Rebrand/Refresh Development: What Are The Details and Differences

Rebrands or a brand refresh are exciting! They impact all facets of your business and we always love being a part of them. From the initial strategy of gearing up for a rebrand/refresh, to the creative development, and toolkit execution, we have years of experience designing and executing them for our clients.

We're sharing some of that experience here to help guide you as you might begin to research and dive into a rebrand/refresh for your brand.

Finish this sentence:

The best part of waking up…

I’m 99% sure you know the ending. If you’re one of those rare ones who doesn’t, go watch this commercial.

Now let me ask– what was your reaction to finishing the line? Were you delighted that you knew it? Did you passionately sing it aloud or did you roll your eyes, and grumble at the thought of this silly jingle still occupying space in your brain?

I’m one of the ones who passionately sings along, but it could really go either way. I think for a lot of people, especially if they’re not ad geeks, it goes the other route.

I bring this up because it’s a great example of how sonic branding is incredibly effective at getting you to remember a brand. Whether you like it or not, this little ear worm isn’t going anywhere, and you’ll always associate Folgers with it. There’s no doubt that jingles, or their less invasive sibling, mnemonics, do what they’re meant to do.

So how are brands using sonic branding these days? Is there more of it now or less of it? Do people love it or loathe it?

Let’s take a deeper dive.

The Background on Noise

Sonic branding has been around for a long time, and it doesn’t just take the form of a jingle. That’s usually what we think of first when we talk about sonic branding. Truth is, there’s a much more subtle form of sonic branding that surrounds us even more, and that is the mnemonic.

Mnemonics are the catchy bits of audio that help you remember a brand. They create an association between the sound and...

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The Funny Thing About Funny Things

Humor is one of our most fundamental forms of communication. Within weeks of birth, a baby learns to smile and laugh as its second communication tool...after crying for survival, of course. As we grow up, we learn to use humor to create bonds, defuse tensions, or to just get a quick dopamine hit.

Some psychologists in the past considered humor to be a negative trait; a tool to hide behind or to belittle others. But, more recent psychology has viewed humor as a positive character strength that connects people and makes others feel good.

It’s natural that we tend to be drawn to those who we think have a great sense of humor, who can make us laugh, whether it be something silly or something that gives us a deeper understanding of the human condition in a more palatable way.

What we find funny varies from person to person, but it’s safe to say that we can all use a good laugh from time to time, and some of our closest relationships are formed with those who make us smile the most.

The Funny Things About Brands

Brand building is about relationship building, and at their best, brands feel like humans. So, it is not at all odd to consider using humor with a brand. If a brand brings a smile to our face, or better yet, makes us laugh out loud, we are more likely to think positively about that brand and to feel a kinship with it.

When we take a look at common brand archetypes, the Jester is an obvious archetype for a humorous brand. Brands in this...

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There’s a great essay called “1,000 True Fans” that makes an interesting point: as a creator, all you need, whether you’re an artist, writer, musician, or whatever, is 1,000 true fans to be successful.

The article is originally from 2008. At this point, we might be more familiar with the idea of “superfans” but the two are one in the same. It’s a simple concept. If you’re able to develop 1,000 true fans, people who will go out of their way to support your work, then you’ll be able to sustain a creative career.

For example, imagine getting $100 from each of your true fans once a year. Maybe they buy your albums, or designs, or artwork. $100 from 1,000 people once a year is $100,000. Enough to live on. Simple enough.

The creator’s opportunity in this context is to establish a meaningful relationship with each and every one of these 1,000 fans. Maybe it’s via autographs, personalized notes, direct emails, or some other form of direct communication with the fans that allows the creator to make the fan feel important and appreciated. What’s key is that the fan feels involved with the creator.

But, at one point, the article starts to feel dated. Author Kevin Kelly writes, “big corporations, the intermediates, the commercial producers, are all under-equipped and ill suited to connect with these thousand true fans. They are institutionally unable to find and deliver niche audiences and consumers.”

What’s transpired in the time since the article was originally written is brands...

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Anyone involved with branding knows that we are well past the era where knowledge of a product or service is enough to build a brand on. It’s no longer about what the products are, how they work, or how they are different than their competitors, as much as it is about generating meaning when it comes to building a brand. “Doing” has been replaced with “feeling.” And, the “hows” and “whats” for products and brands have been replaced with the “whys.” This has transitioned branding from a cerebral exercise to an emotional one. Brands have to embody concepts and ideas that humans can understand on a primal level, where emotional decisions are made that are much stronger and more authentic than the shallow, transactional decisions made around purchasing the least expensive or easiest to find products. Brands must tell stories. As with any great story throughout history, these stories must have strong central characters. It is the realization of these brand characters that audiences and consumers connect with, learn from, champion, and defend … as they would a friend, a colleague, or a family member.But, how do you build a character for your brand? Let’s start with what we know from philosophy, psychology, anthropology, and art.

The History of Archetypes

If you go all the way back to Plato, you find his theory of forms. In this theory, Plato lays out that forms exist not just in the physical makeup of an object, but in the essence of what an object or idea represents. It is the...

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While the terms rebranding and a brand refresh are sometimes used interchangeably, we think of a brand refresh as more of an evolution of a brand’s image that is designed to reflect the evolution of the customer, or to appeal to a broader or more diverse audience. Whereas, a rebrand is more of a brand overhaul, best incorporated when a brand is having trouble finding or connecting with customers, also known as your positioning, or when there is a significant change in the direction of the company or its products.

Why a Rebrand

A great rebrand or refresh can be incredibly effective at growing or repositioning a business. A great rebrand can make customers remember what they once loved about a brand or forget about what they didn’t. A great rebrand represents a new start or growth and evolution. 

But, before you decide it’s time to refresh your brand, or even to rebuild it from the ground up, it’s important to first understand what your brand represents today. 

  • Do you know how your audience sees you? 
  • Does your brand represent a point of view? 
  • Does your entire brand, and everyone behind it, stand united behind a unique vision with laser focus on your ideal customer? 
  • That reminds me...do you know who your ideal customer is? 

If any of this sounds fuzzy, it’s important to start with structured strategy sessions to determine what you want your brand to represent and how to achieve that. Then, you’ll have a clear understanding of the direction to take your brand.


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