Clients often wonder what designers mean when we recommend a full-service branding refresh or a rebrand of their personal or corporate brand. It does get a little confusing even during the process of a rebrand or refresh, so this blog was created to clear up some of the confusion on the topic.
By definition, a branding refresh is when you make noticeable changes to your brand but maintain a visual connection to how the brand identity was seen before. The brand “make-over” is now up-to-date, vibrant, and designed for today’s audiences. This keeps the equity of the brand identity intact. This could be done by upgrading the existing logo, but keeping the same overall look and feel, updating your slogan, adding to or changing your color palette, or using an additional new font family.
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A full-service branding rebrand, on the other hand, is defined as a “total transformation” or an entirely new identity and brand system for the same name. Traditionally, a rebrand starts with new logo design, fresh messaging, a reinvented visual system, and a transformed marketing program to catapult the organization forward. This can also be done by creating a new personality for your brand, establishing yourself in a different market, overhauling your entire image, or designing a completely new background for your company.
With the right clients, I have my own tongue-in-cheek way of differentiating the two; botox vs facelift technique. With botox referring to the refresh, and the facelift referring to the rebrand. Any way you explain the two, it may be confusing until you see an example.
In the examples below, I will show you a series of logos I have refreshed and rebranded from small to large scale.
Full-Service Branding: Small Scale Logo Refresh
A full-service small scale refresh is when you only change the logo slightly and give your brand a little up-keep to make your original visual assets more modern for your target audience.
Focus Strategies, a data-driven systems planning and performance company, needed a refresh of their logo. They felt the “f” for function on the calculator and “focus strategies” still related to who they were as a company. They enjoyed the bright reddish color they had but felt it lacked sophistication for their target audience. The mark that was created from their feedback and their original symbol informed the refreshed and new Focus Strategies logo below.
Large Scale Logo Refresh
A full-service large scale refresh is when you keep the existing colors and attributes of the logo, but you change the concept and composition drastically. This still keeps the original equity visually, thus staying under the umbrella of a “refresh.”
CAL FIRE Benevolent Foundation, a company that raises money for firefighters and their families in need after tragedies, needed a way to stand out above the numerous different foundations that do the same thing they do with similar names; Cal Fire, Firefighter Benevolent Fund, etc. They have been around for over 20 years and there was a large amount of equity in their name and brand, however, it needed to be upgraded. Below was a drastic logo brand awareness refresh, but still considerably less than a full rebrand.
Small & Large Scale Logo Rebrand
The small to large scale concept functions the same when doing a rebrand. Below are examples of two different logos that have rebranded. They both underwent the entirety of their brand transformation through their appearance and marketing strategies. However, there are still levels of severity when looking at how much each changed as a brand aside from the look of the logos.
Community Engaged Payee Support (CEPS), a social services organization, needed a brand new logo and website. They didn’t have much equity in the original look and feel of their brand but did have equity in their brand messaging. We did a complete upgrade to their visual look and feel to be more bright and inviting. This matched their brand personality and business as a whole.
Development Group, Inc. (DGI), an education technology company, needed a complete rebrand from head to toe. They needed new messaging, a new look and feel, a new logo, and everything else in between. Below is the logo I created for them to fulfill the needs of their future goals. As you can see, this let go of their past visuals completely.
All of the logos I created above went through a serious change in branding regardless if it was a refresh or a rebrand. Now, you may be wondering, “When is a good time to refresh or rebrand?” Well, I am glad you asked! Because if you visit UptownStudios.net and go to our contact page, I would love to sit down with you and discuss what your brand might need in-depth. I could write an entirely new blog post about when to choose a refresh over a rebrand, and why; but I can tailor the answer to you and your business if you reach out.
I hope this was informative and answered any questions you had on botox vs facelifts… I mean, full-service branding refreshes vs rebrands. Thanks for reading. 😁