Brand Refresh

7 Key Elements for a Successful Brand Refresh When Your Market is Changing Dynamically

A brand refresh can seem like the right way to respond when market changes hit your brand adversely. Or you may proactively opt for a brand refresh because you can feel the ground starting to move beneath your feet.

The question is though, how do you know whether a brand refresh is the best way forward? If a brand refresh does seem like a good idea, how can you ensure your business gets a return on its investment? A brand refresh ought to deliver more profit, higher revenue and market share growth, coupled with increased brand IP asset value – but do you know that you will get that outcome?

Here we share some essential elements you ought to consider because they have been proven to ensure brand refreshes succeed. Along the way, it is also useful to note some costly mistakes to avoid.

Related: Rebrand or Refresh? That is the Question 

1. A Brand Refresh Should Evaluate the Drivers Influencing Market Change

Before you set out on a brand refresh, it is important to re-evaluate your brand’s market. Sometimes there is widespread market change and it can be easy to get caught up in it. But if it isn’t directly relevant for your brand, then refreshing your brand in response to it could be a costly mistake. 

For example, the digital age has changed many markets, but some – such as mail order catalogues focused on older or lower-income customers – have not changed. Instead of focussing purely on broad market trends, you need to focus on trends as they affect your brand’s specific market. That will be different for different brands even in the same market.

Markets in rapid and dynamic transition often continue to change. So instead of focusing merely on the obvious short term changes, try to understand the drivers behind longer-term disruption and emergent trends. 

Then reassess what that might mean for the market. Don’t just assess the implications of the current change: also consider the medium to long-term. A successful brand needs to have long-term relevance. That is engineered into your brand strategy with foresight, it doesn’t happen by accident.

Brand Refresh

Image via © Saba

An example is the brand Saba in Dublin, a multi-award winning Thai & Vietnamese restaurant [1]. In the last six to nine months Saba has built an outside dining area ‘Saba Secret Garden’, scaled up its premium take home menu, developed a range of gourmet hampers, is selling gourmet food gift vouchers as well as its core gift vouchers, and become a purveyor a speciality Irish Food offering from its restaurants. Clearly the brand refresh reflects a lot of converging trends operating at synchronically. 

brand refresh

Brand Refresh

Image via © Saba

Saba’s nimble-footed response meant that in the Just Eat National Takeaway Awards, the brand was voted Best Takeaway Thai, Best Takeaway Curry, Best Takeaway Spice Bag, Best Takeaway Healthy, Best Takeaway Dublin, and overall Best Takeaway in Ireland to add to its very impressive collection of more than fifty other awards won every year since its establishment in 2006. This is a living evidence of the fact that only a well-constructed brand with a strong underlying brand strategy can respond successfully to so many market trends in tandem — and whilst operating in probably the most challenging trading conditions of its history.

Related: 7 Key Branding Trends in 2020 to Grow Your Business

We know that sometimes it’s a struggle to build a brand strategy that really engages your ideal customers effectively, particularly in adversity, so we’ve developed three different ways of working with us to help you build your brand, depending on your preferences, so if you’d like us to:

  1. Build your brand for you – find out more here or get in touch [email protected] or ring +353 1 8322724
  2. Empower you to build your brand – check out the Persona Brand Building Blueprint™ Mastermind here. This is a live, interactive programme online  where you work on your brand with us codifying and mapping out your brand strategy for business growth. Alternatively, join our online half-day Branding Accelerator Masterclass for a fast-injection of brand-building essentials. Ask about our Personal and Corporate Leadership Brand Alignment Masterclass
  3. Want a DIY solution? check out our how to build a brand eprogramme here and our how to audit your brand yourself eprogramme here

Persona Unstoppable In Uncertainty Masterclass

brand strategy“For anyone who has a well-established business, I would totally recommend working with Persona Design because it will provide them with a new perspective on how to think of their brand. You see in different markets and industries that are overly competitive what makes the difference is knowing what exactly your business is all about and why people would choose you instead of any other competitor.

What makes you different from all the other service or product providers in the market because that’s what’s going to make your business be the No.1 choice in the range of those specific products or services that you’re providing. Also, that’s what’s going to make your brand stand out and have a long-lasting life and thrive in the context of where you’re operating and delivering value. So totally go for it!

This framework provides you with a lot of insight and more than that, with a systematic process that’s easy for you to understand, easy for you to grasp, easy for you to work with so you finally nail what makes you different in your business, and what you are about and what those key points are that resonate with your audience.”

Camelia Păduraru


Crafting Minds

Camelia Păduraru

2. Never Do a Half-Hearted Brand Refresh

Brands often have less impact on customers than the brand owners may think. As a brand owner, you spend hours each day working with your brands, so they loom large in your consciousness. But the brutal truth is that for customers, your brand may only be one of hundreds they encounter in a day. They may not give your brand the time or mind space you hope when they think about it.

