The Importance of branding and when it might be time for a refresh.


How strong is your branding game? Does it reflect your core values, differentiate you from your competitors and deepen your connection to your target audience?

If you’re hinging it all on your logo then it’s fair to say you’re not crystal clear on how you want your brand to be perceived. This makes it harder to get buy-in from customers, especially since 64% of consumers stick with brands that share their values.

Let’s delve into the importance of branding, the key elements that make a brand successful, and how to know if a brand refresh is needed.

What is branding?

There’s a misconception that branding is all about your logo or your website. While these elements are important, branding goes way beyond that. Here’s an easy way to break it down:

  1. Your brand is your company’s DNA and defines who you are as a business.

  2. Your branding is about how recognisable and trustworthy your business is, and how it is perceived by your customers, not how it is perceived by you. It’s about evoking emotions and feelings associated with your brand through brand strategy and personas.

  3. Your brand identity is all about the visual elements that trigger those emotions. This includes logos, colour and  font choices, websites, taglines and marketing collateral.

Anatomy of a Brand

Let’s take IKEA as an example. The first thing that springs to mind is probably the distinctive blue and yellow logo. Or the catchy slogan for its latest ad campaign voiced in that distinctive Scandinavian accent. These are the visual aspects of its brand identity.

Its branding encompasses how people feel about their reputation and its messaging. We associate the brand with simplicity, affordability, and a clean Scandi-style aesthetic that appeals to a wide consumer base, from college students to families and young professionals.

Ikea doesn’t pretend to be anything it’s not because its branding is clear, consistent and transparent.

That’s the goal of branding, to attract customers who align with your mission, story and core values.


Reasons for a brand refresh

We’ve seen some high-profile brand updates in recent years. From Johnson & Johnson’s updated logo, signalling its move away from consumer healthcare products, to Irish semi-state Bord na Móna’s transformation into a climate solutions company. Both companies’ new branding aims to reinforce their commitment to traditional values while demonstrating that they’re at the forefront of progress.

Within the wider branding landscape, the drive to refresh and modernise brands has seen the rise of minimalist design trends, characterised by simplicity and clean lines. However, this can have an undesirable effect when too many brands have similar-looking logos that lack differentiation. Brands need to strike a balance between minimalism and uniqueness, to ensure that their visual identity stands out in a crowded marketplace.

Fashion brands losing standout

As brands evolve and adapt to changing market dynamics and consumer preferences, brand updates are crucial to keep customer perceptions aligned with your brand promise and differentiators.

These are just some of the factors that could indicate if it’s the right time for a brand refresh:

  1. Brand differentiation – identifying your USP and refining your brand story is an essential part of your brand strategy. It helps you carve out your unique position in the marketplace and makes you stand out from competitors. 
  2. Attract new audiences – a brand refresh can help you expand into new markets and appeal to new customer segments and demographics. 
  3. Unify brand messaging – consistency in design and messaging can help attract the right customers and increase engagement with existing customers and employees across all channels. 
  4. Business growth – expanding into new markets or industries can be a great time to highlight your unique value and maintain consistency with your new direction.
  5. Modernisation – modernising outdated branding and optimising your digital presence can influence your brand perception and improve online visibility.
  6. Leadership changes – internal changes or mergers and acquisitions can be a good opportunity to reinvigorate your brand and share your company’s new vision.


What’s involved in a brand refresh 

Whatever changes your brand is trying to reflect, you want to maintain the special connection and shared values you’ve built with customers.

This is a quick overview of the steps we take to refresh our clients’ brands from concept to market. 

1. Discovery Session 

We start with an audit of your company brand which includes customer personas, competitor & target market analysis right through to SWOT and tone of voice. This forms the foundation for your brand DNA book which includes brand positioning, brand values, mission, purpose, tone of voice, and messaging.


2. Brand Identity 

This is the visual look and feel that tells your brand story and resonates with your audience. It includes the logo, fonts, colours & visual language that breathes new life into your brand.


TFI Marine, Brand Guidelines

3. Brand Application 

This is about making sure your brand experience is consistent across all channels, from tangible print assets to ever-digital platforms.

POCO Beauty, Brand Application

4. Brand Marketing 

This is about communicating your brand’s story to your audience by using all the carefully crafted assets above to build an authentic, memorable brand.

Cyber Cert Labs, Brand Marketing

Keeping your brand fresh 

Keeping your brand fresh and impactful is an ongoing journey. It starts with an understanding of what your brand means, how you want it to be perceived and being consistent with the brand story you want to be told. 

This doesn’t necessarily mean a complete overhaul of your brand’s core values and identity. It’s about identifying the key changes that allow you to hit your goals. Then aligning those changes with the shared values and loyalty your customers resonate with.

Got any niggling questions about your existing brand? Drop us a line, we’re always happy to help.