Brand refresh or brand overhaul? If you can’t decide, read on.

Thinking about a brand refresh? Maybe you actually need a full brand overhaul instead. In this post, we’re going to weigh in on some common scenarios. But first…brand refresh, brand overhaul. What’s the difference? Pretend, for a second, that your company is a home. Performing a brand refresh would be like making over the house. Maybe you just need some fresh paint; maybe you want to tear everything down to the studs and rebuild. Either way, the frame of the house still stands through it all. Tearing the house to the ground and building something different—or moving to another house altogether? That’s a brand overhaul. As you can imagine, one takes a lot less time, effort and money than the other. But which is appropriate for you?

Have you added to your services?

We get it—things change, and no brand stands still for long. If you’ve moved into consulting and away from products, for example, you may feel you need a clean break from what your business was in the past. But take a look at your customer base—perhaps they’re willing to change right along with you. A full brand overhaul here could confuse your current buyers, and cause you to lose a lot of potential converts. A brand refresh is more in order.

Verdict: Evolution

Have you been dragged through the mud?

Perhaps your founder has been involved in a scandal, or you’ve had a major client very publicly threaten to sue you, or you’ve fallen victim to any one of a thousand other things that can destroy a reputation in today’s fragile online age. When all other hope is lost, rebranding is often the only hope left. Here we’d recommend picking up the pieces and starting again fresh.

Verdict: Revolution

Are things looking tired?

Business owners often have a hard time looking at their own brands. As we’re fond of saying, “You can’t see the label on the bottle when you’re INSIDE the bottle.”

And this means that they’re often the last to know when a brand is outdated and in need of a refresh. However, if those twinges of intuition DO come, it’s important to listen to them—but it’s also important not to make too much of them. If your gut is telling you that there are too many fonts on your home page, too much going on in the logo, and too little clarity in the message you’re putting out to customers… Fine. It’s probably time for a rebrand. But don’t get carried away; you wouldn’t move to a new town just because your house needs a new coat of paint.

Verdict: Evolution

Do you feel like you’re drifting or headed in the wrong direction?

There’s a lot to be said for knowing not only which way you’re going, but also where you want to end up. Ask an airplane pilot… Author Brian Tracy often talks about how, 99% of the time, airplanes are off-course. The job of the pilot, he says, is to constantly make course corrections to ensure that the passengers reach their destination. But what kind of course correction do you need to make if you’ve been feeling LAX—but headed for JFK? It’s not often that a simple refresh will help you out of a crisis of purpose. You may need to take all the baggage off the plane—pun intended—and chart a new flight plan entirely.

Verdict: Revolution

Do you blend in when you should stand out?

It can be hard to make a name for yourself in a sea of identical competitors. And while competition is healthy—it shows, at least in theory, that other people are willing to pay for what you’re offering—that doesn’t make it any easier to deal with. ESPECIALLY if you look the same and talk the same as everyone else in your space. If you’re finding yourself constantly competing on price, and not on anything that you feel makes you different from all the rest, then it’s time to think about overhauling your brand.

Verdict: Revolution


Not every brand needs a complete overhaul. In many cases a brand refresh would be sufficient—at least until it’s actually time to remake your brand. But the flipside of that is also true. Sometimes a simple refresh just won’t accomplish what you need and more drastic measures are in order.

Ready To Transform Your Brand?