A brand refresh checklist for B2B organisations – what’s your score?

Unlike wine, which matures with age, brands must adapt over time to remain relevant and appealing. This can be a daunting task for business owners who often don’t know where to start. That’s why creating a brand refresh tick list is so important.

Right now, hand on heart, could you explain:

  • Whether your branding needs a facelift?
  • If so, what aspects of it need changing?
  • The steps required to improve things?

Having in place a brand refresh checklist will keep you focussed and ensure your project is a roaring success – both in terms of better connecting your business to its customers and improved financial results.

what is branding?

What is a brand refresh?

Over time your brand’s visual identity will become jaded. Its values will change too. Sharpening up your imagery and content will prevent this from happening – accurately reflecting how your business and its customers have changed.

Brand refresh versus total rebrand

Before rushing to create your brand refresh tick list, take a step back. Do you need to tear down the walls and build afresh or will a few cosmetic changes suffice instead?

Here’s how to tell the difference…

  • A brand refresh is about tweaking your messaging and visuals. By making a few interim fixes you can remain relevant and competitive – but without embarking on a time-consuming top-to-bottom rebuild.
  • A rebrand occurs in response to change. Perhaps the organisation has been subject to a takeover. Or maybe it wants to pivot its products to appeal to a new audience – in which case a simple refresh would be insufficient.

The benefits of a brand refresh

Creating a brand refresh checklist will ensure your business doesn’t lag behind competitor branding and messaging which is tapping into the modern psyche of its audience to great effect.

Consider whether your branding is:

  • A true reflection of your values
  • Credible or undermines trust
  • Modern or outdated

In short, your organisation must grow and improve in the same way its customers do. Otherwise, it will lose them to rival organisations already leading the charge.

Use your brand refresh checklist to:

  • Ensure your values mirror customer values too
  • Remain credible, relevant, and lead the market
  • Demonstrate growth and improvement
  • Significantly increase your ROI

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Your essential brand refresh checklist in 7 simple steps

Follow these simple steps to make your brand refresh an outstanding and well-deserved success.

#1 Research your brand

This might seem counterintuitive. Why research your own brand? Surely this is something that you – and other key decision makers within your organisation – should know. But that isn’t the purpose of the first entry in your brand refresh checklist.

The aim here is to establish:

  • What your brand is doing versus what it should be doing
  • Whether it still passes muster or needs improvement
  • If improvement is needed what is the rationale?
  • How you will measure the success of the refresh later

#2 Reassess customer personas

How have your customers’ lives changed since you built or last refreshed your brand? Perhaps they have new challenges no longer reflected in your images or messages.

Consider whether:

  • Your target audience’s wants and needs have shifted or are still the same
  • New customers in your sales pipeline are different to those originally targeted
  • There is scope to target a new type of customer and the best way to do so

#3 How do you measure up to competitors?

No brand refresh checklist would be complete without an in-depth competitor analysis. So break down what your rivals are succeeding and failing at – then check how you measure up. From this exercise will evolve a deeper understanding of what steps are needed to make your brand stand out from the crowd.

#4 Start thinking about your positioning

Your brand refresh checklist is also about positioning. Using questions answered in steps 1-3 you now need to target your customers where they hang out using the right messaging – so that you can lead the curve ahead of rivals.

Start thinking about:

  • How to blend your messaging to retarget existing customers – and new ones based on personas you uncovered at the research stage
  • Which elements of your content will recommunicate the core values and ethos of your organisation
  • The steps you’ll take to elevate your brand above the norm and capture your customers’ attention

#5 Is your logo working hard enough?

Trends come and go as frequently as the tides. And logos are no exception to this rule. That’s why it’s important to continually assess your visual identity. Are your images fun, fresh, and relevant? 

Using your brand refresh checklist deep dive into your website and digital channels. You might also choose to go a step further by looking at branded products your organisation uses – including header paper and pens.

Tip: there’s no such thing as being too thorough at this stage of your brand audit.

branding guide

#6 Communicating change to the world

Having completed every item on your brand refresh checklist it’s time to start telling the world. Employees, investors, stakeholders and customers will need to know (a) why you’re refreshing your brand and (b) how this change will positively impact them. 

And yet so many B2B organisations quietly usher in brand changes to the extent that all impact and benefit of the exercise is lost – perceived by many to be either a waste of time or a vanity project.

With that in mind:

  • Who are you going to tell?
  • Why are you telling them?
  • How will you communicate?

Think these questions through – and use the right digital channels to reach the right people – and your rebranding project will get better engagement and buy-in.

#6 Putting your rebrand plan into motion

Presuming your comms strategy was successful it’s time to tick off the final box in your brand refresh checklist by rolling out your plan. Now’s the time to live test and monitor your messaging – with your employees stepping in to provide much-needed support.

Using the KPIs identified earlier in the process you’ll be able to work out what’s working and isn’t – tweaking your plan if and when necessary to optimise outcomes and achieve maximum performance.


Conclusion

Think of a brand refresh checklist as a roadmap designed to keep you on track. By adopting a thorough approach you’ll ensure every base is covered – as opposed to rushing or improvising.

Rebranding needn’t be complicated either. Sometimes removing a word from a slogan – or using a different byline – is all that’s needed to realign a B2B organisation’s identity with its customers’ needs.

But if…

  • You don’t understand how brands work
  • Your time and resources are limited
  • You’re not sure what questions to ask

…you might prefer to ditch your brand refresh checklist and hand the work to experts like us instead.