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5 Ways to Do a Brand Refresh and Why You Should

Your consumers change over time, and your brand should evolve along with them.

A complete rebranding, however, isn’t necessary to stay up-to-date and relevant with your target audience.

Instead, your e-commerce brand may simply need a refresh.

Stephen Peate, Creative Director who’s worked with the likes of HBO and Volvo, explains the difference between the two:

“While a brand refresh is like giving your company a fresh lick of paint, a new look, and a fancy new logo, ‘rebranding,’ is all about tearing down everything you’ve built, and starting again from scratch. In other words, one is far more dramatic than the other.”

This means, there’s a lot less work when doing a brand refresh, while still presenting a fresh face to your customers. Use these ideas as a starting point to decide which area of your brand needs an update and how to make it happen.


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Branding is critical for any business, especially in the crowded e-commerce space, where you likely compete with many retailers selling similar products.

Your logo is one of the first impressions a potential customer has of your brand, explains Elizabeth Smithson, with Branding Mag. She says:

“The logo is the most important element of branding, especially where [recognition] is concerned, as it is essentially the face of the company. This is why a professional logo design should be powerful and easily memorable, making an impression on a person at first glance.”

This makes your logo a great area of focus for a brand refresh.


Refresh Your Social Media Imagery

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Image source: Coke Cola

You’re connecting with hundreds and thousands of potential customers on social media every day. Keeping your presence fresh and active is critical to making the most of this opportunity.

During your brand refresh, consider how you can update your social media imagery to be both trendy, and attractive to your ideal customer, while staying on brand.

Dustin Hodgson, lead designer for MyCreativeShop, suggests creating visual brand guidelines—if you don’t have them already.

A set of guidelines act as a map for your refresh, while keeping you on brand as you grow.

Hodgson says your visual brand guidelines should include:

  • Color palette

  • Fonts

  • Formatting and layout

  • Logo

Visual appeal is especially important for e-commerce brands, who are trying to sell both a lifestyle or experience, along with their products.

Keep your guidelines in mind as you create new graphics for sites like Pinterest and Instagram, and while shooting product photos, to ensure your imagery speaks to your brand powerfully and effectively.


Refurbish Your Website

While doing a complete redesign is sometimes necessary as you see in the example below from Toyota, it is quite often not needed!

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Image source: midascreative

Instead of spending the time and money on a total rebranding, focus on a brand refresh—which is often less intensive and allows for a quick update without the costs.

Consider small changes you can make that reflect current customer needs and wants. For example, small tweaks to to the checkout process or adding new features for viewing products.

A few ideas for updating your website:

  • Displays and features: Update images for your most popular products; better yet, add videos that provides a 360-degree view of the item.

  • Optimize the checkout: Are there ways you can reduce the number of steps in your checkout process? A/B test changes on this page as part of your refresh process.

  • Boost site speed: Not only is this important for SEO, but it’s critical for shoppers. If your site is slow, they’ll go somewhere else.

  • Play with new discount tactics: Perhaps a part of your brand refresh is a new way of offering discounts to shoppers; based on cart size or number of times the customer has shopped with you.

  • Install chatbots: Consumers are demanding more attention. Show that your new brand refresh is all about what they need by installing and testing chat bots.


Re-Think Your Messaging

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Image source: SEJ

Your messaging is how you connect with your audience.

What you say and how you say it dictates whether they feel an emotional attachment to your brand.

This, in turn, dictates whether they become loyal customers. In fact, more often than not, purchasing decisions are made based on emotions.

“It’s been studied again and again; fMRI tests have shown that when subjects evaluate products or brands, their limbic systems (where our feelings, memory, and value judgments originate) light up, while the data processing and analysis centers of their brains are left largely unstimulated. In other words, most of the purchase decisions people make are emotional, not practical,” explains Dan Baum, marketing and media specialist for Impact.

Imagery is important, but what you say, and how that connects with your target audience, is key to driving an emotional connection that encourages them to buy.

As you look to refresh your messaging, use the following guidelines to understand how your target audience ticks.

  • Go past purchasing habits; What do they care about? What do they like talking about? What makes them happy and mad?

  • What tone of voice will most appeal to this target audience? Sarcastic and sassy or serious and educational?

  • What is their greatest challenge? How can your messaging convey that you understand that challenge?

This messaging will then play out in social media posts, blog posts, marketing campaigns, and website copy—anywhere you’re talking to potential customers.


Refine and Reframe Your Products

If you’ve experienced a period of extensive growth, you may have “outgrown” your initial product category.

Some e-commerce brands branch out to new product lines, but at some point, it’s important to come back to what those products are and how they all fit under one brand.

Tracy Lloyd, with Emotive Brand, calls this “Category Reframing” and explains:

“Your brand needs to fit into the framework of a brand category that people understand and relate to in order to really ‘get’ your brand … Choosing the right category or defining a new one is critical to positioning your brand in a way that frames your value and makes it relevant to your customers.”

This process brings clarity for your brand and your customers, which “helps clarify and shape the perceptions, feelings, and attitudes about your brand,” says Lloyd.

If you’ve grown a lot in recent years, this should be an area of focus for your refresh, above all else. If there’s confusion about who you are and what you sell, the rest will fall flat.

About the Author

Jessica Thiefels is founder and CEO of Jessica Thiefels Consulting, an organic content marketing agency for mid-size B2B businesses outsourcing content marketing. She’s been writing for more than 10 years and has been featured in top publications like Forbes, Entrepreneur and Fast Company. She also regularly contributes to Virgin, Business Insider, Glassdoor, Score.org and more. Follow her on Twitter @JThiefels and connect on LinkedIn.