September 11, 2012

A Brand Refresh vs. Repositioning. Which is Best for your Brand?

Your brand is the umbrella to everything you do as a company. It not only guides your decisions and actions internally but guides your external image, distinguishes you from your competitors, and lastly helps your customers know what you do.

But what happens when your company grows, your product extends well beyond your original offering and/or your brand no longer reflects who you are and what you do? The quickest response to this problem would be to scream for a brand refresh, but is that actually the answer? A new strategy is certainly needed and with that may come a rebrand, but depending on your company, your industry and current identity a brand repositioning might be a better answer the problem.

The two solutions seem rather similar but actually vary in a significant way, and can be likened to a house, yes; you read that correctly a house.

In a nutshell, a brand refresh is the term given when an established company changes it name, logo, and/or its overall look and feel. A brand refresh generally addresses the external facing identity of a company, cosmetic changes if you will. Similar to painting a house or changing out the flooring, a refresh will take time and cost you money, but it’s about changing the surface level image of your brand.

Refreshing a brand generally occurs when a company’s image has become outdated or misleading to the type of services or products it provides, which can all impact the company’s brand equity or sales goals if it is consistently being misunderstood.

Unlike a brand refresh, which is more of a cosmetic change to a brand’s image, repositioning is strengthening the foundation.

Brand positioning is the very core of your brand, and provides a clear and concise voice to tell your brand’s story. When a company looks to reposition its brand it is looking to go much deeper than simply changing the external image.

Repositioning highlights a company’s evolving role in the marketplace, and integrates new practices that build brand equity both internally and externally. It’s about changing perceptions. Unifying your internal audience with a consistent message will not only make your company stronger but more appealing to your external audience because they will get a true sense for who you are, and understand what you stand for.

There are certainly times when a company will undergo both a corporate refresh and repositioning concurrently, and a lot of times that makes sense but before you begin either initiative take a step back and decide which is best for your company and brand. It is important to determine whether your brand is need of a facelift or and complete remodeling from the ground up before moving forward.


  1. Ashley K. Edwards   October 3, 2012 11:03 am / Reply

    Great post! Are there any examples you can site of brands that have undergone a refresh and a repositioning? JCP comes to mind.

  2. Lizzy Guterma   October 3, 2012 2:01 pm / Reply

    A recent example of a brand refresh is Ebay, it recently unveiled a new logo. Brand refreshes are much more common than a complete rebrand, as well as outwardly recognizable. Other famous examples can be seen here:

    As far as a rebrand goes, one recent example that comes to mind is Kraft, the company recently split into two parts. More information can be found here:

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