Driven By Design: The Brand Refresh

An office worker working on their laptop.

We exist in a design-driven culture. More specifically, consumers are driven to engage with businesses and brands that focus attention and importance on design as the first line of engagement. This is with good reason as a design-driven approach to branding and user experience can create a lasting and positive impact, even making or breaking a conversion strategy.

From health care to finance to tech, it’s clear that the culture of continual design innovation is expected, and along with the investment there is, indeed, a payoff. Ensuring that an organization can stay ahead of the game with up-to-the-minute, outstanding brand experiences will be critical to drawing the right consumers and ultimately – thriving in the marketplace.

For these aesthetically minded companies, it’s not only the aspects (logo, letterhead, website) of a brand that are masterfully crafted – the entire experience is designed from content to packaging, ideally creating a consistent and impactful product from concept to inception.

The most innovative, forward-thinking companies engage in a well-timed brand refresh through the course of their life-cycle. Strategically speaking, the truth is that brand updates are crucial to keeping relevant to consumers. A brand is truly how a business is reflected in the marketplace, making brand and reputation one and the same. Investing in, and leveraging a design-focused refresh will bring heightened value as well as an increasing base of clientele.

Many see a brand refresh as a simple logo redesign. The reality is that the nuance involved is highly design-centered, focusing on the perception of the brand in the marketplace and to the consumer. Elements such as color, typography and size are all tools that the brand uses to connect to and communicate with the audience. If these elements do not add up or meet as a union, the conversation will not go well.

It’s important to be purposeful in a refresh process. Arguably the most critical aspect of the experience is timing. As they say, timing is everything, and in this case, the adage holds true. An organization must look at its service or product offering and ensure it aligns with current branding and consumer needs/values. If season after season of new product launches has occurred with the same logo, packaging and tagline from years past – it may be time to update. Alternately, if there is competition in the market, it’s important to stand out and differentiate.

Today, businesses with a keen focus on design are thriving. Further, the attention placed on minimalism is seeing benefits both for the bottom line and for user experience. It may seem counterintuitive but simply allows the core vision of a brand to stand out. A customer can immediately see what the company or product is about and connect almost immediately. The majority of brand refresh work that is performed today involves this streamlined aesthetic, with designers and content writers working to keep what is essential and remove the rest. The benefits of a minimalistic approach are many, including perceived high-end value and increased cognition.

Not only can a brand refresh be a much-needed aesthetic reset, but it can also be a much-needed pr opportunity. If executed well, a newly optimized brand can emerge with a following of digital evangelists extolling the virtues of the new design, opening up the conversation to a new audience and expanding market share. By using valuable feedback from existing customers, evaluating the competition and working with a design team, a brand has the opportunity to endear itself to the consumer by providing exactly what the market is looking for or lacking.