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Refresh? Rebrand? How? When?

Part 1 of 2

We’ve all come across the rebrand of one of our favourite brands at some point in our lives as consumers and users (I hate that word). Some of us have even shared our opinions on social media in a ranting critique and after a while realised that we were a bit harsh with our first impressions and have grown to identify better with the new branding.

I’ve certainly felt this way and I’m feeling it again now about the new Liqui-Fruit packaging even though I understand the strategic incentive for the change, “The revamped packaging aims to enhance shelf stand-out, highlight the freshness of real fruit ingredients and provide better differentiation between flavours. This is while maintaining its distinctive assets.”- Media Update 10 July 2023 Sometimes, it’s the initial shock of the change that causes the negative reactions and then we just ease into the ‘new look’ and sometimes not. This is the trick with rebranding.

To put us all on the same page, let me define the difference between a REBRAND and a REFRESH.

Rebranding is usually the complete overhaul of the brand’s identity with updated logos, taglines, typography, colour palettes, icons, imagery, and all visual assets.

Refreshing is a lighter update of the brand logo, typography, voice, tone, and overall style.

The goal for both forms part of the overall marketing strategy and the reasons behind the need for change can vary based on the objectives of the business.

Rebranding a business is a big decision and should you consider a rebrand or refresh of your business/brand identity, my advice is to choose a senior freelance consultant/team with experience who can offer you expertise and most valuable advice throughout the process.

If any of these points seem relevant to your business, it may be time to consider a rebrand or even just a refresh… have a squizz:

Strategic Shift: When your business undergoes a fundamental change in its mission, values, products, or target audience, a rebrand may be necessary to reflect these shifts accurately. A good example of this, in SA, was the FNB rebrand where the strategy was to transition towards and be recognised as a brand that extends beyond “just banking”.

Outdated Image: If your brand’s visual identity, messaging, or logo feels like it’s a bit tired and no longer resonates with your target audience, it might be time for a dynamic refresh. One of SA’s best-loved brands did just this without losing its brand equity when it launched some beautiful, relevant and refreshed packaging in 2016. In my opinion, Ouma Rusks hit the mark with this change.

Mergers and Acquisitions: When your company merges with or acquires another business, rebranding can help create a unified and cohesive identity for the newly combined entity. An example of this is a recent one that we can see populating the SA landscape is that of Caltex to Astron. “The name change and rebrand follows the 2018 change of ownership of Astron Energy and its exit from the Chevron group of companies. Since then, Astron Energy has been operating the Caltex brand under a licence agreement. The new corporate brand identity now sees all operations consolidated under a single, unifying brand.” – General Manager for Marketing, Cambridge Mokanyane

Negative Associations: If your brand has experienced a significant crisis, controversy, or negative public perception, rebranding can be a way to distance yourself from those issues and rebuild trust. Remember when SA suffered the listeriosis outbreak that was traced back to Polony manufactured by another one of the country’s favourite brands Enterprise? To save the brand’s reputation after that nasty incident it had to rebrand to ‘restore consumer confidence.’

Expansion into New Markets: When expanding into new geographic regions or markets with different cultural nuances, a rebrand can help ensure your message is culturally relevant and appealing. MTN did this with their branding with the core idea of, “…making connectivity more accessible and affordable to millions of people in Africa.”

Legal Issues: If your current brand name or logo faces trademark disputes or legal challenges, rebranding may be necessary to avoid legal complications. There was a recent case of this sort of infringement when iCollege took on Xpertease for the use of the word ‘iCollege’. It turned out to be a bit messy, which is reason enough to avoid any battles of this sort.

In Part 2 of this article, I will cover a few more reasons that may justify a brand refresh or total overhaul – seeking the guidance of branding experts or consultants can be invaluable in navigating the complexities of a rebranding initiative.

*VISUAL 8 PROMOTION* I have an offering that will provide you with a framework to ensure that your brand stays on track and that you have a clearer understanding of where you want to go with it, have a look…

If you are a solopreneur, entrepreneur or owner of a retail or corporate business and would like to know more about how you can leverage your brand’s potential, get in touch with me. I am able to offer retainers for clients who have a need for ongoing design, branding or advertising requirements at accessible pricing with payment terms suitable to your budget.

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