Brand Refresh vs Rebrand: Which One Do You Need?

Have you ever felt like your brand needs a makeover? We know the feeling.

In fact, many businesses and organisations out there are looking for ways to update their look, feel and messaging in order to stay relevant with the times. But how do you decide if what you need is a brand refresh or rebrand?

This article will help you answer that question, going over the differences between these two options and offering some key tips so that you can make an informed decision about which one best suits your needs. So let’s dive in!

To refresh, or to rebrand: that is the question

When it comes to updating their brand, many business owners are faced with the difficult decision of whether to refresh or rebrand.

If a business has been around for some time, it may find that its brand identity is not resonating as well with customers and other stakeholders as it once did. Or, perhaps they feel that their current branding is simply not conveying the values, personality, and ethos of their company.

At first glance, a brand refresh may seem like an ideal solution to all of these issues. After all, refreshing your branding is much less expensive and time-consuming than a rebranding exercise.

However, depending on the scope of changes required in order to bring life back into your brand, it may be necessary to make a larger branding investment in order to fully revitalise your organisation’s identity.

If you, like many other business owners, are unsure of the difference between a brand refresh and a rebrand, you’re not alone. So we'll start with some key distinctions.

Learn more: Brand Refresh: What, Why & How To Do One

First things first: what are your goals?

If you already know that you want a complete overhaul of your current brand strategy, including a new visual identity and a fresh brand image to help you reach new customers, a complete rebrand is likely to be better suited to your organizational goals.

Rebranding for growth is a popular goal when it comes to redesigning your brand - and is probably a well-guided motivation for a full rebrand if your existing brand strategy is stagnant or outdated.

On the other hand, a brand refresh strategy is probably better suited for brands that aren't necessarily interested in a new brand identity, but rather a development of their brand story.

A good brand refresh will breathe new life into your old brand identity and can often be just as effective in creating a strong visual presence and improving visibility across different channels.

Therefore, if you're looking to modernise your existing branding but don't want to commit to a complete rebrand, a brand refresh is likely the way forward. However, there are some key distinctions between the two processes to consider before making your final decision.

Rebranding vs brand refresh: what's the difference?

Okay, so you know your goals. But what exactly is the difference between a brand refresh and a rebrand? Here are some of the main differences to consider:

The services they provide

First up, the process of a brand refresh will be different from the full rebranding process. A rebrand will often provide more services related to your visual identity, like a new logo design new logo design, fresh brand guidelines and marketing materials.

Conversely, a refresh will usually offer smaller tweaks to these brand elements, such as refreshing marketing materials, refining your brand positioning and updating your brand messaging to meet market expectations.

The timeline

The timeline for a brand refresh is usually shorter than that of a full-scale rebrand. A brand refresh can easily be completed in 1-2 months, whereas a rebrand could take up to 6 months depending on the complexity and scope of the project.

Of course, it is possible to adapt projects to suit your timeline - for example, you could opt for a shorter rebranding timeline if you don't require as much complexity, but if you need more of a comprehensive approach then it would be wise to allow for a longer timeline.

When you need them

When you need a rebrand:

  • Are your core brand values out of line with the values of your target audience?
  • Is your company's branding outdated in the current market?
  • Is your brand's identity just a logo and providing no competitive edge?

When you need a refresh:

  • Are you looking to keep your core identity and core values but need to find new audiences or enter new markets?
  • Do you have a core brand image that could do with a personal makeover to stay up-to-date and remain relevant?
  • Do you need support to remain recognizable as a constantly evolving brand?
Brand refresh by Huddle Creative

The scope of change

The scope of change between a refresh and a full rebrand will also be different.

A brand refresh may not affect all aspects of the company’s identity, such as its mission statement and core values. A rebrand, on the other hand, may involve a much more comprehensive overhaul of the company’s identity, or even a brand new identity - from its logo to its messaging and even its core values.

