, timing is everything. But how do you know when it's time to give your brand a facelift? Look for these signs:

Refreshment Sign #1: Your Brand Doesn't Reflect Your Business Anymore

The world of small business is not static. Businesses evolve, diversify, and sometimes, they pivot. So, if you feel like your brand is stuck in a time warp while your business has moved ahead, that's your cue. Your brand should accurately reflect the essence of your business - its mission, values, offerings, and persona. If it doesn't, then it might be time to hit the refresh button. It's similar to updating your wardrobe as you grow and your tastes change. Those high school jeans just don't represent who you are anymore!

Refreshment Sign #2: You're Targeting a New Audience

Your audience dictates your brand. As your business grows, you may start serving new audience segments, or your existing audience's preferences might evolve. If you find that your current brand doesn't quite hit the mark with your new or evolved audience, a brand refresh can help you build a stronger connection. It's like switching from pop music to jazz when your audience starts enjoying more sophisticated tunes. If your brand doesn't speak their language, you need to change the conversation.

Refreshment Sign #3: Your Brand Doesn't Stand Out

In the bustling Canadian market, standing out is the name of the game. If you find that your brand is fading into the background amidst a sea of competitors, a brand refresh could be the secret sauce to differentiation. It can give your brand a distinctive edge, making it more memorable and attractive to your audience. It's like adding a unique accessory to your outfit that makes you stand out in a crowd. If your brand is looking too plain, it's time to add some pizzazz!

The Subtle Art of Updating Your Brand

Refresh, Not Rebrand: The Subtle Art of Updating Your Brand

Refreshing your brand isn't about reinventing the wheel. It's about making strategic updates to your brand to keep it relevant and engaging. Here's how you can do it.

Refresh Step #1: Understand Your Current Brand Position

Before you start swinging the hammer, you need to understand where your brand stands. This involves conducting a brand audit to identify your brand's strengths, weaknesses, and perceptions among your audience. It's like doing a health check-up for your brand to figure out what's working and what needs a little TLC.

Refresh Step #2: Define Your Objectives

With a clear understanding of your current brand position, it's time to set goals for your brand refresh. What do you want to achieve? Are you aiming to capture a new audience segment? Do you want to better reflect the evolution of your business? Or, do you want to stand out from your competitors in the Canadian market? Defining clear objectives will provide a roadmap for your brand refresh journey.

Refresh Step #3: Keep What Works

In the quest to refresh your brand, don't lose sight of what's already working. Not everything from your existing brand needs to be tossed out. Some elements may still resonate with your audience and align with your brand identity. Identify these elements and preserve them. This will ensure that your refreshed brand feels familiar and authentic to your audience.

The Tools of the Trade: Elements to Consider for Your Brand Refresh

A brand refresh is a multi-faceted process. It involves updating various elements of your brand to make it more appealing and relevant. Here are some key tools you should consider:

Refresh Tool #1: Visual Identity

Your brand's visual identity is the first thing people notice. It includes elements like your logo, color palette, typography, and imagery. If these elements feel dated or no longer align with your brand, it's time to give them a refresh. Just like you'd update your living room with a fresh coat of paint and new furniture, update your visual identity to make it fresh and appealing.

Refresh Tool #2: Brand Voice

Your brand voice is how your brand communicates with its audience. It's present in your website copy, social media posts, emails, and customer interactions. If your current brand voice isn't striking a chord with your audience or accurately reflecting your brand personality, it may need a tune-up. Just like a singer adjusting their tune to the audience's taste, adjust your brand voice to resonate with your audience.

Refresh Tool #3: Customer Experience

Your brand isn't just about your logo or your brand voice; it's also about the experience you deliver to your customers. Evaluate your customer touchpoints - your website, customer service, social media interactions, and more. If these interactions don't provide a positive and memorable experience to your customers, they may need a refresh. Just like a chef tweaking a recipe to improve the taste, tweak your customer interactions to enhance the customer experience.

Strategizing Your Brand Refresh

The Blueprint for Success: Strategizing Your Brand Refresh

Refresh Strategy #1: Involve Your Team

Your team members are the ambassadors of your brand, so their involvement in the refresh process is crucial. They can provide valuable insights and ideas that can help shape the updated brand. Plus, involving them in the process can also increase their engagement and commitment to the refreshed brand.

Refresh Strategy #2: Communicate with Your Customers

Your customers should be at the heart of your brand refresh. Consider their needs, preferences, and feedback while updating your brand. Once you're ready to launch, communicate the changes to them effectively. This way, you're not just springing a new look on them but bringing them along on your journey.

Refresh Strategy #3: Launch with a Bang!

Don't just change your logo on your website and call it a day. Plan a memorable launch event to create a buzz around your refreshed brand. It could be an online event, special promotions, a social media campaign, or a mix of all. The aim is to get your audience excited about your new and improved brand.

The Long Road: Managing Your Brand Post-Refresh

Post-Refresh Management #1: Keep it Consistent

Once your refreshed brand is live, ensure consistency across all platforms and touchpoints. Whether it's your website, social media, or physical store, your refreshed brand elements should be consistently implemented.

Post-Refresh Management #2: Monitor the Response

Stay attentive to your audience's response to your brand refresh. Monitor changes in customer engagement, feedback, sales, or any other indicators relevant to your objectives. This data will help you gauge the effectiveness of your brand refresh and make any necessary adjustments.

Post-Refresh Management #3: Keep it Fresh

A brand refresh isn't a one-time thing. You need to continually keep your brand fresh and relevant to your audience. So, make regular assessments a part of your business strategy to keep your brand vibrant and engaging. Remember, your brand is a living entity that grows with your business and your customers.

The process of refreshing your brand might feel daunting, but when done right, it can breathe new life into your business. So don't be afraid to shake things up and keep things fresh. Because when your brand shines, so does your business.

Summing it All Up

Refreshing your brand is a significant investment in time, effort, and resources. But if you hit a point where your brand no longer aligns with your business, audience, or market trends, a refresh could be the boost you need to revitalize your business.