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Rebranding vs Doing a Brand Refresh – What’s the Diff?

Brand Refresh Vs Rebranding
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So, you’re thinking about upleveling your biz and rebranding. But wait… are you actually rebranding? Or are you just giving your business a brand refresh?

You might be getting these terms mixed up (no judgment ? I’d be surprised if you DID know the difference, tbh)

But there is a pretty big difference between the two, and if you’re truly “rebranding” then you’re going to have a lot more to think about than if you were merely ‘brand refreshing’.

So what’s the diff?

What’s a Brand Refresh?

A brand refresh is when you’re primarily just updating the look and feel of your brand and possibly making slight tweaks and adjustments to your brand’s nuts and bolts – ie your brand message, target market, brand personality, brand values, etc.

Why would you want to do a brand refresh?

Well, as I once heard it said: “internet time is like dog years”. The internet moves fast. It’s really quick the amount of time it takes for your website and your brand to look a little out of date.

So a brand refresh just spiffs everything up, and tosses the “old fashioned” feel. Gives it a good spring clean and a new modern shine.

Audiences like to see a brand constantly evolving and up-leveling (and people just get boners for new stuff, generally) – it shows you care about your business and are staying relevant. That newness can result in a boost in interest and sales.

An Example of a Brand Refresh

An example of a brand refresh would be the last website update I did for my business The Love Vitamin. I overhauled the brand’s appearance and updated the logo.

But everything else about the brand remained the same. My brand’s message, audience, and personality didn’t make any u-turns.

The Love Vitamin before the brand refresh
The Love Vitamin before the brand refresh
The Love Vitamin after refresh
The Love Vitamin after refresh

What’s a Rebrand?

If you’re rebranding, it means you’re overhauling the whole works. You’re making major changes to your target audience and ideal client, and/or your brand’s personality, message, values, and tone. You may be changing the name of the business too.

You’re also likely making big changes to the visual part of your brand to signal that things are now different around here.

This is a pretty big deal and you’re likely only going to do this if something major isn’t working for you. Reasons could be:

  • Maybe you don’t feel personally aligned with your business anymore.
  • Maybe you’ve made some mistakes and are trying to escape a bad reputation.
  • Maybe you want to change the public’s out-dated perception of your business.
  • Maybe your audience’s wants and needs have changed over time.

There’s many reasons you might rebrand, but either way, rebranding will always come with some upheaval.

See, it’s inevitable you’ll lose a part of your audience that doesn’t resonate with the new brand, but it’s all necessary growing pains so you can go to new heights. It will just take some time for the new audience to get on board.

An Example of a Rebrand

An example of a major rebrand would be from my client Emma Mumford. Emma had built a hugely successful business in extreme couponing and was known nationally in the UK as “The Coupon Queen”.

But, as humans do, she eventually evolved and realized her true passion was spirituality and that her old business no longer resonated with who she was.

So she rebranded as “The Spiritual Queen”. Pretty big difference, and as you can imagine, had to spend some time rebuilding her audience. But now she’s thriving and doing better than ever.

Emma Before the Rebrand
Emma before the rebrand. Photo from Caters News.
Emma after the rebrand.
Emma after the rebrand (with a bit of brand magic from me).

So moral of the story- rebranding isn’t something you do unless you feel like you have to. So don’t go re-branding without some serious thought put into it.

But brand refreshing? Do it often and plenty 🙂 Dog years, remember.

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Picture of Tracy Raftl - Brand Strategist and Web Designer for Purpose-Driven Women

Hi! I'm Tracy

My team and I do custom, strategic brand & web design for women with purpose. ​Click here to learn more about us!

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