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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.

This post written by Elevation's Director of Strategy, Brett Rakestraw, was originally published on Branding Magazine.

Remember the good old days? Maybe they were the seemingly innocent days of “Leave it to Beaver” and apple pie. Or, were they the sugar and caffeine-fueled 80’s, complete with hyper-color neons and so much hairspray? Perhaps, they were the nights out with friends just before the pandemic shut everyone in.While we each experience it in different ways, we are all affected by nostalgia. Brands can harness the power of nostalgia with the right understanding of the psychology behind it and a clear connection to nostalgic concepts within their own branding and brand marketing. With the wrong intentions or a misguided understanding of sentimentality, brands can come across as tone-deaf, insensitive, or simply dated.The term nostalgia refers to a wistfulness or longing for a place or time with positive memories. So, nostalgia is generally rooted in sadness or melancholy. But, while the source of nostalgia comes from negative feelings, the results of experiencing nostalgic memories are generally much more positive.In a Psychology Today article on nostalgia, author David Ludden suggests, “Experimental evidence indicates that nostalgia is experienced as an overwhelmingly positive emotion. It has the effect of boosting one’s mood as well as increasing a sense of meaning in life. It also raises self-esteem and optimism for the future.”A key takeaway from this quote is the...

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M&M’s made a mess last week, and for once it’s not because I dropped some in the seat of my car and forgot about it. The Mars company unveiled a refresh of their lineup of brand mascots. The M&M characters underwent a redesign to be “more inclusive” and better reflect “today’s society.”

Sounds good so far, right?

Until you compare the old design of the characters to the new designs.

Like a toddler whose had too much chocolate, the internet went wild mercilessly mocking the M&M’s rebrand.

While initial public reaction and internet memes aren’t everything, this is a case of good intentions meeting flawed strategy and execution. Which is extremely unfortunate, because I’m a huge fan of the M&M’s brand and product — as anyone who has been to a...

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There are two constants in business: change and rebrands.

Eventually, your company is going to need to rebrand itself. Whether it’s to strategically bolster a pivot in a new direction or to make sure your brand’s ID is relevant in an ever-changing landscape, you will have to update, refresh, or entirely reinvent your branding. On average, companies will rebrand themselves every 7 to 10 years; but with the emergence of new platforms like the metaverse, the upcoming rebrand cycle might be shorter for some organizations.

This task shouldn’t be taken lightly. Your brand is your identity, both to your customer and your employee. You want to make sure that your rebrand strategically gets you closer to your company’s goals, while not discarding what is working already for your brand. A great rebrand will excite your employees and attract new customers, while not alienating your existing fan base. 

We tackle rebrands all the time, and we take a holistic approach to make sure that we create branding that gets companies closer to their goals. Here are the questions we ask at the beginning of the process to create a great rebrand.

1) What are my brand's core values?

This is the number one question on our list for a reason. This is the greater reason behind your company: the thing that gets you out of bed each morning and energized to tackle the challenges of the day. Customers are savvy, and they can spot a sales pitch from a mile away. More and more, consumers are demanding...

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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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