When should you rebrand or simply refresh? Same, same, or different?


More than cute words, let’s explore the method behind each to avoid the branding madness.

Looking from the outside in, it’s easy enough to get confused when these two terms come hand in hand. More than ever these days, you’ll see companies evolving, changing, and adapting to the current market. But are they rebranding, or just refreshing? And if you’re looking to meet the market, what should you do?

Though the two terms seem like close cousins, when you get down to the nitty gritty, the differences are like chalk and cheese. While a brand refresh is like giving your company a fresh coat of paint, a new look, and a remodeled logo, “rebranding” is more of a demolition job, knocking down most of what you’ve built, and starting again from scratch.

Breaking it down

Often interchanged, wrongly we might add, the two terms need a line in the proverbial sand. One that helps you understand what you’re in for, and how it’s going to impact your business.

To lay it out for you, a brand refresh might include:

  • Tweaking your current design or logo.
  • Updating your slogan.
  • Changing your colour palette.
  • Refreshing marketing materials.
  • Using a new font.

A rebrand is more likely to look like:

  • Creating a new personality.
  • Designing a new background for your company.
  • Establishing yourself within a different market.
  • Overhauling your entire image.

A fresh face of make up

In the world of branding, a refresh is more like a tactical move. Think of it like a software update on your phone. A brand refresh will help your brand stay relevant and revitalised—but still recognisable to your audience. Remember, a brand isn’t just a logo, tagline, font and packaging. It’s how the world sees and recognises your brand.

The extent of the refresh process will depend on how much you need to change your image. The idea is to have a distinct impact on the way your company feels, sounds, and looks to your customer. That might mean changing:

A rebrand is more likely to look like:

  • Your brand voice.
  • Your visual branding.
  • Your customer service/ product offerings.

As businesses grow and change, it’s important for their brands to reflect the current marketplace to keep that competitive edge razor sharp. For all you visual people, there’s nothing like a good example to show you what we’re banging on about.


One of these is the Burger King refresh of 2021. They didn’t sacrifice personality or warmth in the process. The 1970s-inspired color palette, which includes mustard yellow, ketchup red and burnt orange, evokes the menu and flame. While the logo is still recognisably “Burger King,” the nostalgic brand refresh helps Burger King stand out in a sea of sleek, sans serif fast food branding. It embraces the old while innovating the branding for the digital age.

Ultimately, a brand refresh not only tells your audience that you’re modern and relevant, it also shows that you’re connected to your industry. Because who wants to do business with a company that seems like they’re stuck in the past.

When is it time for a brand refresh strategy? Some hard truths.

Most of the time, companies prefer to go for a simple brand refresh, rather than a complete rebrand. A good brand refresh strategy has less risk than a total overhaul, and can still get you some ‘bang for your buck’ results.

So, when is the right time to give your brand a gentle nudge?

The simple answer, is that if you’re facing one of the scenarios below, you might need a brand intervention:

  • You’re outdated
  • You’ve changed
  • You’re inconsistent
  • Your audience has changed
  • You’re growing

Rebranding, the break-up strategy. It’s not you, it’s me.

By this point, if we’ve done our job right, you should have a pretty good idea of what a brand refresh is. Now it’s time to focus on when you might ‘bet the house’ and go all-in for a full rebrand. Typically, the goal of rebranding is to influence and change a customer’s entire perception about your service or product.

There are plenty of reasons why your brand might want to change its image. You might be looking for a way to appeal to a new market, expand your business scope, or set yourself apart from your competitors.

A rebranding strategy is likely to be right for you when:

  • The competition is growing, so your brand needs to evolve too.
  • The audience is changing.
  • There’s a desire to market new services and products.
  • Old marketing methods aren’t working anymore.
  • The current identity is out-of-date.
  • Industry expectations have changed.

Still unsure if you should be refreshing or rebranding?

We’ll tell you!

We’ve partnered with many other good humans to create epic brands that stick in the hearts and minds of the right people.

Brands that maintain longevity know when it’s time for a change, cutting through the noise of saturated markets and industries.
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