areandbe • Jan 22 • 7 minutes

Refresh, reposition, or rebuild? Help customers fall in love again

What will 2022 bring?

This month’s Google searches reveal apprehensions and uncertainty around the new year. 

Some driven by positive potential; ‘Will 2022 be a good year?’

Others fuelled by pessimism and fear; ‘Will 2022 be the worst year?’ 

Unfortunately, we don’t have the answers either. One thing we know for sure is that with all the New Year’s resolutions whizzing out into the atmosphere, there’s no denying that each New Year, sets the stage for adaptation. 

And this time of change isn’t just limited to personal changes. 

It has made many business owners stop and ask, “Is my brand fit for purpose?”. 

It’s an easy enough question to ask, but truly tough to answer. The answer, however, can be found by conducting a brand audit.  

So, what does a brand audit mean?

Aside from helping you stay on brand and maintain engagement, a brand audit helps diagnose issues to find new opportunities to improve. Opportunities that eventually pave the way for the future of your brand.

Ultimately, a brand audit is about making things work from the inside out.

A quick Google search reveals countless helpful toolkits that can help you audit your brand. Some titles suggest “Ten things to do in your brand’s audit’, or “How to conduct a brand audit”. Although helpful, these generalised approaches do not ensure your branding efforts pay off. 

The reason?

These tips never address the various stages of a company’s progress. Or how these stages affect the discovery of whether a brand is fit for purpose or not.  

Contrary to what some toolkits suggest, auditing your brand doesn’t need to be an all-encompassing approach or a laborious endeavour. 

Sometimes progress is best achieved by opting for a more concentrated method. In this post, we’ll examine three rebranding directions you can take when auditing your brand. 

Brand Refresh

A brand refresh is a tactical sprucing up of your brand’s assets.

If you’re wondering whether your brand needs a refresh, or not ask:

Does my branding still fit my vision? Does it feel visually tired or outdated? 

If your branding appears antiquated, a change in colour palette, font, or logo can help reinvigorate your brand, in addition to alterations to your current design. 

Ask: Is my brand looking, or feeling, cohesive to people? 

This can sometimes occur when the visual and verbal elements are no longer in harmony and as a result, what you are saying doesn’t fit your intended tone of voice. This can be remedied by updating your messaging and refreshing your marketing materials. 

The Burger King brand refresh – a rebrand fit for modern fast-food

An effective example of a brand refresh is the Burger King 2021 rebrand. As part of its first global rebrand in two decades, the fast-food chain revealed a new logo, packaging, and uniforms all designed by creative agency, Jones Knowles Ritchie. Ditching the previous 1999 logo, for a flatter design reminiscent of the brand’s visual appearance throughout the 1970s and 80s. 

Image by Jones Knowles Richie

“We set out to make the brand feel less synthetic and artificial, and more real, crave-able and tasty. We were inspired by the brand’s original logo and how it has grown to have an iconic place in culture.” – Jones Knowles Ritchie

With this updated identity, Burger King remains true to its core brand whilst still updating its visual and verbal assets. In a brand refresh, the “why” behind the brand remains the same, but it is now bolstered by improved assets, visual and verbal identity and ideas. 

Brand Reposition

Brand repositioning is about shifting how customers or partners view your company.

Ask: Is my brand differentiated from competitors? 

If you’re not sure, it’s vital to revisit why you exist, who you exist for, and the mode you will use to communicate what makes you different from competitors. 

If you are considering repositioning your brand, ask yourself: 

Am I currently accommodating my aspirations or future growth? 

If you’re expanding your market, adding a new product, moving to different territories, or moving out of your sector, it is essential to revisit your brand architecture and adapt your brand to different markets. Auditing your current social media strategy and cross-referencing with sales, reveals opportunities to reach larger, more targeted audiences which drive engagement and increase sales.

AA repositioning – from a breakdown to emergency service

An example of expert brand repositioning can be found in the rebranding of AA. In 1993 advertising agency HHCL was tasked with making AA stand out in the saturated market of breakdown rescue. Instead of making obvious tweaks to identity that could have been made to distinguish AA from category conventions, i.e., a bolder colour palette, a more empathetic tone of voice, or a different logo, HHCL decided to break away from the category altogether. 

They repositioned AA as a fourth emergency service, along with the likes of, police, fire, and ambulance services. 

How did they justify their repositioning? 

A car breakdown is an emergency. It can gridlock traffic for hours, cause accidents, and leave people vulnerable standing roadside. As an emergency service, the AA is repositioned as a lifeline to those who are stranded with mechanical problems.

The repositioning of a brand focuses on expertly formed brand strategy and considers the customer and employee associations attached to a brand. 

Brand Rebuild

A brand rebuild is exactly how it sounds – reconstruction from the foundations up. It’s the entire branding process, with all the bells and whistles. 

Has your business moved from offline to online? 

If you’ve moved from a physical environment to a digital one, that requires a great deal of strategic involvement and planning, to ensure you understand the market and how your product fits within it. 

Are you working within a different sector? 

This could mean overhauling your marketing funnel and materials and reviewing your brand’s touchpoints. 

Co-op – a business-saving rebuild

In 2013, the Co-operative bank faced its biggest financial loss in history. As a result the brand’s reputation was tarnished and needed to be renewed. It was clear that Co-op needed a rebrand to change the public perception or else face company collapse.

The rebrand by North delved deep into the Co-op’s history, finding the 1968 clover logo as a true reflection of their original values and a better way to express themselves.

Image by Co-op 

This renewed identity appealed not only to young consumers, for its modern and fresh approach, but also to an older audience who evoked nostalgia and a deeper connection to the brand.

The rebrand was a success all around. In 2017, the Co-op group returned to profit and members received £61m in rewards, with £13m going to community projects.

As in the case of the Co-Op, sometimes a rebuild can include scaling back to the roots of a company. Examining the original values and working on restructuring the elements to match the original purpose and vision. Ultimately, a brand rebuild is about reviewing everything previously mentioned (assets and positioning), in addition to making fundamental and strategic changes. 

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading this post and that it has provided a helpful and motivational start to 2022!

Despite our outline of three different approaches, it is so important to note that these approaches are not exclusive to each other. We have created them to give you something to measure against your brand, and to illustrate that the branding process can be incremental and iterative. 

Whilst you can perform some of the tasks of a brand-audit in-house, it’s always better to get some assistance from a brand agency that knows what they’re doing. 

Need any help growing your brand? Our strategic design agency has a few options for you:

If you’re interested in getting monthly branding insights and practical tips all in one easily accessible place, then check out our Be The Brand email series.

If you are looking to elevate your brand, our brand design agency has created and curated a free Brand Plan mini-course.  

Or if you need any more help with the future of your brand, chat with us personally and book a free Brand Discovery Call.