If you’re one of the 14 million new businesses* established during the pandemic era you understand the importance of curating a strong online presence that stands out from the crowd—and feels true-to-you and your purpose.
As your business grows you’ll inevitably feel compelled to tear it all down and “rebrand” in order to keep up with new trends, moods, attitudes, fancy-pants software platforms, and whatever new terminology Gen Z slings into the vernacular.
But rebranding from the ground up can cost you months of time, sideline other revenue-generating activities, cost thousands of dollars, and rarely move the needle.
So, how do you know if your business should rebranded or if it needs some freshening up?
First thing’s first…
Brand Refresh vs. Visual Rebrand: What’s the difference?
A BRAND REFRESH takes a holistic look at all the elements of your business (overall brand identity, messaging, user experience, audience desires, etc.) and looks for ways to make everything feel up-to-date and consistent, without tearing it all down.
While you might tweak your offers, messaging, or visuals you’re not overhauling your business in a way that would need to be explained to your audience.
A brand refresh is a great step to take after you’ve been in business for at least a year and have tested out your products or services with paying customers/clients.
This feedback will help you refine your messaging based on feedback from your audience—rather than the latest fleeting trend.
Once you have a better sense of who you are/want to be as a business, a refresh can help take you to that next level of maturity and success with updated copywriting.
A VISUAL REBRAND typically signals a major pivot in the way you want to be perceived. For example, maybe you’re making the shift from 1:1 coaching to thought leader. Or perhaps you’re dropping one element of your business and going all-in on another.
Overhauling your visual identity can help signal this shift but it has its limitations. Brand visuals can make you feel a certain way but they cannot explain the who, what, why, and how of your brand.
Every major rebrand needs new copywriting to help reposition you in the mind of your target audience. For a while, you may also need copy or content that explains the pivot to your existing audience so they don’t become confused or wonder if you’re no longer relevant to their needs.
Why Copy Matters More Than Design When Rebranding or Refreshing Your Website
Whether you’re looking to refresh or rebrand, always start by looking over your copy and content.
Compelling copy conveys your brand values and connects with your target audience. Keeping your messaging consistent enhances your credibility and fosters trust among potential clients and customers.
If you’re noticing a disconnect between the quality of leads coming in or the consistency of your sales, it’s rarely because of your logo or how your font looks when italicized. The problem is your messaging and whether your copy is intentionally written to resonate with your target audience.
Design primes, but copy sells. If your messaging no longer aligns with your buyer’s needs it doesn’t matter how cohesive your brand looks—you need a copy refresh.
Here’s 10 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Rebrand Your Business
…but refresh and refine your copy instead.
1) Your Core Values Remain Unchanged
Unless your fundamental beliefs and values have done a 180, a rebrand isn’t necessary. If you’ve simply shifted your perspective a few degrees you can audit your copy and tweak the sections that need changing.
2) Your Target Audience is Still Engaged
If your audience is still interacting with your content via inquiries, sign-ups, downloads, likes, DMs, and email replies, this indicates that your current messaging is effective. The only reason to go back to the drawing board is if you want to shift your audience and reach someone new. For example, if instead of photographing weddings, you want to become a brand photographer.
3) Your Content Is Still Relevant and Valuable
Some of the world’s most relied-upon experts and brands have less than stellar websites. While I cry a little inside every time I visit their sites, the quality of their content trumps the visuals, every time.
4) Your Conversion Rates Are Good
If your stats are up and to the right 📈 ask yourself what you have to gain by overhauling your messaging or visuals. Often we’re motivated by trends, but this puts you on the fast-track to looking and sounding like everyone else. (See: the scourge of “millennial pink” and the too-cool-for-school editorial look producing a new “sad-beige” website every minute. 😎 )
5) Your SEO Performance Is Strong
If your analytics aren’t showing organic traffic growth, it’s time to assess why and look into potential solutions. If your copy and content are written with Search Engine Optimization in mind, you’ll signal to Google how relevant you are to a subset of web users. Something else to keep in mind is that if you rebrand and pivot your offers or audience, your current SEO profile might work against you. Once your refreshed copy is re-indexed by Google, it will take some time for you to start showing up in the right places and you’ll likely see a dip in website traffic for a while.
6) Customer Feedback Is Positive
Customer feedback and testimonials are hugely important in gauging how well your brand resonates with your audience. If your customers are happy, ask yourself what you have to gain by rebranding your visuals or messaging.
7) Your Brand Recognition Is High
We can all think of a dozen household brands with a strong brand identity that received widespread backlash after rebranding. (::cough-Elon’s X-cough::). If you take away an element or talking point that’s synonymous with your brand your audience can feel like you’ve pulled the rug out from underneath them or cause them to question your brand’s authenticity. There are also positives to taking away certain elements if you intentionally want to signal a shift to our audience.
8) Your Unique Value Proposition Is Still Compelling
Your UVP communicates why what you bring to the table is better, different, or ideal for your audience. As your market gets saturated, your UVP can start to feel stale or over-used by your competitors. Refreshing your UVP is usually about finding the right messaging angle that meets your audience where they’re at today. Your industry changes, your business evolves, and so does your audience. Unless you’re overhauling your offers entirely a messaging refresh is all you need.
9) Your Marketing Engagement Is High
Marketing is messaging. Stellar creative and visuals can boost your marketing’s impact and magnetize eyeballs, but if your message isn’t on point, your audience will ultimately forget about you. If your marketing is floundering it might not be about the wrong solution or offer, but how you’re positioning it with your words.
10) You’re Still Lit Up By Your Brand
Sure, the data doesn’t lie, but if your purpose and offers don’t excite you anymore you don’t have to feel like you’re trapped inside the house you built. Instead of tearing it all down, reconnect with your Brand Pillars, work with a business mentor, or slow your pace so you have the mental space to gain perspective and clarity about the future.
When to Consider a Brand Refresh
When you sense a shift or evolution within your business ask yourself:
- Why am I seeking change?
- Is it a strategic business move or scratching a personal itch?
- How would a brand refresh serve me?
- How would a brand refresh serve my clients/customers?
- Does my visual brand still feel like a good fit?
- Does my copy and messaging feel aligned?
- What help or resources do I need to make these changes?
Unless you are experiencing significant changes in your business’ direction, target audience, or core values a brand refresh will help you step into the next evolution of your business without burning it all to the ground.
It’s important for every business owner to evaluate their business as a whole including messaging, content, visuals, and marketing before investing in a visual rebranding.
Before dropping several thousands of dollars and umpteen hours on contractors or DIY stress, focus on refining your copy, strengthening your messaging, and taking a big-picture look at your business and purpose for a more impactful online presence that evolves with you throughout your entrepreneurial journey.