That means that for a brand to engender loyalty, it should be clear, consistent and relevant. That comes from a brand strategy, which covers all the key elements of the brand such as your key differentiators, value proposition, product hierarchy structures, brand archetype, brand personality and reasons to exist and buy. Taken together, this is the bigger purpose driving purchase.

Brand Audit Process

© Persona Design

The risk of tweaking a brand tactically in response to market changes is that it can drastically undermine years of work with a good brand strategy. Ensure that if you consider engaging in a brand refresh, you do it properly. That means doing your due diligence. It makes sense to leverage a brand audit health check. That way, you can identify strengths, weaknesses and opportunities for innovation and growth. Not every part of your brand strategy will change. But you do need to consider it all carefully, so you make informed decisions with a solid rationale rather than just jumping into a brand refresh blind.

brand refresh

Image via CNN © intel

A case study is the recent refresh of the Intel brand. While its audio branding is iconic and “Intel inside” has been a remarkably successful tagline, it has also been limiting. Intel was keen to demonstrate the relevance it has beyond the inside of computers, by showcasing the impact it has on real world B2B operations as well as consumer products. 

Brand Audit Consultation

Book Your Brand Audit Consult with Lorraine Carter here

The brand refresh was based on detailed brand research in five different countries, including both B2B and B2C consumers as well as company employees. This lengthy, deep process led to a substantial brand overhaul. But the new tagline “Do Something Wonderful” was inspired by a quotation from the company’s co-founder. Intel’s brand refresh evolved its brand but with something akin to its original brand vision still at its core.

Related: Brand Revitalisation, 6 Vital Signs For Evaluating If It’s Time to Revitalise Your Brand

brand strategy

“We participated in the Persona 7-Figure Business Building & Brand Strategy Mastermind 12-week online course. The 12-week program suited us as the weekly accountability spurred us on to get work done between sessions.

We found the flow of the course appropriate for the development of the brand through the various areas of the business. Already, we have developed our Customers Personas and our Brand Persona adding value to the business.

The course has helped us make more astute decisions in the business such as restructuring our product offerings so we grow more profitable lines and remove those with lower margins.

Lorraine is very helpful and accessible as a tutor with follow up after each working session and the half day masterclass. Most of all the clarity achieved has been most invaluable.

In the first two weeks of March 2020, before Covid-19 required us to close, we were 300% up in our online sales compared to the whole of March 2019 and after reopening April 2020 we were back to 108% by the end of May 2020 — results achieved from applying our brand strategy.”

Sinead Heffernan

Managing Director

Thunders Bakery

Sinead Heffernan

3. A Successful Brand Refresh Needs Clarity about Brand Purpose, Brand Vision, Positioning, Brand Mission, Brand Values and Value Proposition

You may redecorate your house, extend it, or knock parts of it down. But whatever changes you make, the foundations remain constant. A brand is the same – some parts of its DNA are constant. So, before embarking on a brand refresh, you need to understand what is up for grabs and what needs to stay constant.

branding strategy

© Persona Design

Brand purpose, brand mission and brand values provide continuity across different expressions of the brand and different time periods. Ensuring they are strong is a good place from which to start considering any brand refresh.

brand refresh

Image via © Anti-Slavery International

A case study which illustrates this is the evolution of Anti-Slavery International from an anti-slavery charity to an international NGO involved in slavery but also forced labour, trafficking and other contemporary examples of people being forced to work against their will. While the branding is very contemporary, it resonates in part because of the enduring power of its 180-year-old brand purpose and brand vision.

Related: Top 5 Reasons Why Brand Purpose is The Essential Growth Driver in a Fast Changing World

“An exceptionally talented individual. Lorraine Carter, Persona Branding and Design has a wonderful ability to ‘horizon scan’ for any business and then bring them on a journey that delivers value to their Balance Sheet.”

Dave Feenan


Technology Ireland & ICT Skillnet

Dave Feenan

4. A Brand Refresh Works Best when it Works for Stakeholders Too

When you renovate your house, it affects your neighbours as well as yourself. In the same way, a brand refresh will often have implications for other parties. That can include your suppliers, distribution channels and customers.  So for a brand refresh to work well, it will also need to fit with their needs.

Rather than being seen as a hassle, this is potentially a great opportunity to co-opt these stakeholders into helping build the best possible thinking for a brand refresh. That will make the brand refresh more likely to succeed as it reflects more people’s views. It will also engage these parties and give them more buy in as brand partners. This is especially obvious in franchised businesses

brand refresh

Image via FT

A case study is home accommodation brand AirBnB. When they did their brand refresh, they realised that it was critical to engage stakeholders such as guests and homeowners, without which the brand wouldn’t be able to function. Their brand refresh was successful in part because the company genuinely engaged with these stakeholders in deciding how best to evolve its brand.

