Should I Update My Brand?

Companies spend years building brands that are easily identifiable. However, that doesn’t mean an established brand should stay stagnant. Here are some of the signs that your brand isn’t serving you anymore.
Photo Credit: ATA

Author: Jackie Holbrook

A company’s brand is essential to its success. Having a well-defined, easily identifiable brand helps companies connect with customers. The brand should tell a story and define the company’s values. Most companies spend months, if not years, building a strong brand.

Brand is a term that’s widely used but not always understood. A well-known brand can be easy to identify but not always easy to break down. Brands are made up of many elements. These typically include a logo, slogan, typography, images, packaging, colors, voice or tone, hashtags and more. Building a brand means assembling these elements to create an identity.

Once a company’s brand becomes its identity, a business owner might be hesitant to make changes. You don’t want to do it too often, but you also don’t want the brand to become outdated and irrelevant. So, when is the right time to consider a brand update?

“Organizations should regularly evaluate their brand platform and whether that platform is helping or hindering them from accomplishing their goals,” said Nick Newlin, vice president, digital director and senior marketing strategist at Shine United. “If your brand is not helping to accomplish goals due to a lack of relevance to consumers or differentiation from competitors, it’s probably time to update it.”

Make sure your brand messaging is clear. Photo Credit: Bowhunters United

Newlin said a brand update is a comprehensive revitalization process that starts with defining your business and marketing goals, as well as your target audiences. That’s why before you make any changes to the brand, it’s important to take an internal look at your business.

“With a clear understanding of business goals, competitive set and target audiences, you can begin to build a brand platform that is true to the organization, relevant to your audiences and differentiated from competitors,” Newlin said.

Newlin said key indicators will show when a brand isn’t accomplishing its mission. These include lagging sales, losing shares to competitors and lack of engagement with the brand. This could mean your brand is outdated. But this can also happen when your business goals shift but your brand remains the same.

If your brand doesn’t match your goals, it’s time to make a change. But what exactly is a brand refresh? Again, a brand commonly consists of a logo, tagline, voice or tone, and visual language. But it also goes much deeper and includes values and culture. These elements and more should be clearly defined from the beginning. When you develop a brand, you should also create a brand guidelines document. This includes the basic framework for what constitutes the brand and is really helpful when you’re considering making any changes. If you don’t have one, when you update your brand, creating this document should be one of the steps.

Typically, updating a brand doesn’t mean scrapping everything and starting fresh. Sometimes a brand refresh means subtly updating images and colors to reflect a more modern look. Other times it means pivoting the messaging while keeping the same look and feel. If you don’t know which direction to take the new brand, that’s OK. There are professionals available to help.

Newlin recommends working with an outside partner like an advertising agency. Creative professionals have a process that can make it easy and efficient. Advertising agencies have design teams that can provide a range of options and different perspectives.

“An outsider’s perspective is invaluable when it comes to working on your brand. Internal stakeholders are often emotionally invested in the current brand, and you need an objective partner involved in the process,” Newlin said.

Hiring outsiders to help change something as personal as a brand can be intimidating. But with good communication, everybody wins.

“Just be open and honest. Be willing to share your business goals and how you hope to achieve them, and be open to being brought along with their process,” Newlin said. “The right partner will have done this before and will be able to guide you through the project.”

If you’re looking for a partner, the Archery Trade Association can help. The MyATA Service Provider Program offers a strong network of businesses that support the industry. This includes advertising agencies like Shine United. The companies that are part of this program all are in good standing and want to work with ATA members.

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