Recently we worked with an amazing client that saw the need to revamp their website, but before they jumped into a website rebuild they felt that it was time for a rebrand. We of course were thrilled to help them, but as we got further into the process we realized that perhaps what they needed wasn’t really a rebrand at all but a logo refresh. In this case, it wasn’t even a full-scale redesign. So when is it appropriate to rebrand and what on earth is a logo refresh? I’m glad you asked.

Rebranding vs Redesigning vs Refreshing

You might think that I’m just getting into semantics here but I promise you I’m not! Each of these terms refers to a very specific outcome and each is needed for very different reasons. Let’s start with rebranding.

What is Rebranding?

A rebrand is a full-scale reimagining of your organization as a whole. We often think of branding as just the logo of an organization but your brand is so much more than that. When we talk about rebranding we’re not only talking about your brand colors or mark. We’re talking about your core values, your audience, your voice, and the things you seek to accomplish! A rebranding starts at the core of who your company is and begins making changes to realign the company with the direction it’s looking to go moving forward.

What is a Redesign?

On the flip side, a logo redesign is probably what you imagine when you talk about rebranding. A logo redesign is just that. It’s taking your current logo and heavily modifying it or even throwing it out altogether in favor of a new updated look. Examples of this kind of logo redesign include the 2018 redesign of the Animal Planet and Mailchimp logos. Redesigns can vary in severity but give the logo a completely new feel in the end.

What is a Logo Refresh?

The least invasive of these processes is the logo refresh. In a logo refresh, you’re more or less taking your existing logo and just doing some small tweaks to bring it up to date, clean it up, or make it fit your needs a little better. A great example of this is the Morton Salt girl. Through the years she has had her various makeovers but has stayed largely consistent over the 100-plus years of her existence.

Questions to Ask When Considering Rebranding?

Rebranding happens to every company if it exists long enough. It can even happen in stages. However, if you’re not thinking about your rebrand strategically then you might end up putting a pretty new coat of paint on an organization that had some deeper identity adjustments to make. If you’re thinking that it’s time to update your logo or change it altogether, make sure you’ve put in the work to determine if a more all-encompassing rebrand is actually what you need! Here are a few questions to ask yourself before you begin making logo changes.

What is the Purpose of My Organization?

When we do a branding project with a new company this is the first question that we always ask and you’d be surprised how many organizations don’t have a clear answer to this question. In our line of work, we do a lot of business with non-profits. This means we work with a lot of amazing people seeking to help people and we love that! However, “to help people” is not a purpose statement. Before you ever touch a logo you need to be able to clearly and concisely answer this question.

What is Your Plan to Achieve Your Purpose?

The next one is equally as important when it comes to your identity. This one is likely a little easier to answer because you know what services and products you’re providing. However, you might list off the things you do and then realize that not all of them align with your purpose. You could even discover that your purpose and your plan don’t actually go hand in hand like you thought they did. If your purpose and your plan don’t align you should work on that before you begin redesigning your logo.

What is the Why Behind the How?

Once you’ve named your purpose and the steps you’re taking to achieve it, you now need to look at the reason behind why you chose those actions to reach your goal. This is very similar to thinking about your purpose but with a little twist. This is probably better explained using Dogwood as an example.

Dogwood’s purpose is to assist organizations in marketing themselves so that they may reach the right people at the perfect time to make the biggest impact. We do that by providing full-scale outsourced marketing services from social media and search engine marketing to website building and videography. If we looked at each of our services and asked why we do that specific service that would help us to determine the why behind the how.

Let’s say that Dogwood thought we wanted to add an in-house printing service to our list of things we do. That might in theory help us reach our purpose of assisting organizations in marketing themselves but what would be the why when there are so many quality printing options already available? And are there better opportunities and uses of our people, time, and money that could help us better achieve our goals?

If you’ve walked through all these questions and feel confident in them all then you can move on to a logo redesign or refresh instead of a full-scale rebrand! If you’re reading this blog and realize that you’re in need of some rebranding help, we would love to help you do that. On the other hand, if you’re realizing that your company is in a pretty good spot and you just need to give your current logo a little upgrade to bring it into 2024 we’d be happy to assist with that as well! Reach out and let’s get the conversation started.

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