Related: The Age Of Internal Branding And Selling It From The Inside Out

Are you a business leader, manager, or entrepreneur who wants to re-evaluate or build your brand strategy so you can decide whether a brand refresh is the right way to increase your sales? Are you curious about how to build or scale a highly successful standout brand? Join one of our branding masterclasses because they empower you to build your brand, enhance customer experience, expand your market impact and create higher perceived value so you can command a premium.

In fact, the Persona Brand Building Blueprint™ Mastermind is all about fast-tracking you, your brand and your business through the brand building, agile branding strategy process using professional big-brand know-how with proven systems that get results so you can grow your business faster and more effectively.

The programme enables you to make your brand highly visible, different, credible, trustworthy, memorable and much loved amongst your ideal customers so you can become more profitable and leave your competitors way behind. Be The One — your ideal customers’ favourite brand of preferred choice commanding a premium.

If you want a tailor-made solution specifically for your brand then we also provide in-house bespoke Persona Brand Building Blueprint™ Intensives working with you and your team so you can grow your business faster and more profitably. Contact us to discover more [email protected] or +353 1 8322724

“I really appreciate Lorraine’s energy and passion. Although good branding includes so many facets, Lorraine is able to simplify the process and make it so much more tangible for any company to put into practice.”

Lisa Kettman-Kervinen

Marketing Communication Specialist

The Switch

Lisa Kettman-Kervinen

5. Take Time Before a Brand Refresh to Get it Right

Market change can make the need urgent, but nonetheless, a brand refresh is a project with long-term implications. You may only have one chance to do it right. So, it’s important to take the time you need to get the right brand strategy and brand refresh plan.

That doesn’t mean that you should allow an elusive hunt for perfection to bog you down unrealistically. Instead, it can mean taking time to share the brand refresh options for reaction. Building your thinking and strategy with interested parties, such as employees and distributors, offers deeper, richer insights almost always and is time well spent. Taking time can also mean allowing enough planning and execution time to ensure that the brand refresh is smoothly, consistently executed. 

brand refresh

Image via The Times

As an example, when the insurance brand Hiscox did a brand refresh, refocusing from B2B to B2C, it was a big shift in target market for the brand. The purchaser personas of large-scale professional users are very different to those of retail consumers. Hiscox needed to make sure it understood this new market and made the most of its reputation as a strong reason to believe the brand credibility, while also adapting the optimal tone of voice for its newer B2C market in its brand communications.

Related:  Branding, Creativity without Strategic Rigour is a Waste of Budget

“Lorraine’s depth of knowledge in branding is immense. I have attended some of her courses and also see first hand the benefits Persona Branding & Design can bring to a business. I am always happy to recommend Lorraine.”

Ruaidhri Prendergast

Co-Founder, Author

Pinpoint Local

Ruaidhri Prendergast

6. A Brand Refresh Should Consider Every Part of Your Brand Experience

Any brand typically exists across a variety of touchpoints. For example, websites, social media, brochures, customer facing teams, events, direct mail, packaging and more are all points at which a brand can interact with its customers. Different touchpoints can have varying importance within the customer experience. When you plan a brand refresh, you want to make sure it pertains to all the touchpoints in every form. Don’t just focus on the obvious, high-visibility ones.

You need a clear picture of what that outcome looks like so you can ensure a return on your investment. That is why you need to have a thorough understanding of what the refreshed brand will be, and how that will be brought to life in different areas. So, for example, the brand visual identity is an obvious area for attention in a brand refresh. But the brand refresh will also need to be incorporated into everything from sales scripts, productisation and hierarchy, signature language, value proposition and positioning relative to competitors and employee branding

Refreshing a brand’s visual identity can be important, but one mistake many brands make is confusing that alone with a brand refresh. It is only one part of a brand refresh, which always needs to start with brand strategy not with executional elements such as the brand visual identity.

brand refresh

Image via LinkedIn © Kroo

A case study is the social fintech B-Social, which rebranded to Kroo. The app and digital interface is critical to a fintech company. But other touchpoints matter too, from employee branding to marketing collateral. Despite being relatively new, Kroo made a point of consistently rolling out its rebranding over all its touchpoints in tandem.

Related: Top 10 Brands for Customer Experience and What You Can Learn From Them

If you’d like to discover more about building and maintaining a thriving, high performing, highly profitable standout brand, then get in touch because we’d love to help you make your brand into a profit powerhouse.

  1. Schedule a chat — we can meet in person online
  2. Let’s consider a customised plan for you
  3. And perhaps implement the plan together 
  4. Contact us [email protected] or ring +353 1 8322724 (GMT Dublin/London time 9:00 – 17:30 weekdays)

Lorraine Carter is a branding expert and international speaker delivering talks that inspire and motivate along with masterclasses and workshops that inform and support transformational outcomes fast, and consultancy expertise that solves problems — using agile branding strategy underpinned by professional big-brand know-how — so you can outshine, outperform and leave your competitors way behind.

