How To Refresh A Brand

Date Published
March 27, 2023


How To Refresh A Brand

A brand refresh can be a powerful way to revitalize your brand, attract new customers, and stay relevant in an ever-changing market. However, it's not a task to be taken lightly, as it requires careful planning, research, and execution to achieve the desired results. In this article, I’ll guide you through the key steps and best practices for refreshing a brand, using examples and statistics to illustrate each point.

Step 1: Evaluate Your Brand

The first step in refreshing your brand is to evaluate your current brand identity and positioning. This involves taking a deep look at your brand's visual elements, messaging, and overall image, as well as its market position and competitive landscape. Some key questions to consider at this stage include:

  • How does your brand look and feel? Is it modern, fresh, and relevant to your target audience, or is it outdated and out of touch?
  • What does your brand stand for? Do you have a clear mission, values, and personality that differentiate you from your competitors?
  • How does your brand compare to your competitors? What are their strengths and weaknesses, and how do they position themselves in the market?
  • What are your customers' needs and preferences, and how can your brand better meet them?

Answering these questions will help you identify the areas of your brand that need improvement and set the stage for a successful refresh.



In 2018, Dunkin' Donuts (now known as just Dunkin') underwent a brand refresh that aimed to modernize the brand and appeal to a younger, more health-conscious audience. The refresh involved dropping "Donuts" from the name, updating the logo and store design, and introducing new menu items such as healthier breakfast options and nitro cold brew coffee. The refresh was based on extensive market research that identified a need for a more modern and inclusive brand image, and it helped Dunkin' attract new customers and drive sales.

Step 2: Define Your Brand Purpose and Values

Once you've evaluated your brand, the next step is to define or refine your brand purpose and values. This involves identifying the core mission and values that underpin your brand, and articulating them in a clear, concise, and compelling way. Your brand purpose and values should reflect your unique strengths, differentiate you from your competitors, and resonate with your target audience.


Nike is a brand that is known for its strong purpose and values. Its mission is "to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world; if you have a body, you are an athlete", and its core values include innovation, sustainability, and social responsibility. Nike's purpose and values are reflected in its marketing campaigns, such as the "Dream Crazy" ad featuring Colin Kaepernick, which was praised for its bold stance on social issues and helped boost sales and brand loyalty.

Step 3: Develop a New Brand Identity

The visual identity of your brand is one of the most important elements that communicates your brand to your customers. Therefore, it's important to develop a new brand identity that reflects your updated purpose and values, appeals to your target audience, and differentiates you from your competitors. This can include updating your logo, color palette, typography, imagery, and other visual elements.


In 2019, Mastercard underwent a brand refresh that involved updating its logo and visual identity to better reflect its purpose and values. The updated logo features a simplified, modern design with overlapping circles that represent the brand's focus on connectivity and inclusion. The refresh was based on market research that showed that consumers wanted a brand that was more human and less corporate, and it helped Mastercard strengthen its brand identity and improve its brand perception.

Step 4: Develop a Brand Messaging Strategy

In addition to updating your visual identity, it's important to develop a brand messaging strategy that reflects your brand purpose and values, resonates with your target audience, and communicates your brand in a clear, consistent, and compelling way. This can include developing key messages, tone of voice guidelines, and content themes that align with your brand identity and resonate with your target audience.

Airbnb is a brand that has developed a strong brand messaging strategy that reflects its unique purpose and values. The company's mission is to "create a world where anyone can belong anywhere", and its brand messaging focuses on the idea of belonging, community, and hospitality. This is reflected in its marketing campaigns, such as the "Live There" campaign, which encouraged travelers to experience local culture and feel like they belong in a new place. The campaign helped Airbnb differentiate itself from traditional hotels and attract a younger, more adventurous audience.


Step 5: Implement and Communicate Your Brand Refresh

Once you've developed your new brand identity and messaging strategy, it's time to implement and communicate your brand refresh. This can involve updating your website, social media profiles, packaging, and other brand touch-points with your new visual identity and messaging. It's also important to communicate your brand refresh to your customers, employees, and other stakeholders in a clear, compelling, and consistent way.

The fast-food chain Burger King underwent lately a brand refresh that involved updating its logo, packaging, and store design to reflect a more modern, streamlined, and minimalist aesthetic. The refresh was based on market research that showed that consumers wanted a more contemporary and simple brand identity. Burger King communicated its brand refresh through a marketing campaign that focused on the idea of "Order from your heart, not just your taste buds", which encouraged customers to embrace the brand's new look and feel.

Step 6: Develop a Brand Refresh Launch Plan

Once you've implemented your brand refresh, it's important to have a launch plan in place to ensure that your new brand identity and messaging are effectively communicated to your target audience. This can involve a variety of tactics, such as social media campaigns, email marketing, PR outreach, events, and influencer partnerships. It's important to develop a launch plan that aligns with your brand purpose and values, resonates with your target audience, and generates excitement and engagement.

In 2021, the dating app Bumble underwent a brand refresh that involved updating its visual identity and messaging to reflect its core values of kindness, empowerment, and inclusivity. To launch the new brand identity, Bumble developed a social media campaign that featured real users sharing stories of kindness and empowerment. The campaign generated a high level of engagement and positive feedback from Bumble's target audience, helping the brand to differentiate itself from competitors and attract new users.

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Step 7: Measure and Adjust After the Launch

After you've launched your brand refresh, it's important to measure its impact and adjust your strategy as needed to ensure that it's achieving your desired goals. This can involve a variety of metrics, such as website traffic, social media engagement, customer feedback, and sales. By tracking these metrics and analyzing the data, you can identify areas of your brand refresh that are working well and areas that need improvement. This can help you to refine your brand messaging, optimize your marketing campaigns, and stay on track to achieve your long-term brand goals.

The clothing retailer Gap underwent a brand refresh that involved updating its visual identity and messaging to appeal to a younger, more diverse audience. However, the refresh received a negative response from customers, who felt that the new logo was uninspired and lacked the brand's signature aesthetic. Gap quickly realized its mistake and reverted back to its original logo within a week, demonstrating the importance of measuring customer feedback and adjusting your strategy as needed.

Refreshing a brand can be a challenging but rewarding process that can help your brand attract new customers, stay relevant, attract new customers, and differentiate itself from competitors. The key steps in refreshing a brand include evaluating your brand, defining your brand purpose and values, developing a new brand identity, developing a brand messaging strategy, implementing and communicating your brand refresh, and developing a brand refresh launch plan.

Companies such as Dunkin', Nike, Mastercard, and Airbnb have successfully refreshed their brand by following these steps. A brand refresh can help your company stand out, attract new customers, and ultimately increase revenue.

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