The wider implications of the scope of change can reach all aspects of the company and its stakeholders, including your market position, public image and customer experience, so be sure to consider if a full rebrand is the right choice for your organization.

How much they cost

Naturally, a larger rebranding project is likely to incur higher costs than a simple brand refresh. However, the cost may still depend on the complexity and scope of the project.

A brand refresh can range from a few hundred pounds for just a logo, to several thousand, depending on your needs and the services you require. A full rebrand will often start at a few thousand, but again this price is subject to change depending on your requirements.

The outcomes you'll gain

The outcome of a highly successful brand refresh is typically subtle but effective. It can give your brand a lift, helping it stay relevant and recognizable in the current market.

On the other hand, a full rebrand could result in significant changes to how people perceive your company - from its mission statement to its visual identity - and reposition it within its industry and target market.

Ultimately, the decision to opt for a brand refresh or a full rebrand should be based on your company’s specific needs, objectives and budgets - but with the right team and plan in place, either can help you achieve greater success.

Examples of refreshing vs rebranding

Brand refresh example

Take the Future Platforms visual identity refresh, for example. When Future Platforms sought out Huddle's branding experts, they were yearning for a new visual identity.

Despite their strong core values and high-quality products, neither the brand identity nor the website portrayed this well. Consequently, they needed to regain credibility as industry leaders in a vibrant manner.

After unveiling our new brand identity that perfectly encapsulates Future Platforms as it is today - modern and professional. With this, clients couldn't help but express their delight, and we are absolutely thrilled with the response. It's been a win-win situation!

Want results like this? Brief us today!

Rebranding example

Dropbox and Collins: Dropbox rebrand (Copyright © Dropbox, 2017)

One great example of B2B rebranding is Dropbox. In 2017, Dropbox revealed an extensive rebranding developed in partnership with Collins design studio - the most noteworthy alteration of their visual identity in their decade-long run. The company stated:

“We’re a living workspace where people and ideas come together. But while the way people use Dropbox has changed dramatically over the past ten years, our brand hasn’t.

That’s why today we’re excited to tell the story of our brand and unveil a new look for Dropbox. The design reflects our passion: building tools that help teams find focus, stay in their flow, and unleash their creative energy.”

This rebrand shows us how even established brands sometimes need a new direction to stay relevant. In this case, new innovations in design helped to convey their values more accurately and to a wider audience.

So - brand refresh vs rebrand: which one do you need?

At the end of the day, only you can decide which one is right for your business. It all comes down to the existing state of your brand, and how your organisation wishes to portray itself going forward.

If you feel that a few tweaks here and there would suffice in bringing life back into your brand, then a refresh may be the way to go. However, if you feel that your current brand identity is not resonating with your target audience, and requires a more comprehensive overhaul, then a rebrand may be the best option.

It’s important to remember that both options are valid, depending on what works best for you and your organisation – so make sure you take some time to consider all of the options before making a decision.

Next steps

Whatever the outcome, Huddle is here to help. Our branding experts are able to assess your current situation and propose the changes that will revitalise your brand.

With years of experience transforming growing businesses into beautiful brands, we can confidently guide you on the best path to success.

So don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today - we would be more than happy to help you create a strong and lasting identity for your brand.

Brief us today to get started!

Brand refresh vs rebrand: FAQs

What is the difference between refreshing and rebranding?

Refreshing is typically a less intense process, where existing values and ideas are tweaked and re-energised. Rebranding, on the other hand, involves changing the core components of the brand - including identity and strategy - to reach new goals or audiences.

What should I consider when deciding between a refresh and a rebrand?

When making this decision, it’s important to consider the state of your current branding, and how you want to portray yourself going forward. You should also think about your goals, budget and timeline, as well as what message you want to communicate.

Is it possible to refresh my brand without a complete rebrand?

Yes - if you feel that only minor adjustments are needed, then refreshing may be the option for you. This could include updating logos or changing colour palettes, which can help to revitalise your existing brand.