She enables you to differentiate, achieve higher revenue, expand your market share, build IP brand asset value — make the complex easy as ABC so you can Transform Your Brand & Increase Your Sales — Be The One, the brand that’s most credible, trusted and commanding a premium so you’re highly profitable and leaving your competitors way behind. 

 Ask about the Persona Brand Strategy Mastermind Programme — live, interactively, face-to-face online.


Brand Identity“Lorraine Carter has been the catalyst and an inspiration for MGI Learning to clearly define our brand.

Working with Lorraine has been both enlightening and enjoyable. Her blueprint for defining a brand is extremely comprehensive and challenged us to think very deeply about what we offer to our customers and really understand what underpins our success.

Lorraine is extremely knowledgeable, very focused and supportive and leads you through the process and ensured we got maximum benefits from the investment we made.”

Shona Cooper


MGI Learning

Shona Cooper

7. Sometimes It’s Better to Reinvigorate or Retire a Brand Than do a Brand Refresh

As with many decision points in life, when considering a brand refresh, there are often multiple options available in practice. It may be less disruptive, cheaper and faster simply to reinvigorate your existing brand without refreshing it. In other situations, a brand refresh may not improve long-term survivability amidst market change and retiring the brand though difficult might be the best thing to do. So, it’s important to make an objective assessment when the market changes. 

A brand refresh is one option but there are other options from brand renovation to retiring the brand. Each may have pros and cons, so if you are thinking about a brand refresh, do a proper brand audit and decide whether a brand refresh is what you need.

Brand Audit Consultation

Book Your Brand Audit Consult with Lorraine Carter here

Consider as a case study the toxic phone hacking scandal in the U.K. which plunged the News of the World newspaper brand into a brand crisis. Its owner, News International, decided that instead of trying to refresh the 168-year old newspaper brand, it would simply scrap it and try to move readers onto a sister title. 

Related: How to Use Brand Building and Culture Integration to Unlock More Value from Mergers, Acquisitions and Divestitures

This can also be relevant during mergers. For example, Spanish bank Santander acquired strong brands in Abbey National, Alliance & Leicester, and Bradford and Bingley. But rather than hero one of the existing brands in a refresh, it opted instead to roll out a new to market Santander brand.

Related: Rebranding, Crisis Recovery and Brand Rebuild

“Excellent programme delivered by somebody who is obviously very experienced and knowledgeable in this area. 

Love how Lorraine gave a clear but broad range of areas to cover and the process in which it should be done. 

There is so much we need to implement but it’s exciting to think what it will be like when we do.”

Ciarán Flynn


Child Paths

Ciarán Flynn

Final Thoughts

A strong powerful brand is a living entity so it makes sense that from time to time a brand refresh is an important process to maintain relevance and profitability.

It is important to have a clear understanding of the drivers for your brand’s success or failure before you begin the brand refresh process. 

Consider the marketplace, and engage with stakeholders who care about your brand whether they are internal or external.

Focus first on your brand strategy and from there, you will be in a stronger position to evaluate whether a brand refresh could be helpful, and if so, how best to make it fly so you can achieve higher revenue, expand your market share and build your brand IP asset brand.

Questions to Consider

  1. How are you evaluating what may potentially happen in the future in your market?
  2. Are you clear about your brand purpose, brand vision, and brand values?
  3. In what ways might a brand audit health check help your brand?
  4. How involved are internal and external stakeholders in keeping your brand relevant? Have you engaged them in your brand refresh conversations?
  5. Does your customer experience bring your brand strategy to life at every touchpoint?

Your Persona Client Satisfaction Guarantee

  1. When you work with us we’ll create a customised brand-building plan and strategy with clear investment for you tailored to your specific requirements and preferences
  2. You’ll know each step of your brand building journey before we start because we’ll discuss it, document it and agree on it with you before work commences
  3. You’ll have timelines, key milestones and deliverables to evaluate and approve for each stage and part of your brand building process
  4. Because we know the unexpected sometimes happens we can make adjustments along the way if you need it and if something extra is requested we’ll ensure you’re fully appraised about what that entails before committing
  5. As we achieve pre-agreed objectives you’ll be able to evaluate your brand building work and strategy in progress, coupled with the outcomes to ensure return on investment


Get in touch today because we’d love to enable you to re-evaluate and build your standout, powerhouse brand so you can Be The One — increase your profits and leave your competitors way behind.

Email us [email protected] or ring us at +35318322724 (GMT 9:00-17:30) and ask about our VIP Brand Strategy Re-Evaluation