• Atomic D

Brand Retrofitting: To Refresh or Rebrand

What’s the difference and why you need to consider both NOW

The primary purpose of branding is to reflect the values of your business and represent those values as an image with which your audience can relate and connect. More than a logo and colors, a strong brand expresses itself in a way that builds trust and loyalty. To do so effectively, you must build your brand from a foundation that understands and puts the needs of your audience at its center. Your foundation’s heartbeat, its consumer, will thus guide your company’s decisions and its direction as the brand expands its presence alongside the marketplace.

But what happens when that foundation is rocked to its core? What happens when seismic events rattle the pillars which hold up your brand?

With dramatic shifts occurring in reaction to the Coronavirus pandemic, a number of changes in your market could be making your current brand strategy ineffective. As an effect, companies are working remotely, adjusting their retail presence, and adapting their products and services to serve new functionalities. You may be adjusting to new developments in your industry, new tech may have entered the picture altering the landscape, or perhaps a new business has emerged that could use your product. Whatever the case, consumer behavior and emotions are changing, having a direct effect on the marketplace, and as a result have created a new customer for your product. This customer is not the same as the one you’ve been marketing to, and consequently, you’re targeting the wrong customer with your current branding. As the environment evolves, if your brand remains rooted in the past, it will very likely be left there as well.

As your brand strategy and positioning shifts in response to the aftershocks in your markets and perhaps your entire industry, as the leader of your business it is critical for your brand’s survival that you examine your brand for any cracks in the foundation. You will also need to realign your positioning to ensure it reflects an image your customer still relates to in the current environment. To prevent collapse, and to remain relevant, you will need to decide if your brand simply needs to refresh its image with quick fixes and a fresh coat of paint or lay new foundation with a complete rebrand.


If no cracks are found in your bedrock, a refresh is the retrofit you need. A brand refresh is like a brand image makeover. While your brand’s foundation, messaging and core offering remain the same, your visual identity is updated to reflect the marketplace and reassure your customers that you still know what you’re doing. It includes reviewing and adjusting your brand’s voice and visual messaging to develop newer and fresher ways to more effectively connect and communicate with your audience. While a refresh is not as comprehensive as a rebrand, renovating your use of color, typography, logos and tone of voice can ensure you aren’t left behind as the new business as usual takes form.

In response to dramatic behavioral alterations of the current environment, perhaps you have already tried to adapt on the fly to keep customers interested. But trying different colors and new taglines to drive sales has pulled you off your brand strategy and has started to confuse your audience. A refresh will help you find focus and more consistently connect with your audience once again.

To help you understand if your brand is in need of a touch-up, here are our 7 signs your brand identity will need a refresh.


Rebranding is a lot more serious and should be approached accordingly. While a refresh applies aesthetic updates to your brand identity to help you remain relevant to your consumer, a rebrand looks more like a full teardown, excavation, rebuild of an entirely new structure because you are no longer relevant to your consumer. A complete rebrand looks to overhaul your brand from the foundation up. This process includes revisiting your brand foundation’s purpose, mission and vision statements, as well as your ethos and company values. Your entire brand identity, your logos, all brand messaging and even your brand name will be examined and most likely exchanged.

There are several reasons you will need to rebrand. Upon conducting an audit and collecting market research, you will get a better idea of how your brand is perceived and can therefore decide whether a quick fix or more drastic change is in order. You may opt for a rebrand if you find that your current brand no longer reflects and represents your consumer and their needs as it fails to communicate its message. If you have lost the ability to communicate and maintain connection with your audience, your brand will or already has become irrelevant. Alternatively, you may have made fundamental changes to your business, and your products leading you to serve new markets or different industries all together. Whatever the case you are no longer an effective fit for your existing audience. The extent to which your brand will be edited will be determined by how much your market or industry has shifted and how much your offerings and business strategy have changed.

As we continue to experience extreme shifts in the marketplace and in greater business ecosystems, brands will need to consider refreshing or rebranding to match what their audience is looking for. To remain relevant, relatable and trustworthy, you need to be thinking about your image, aware of your position in the marketplace, and prepared to overhaul your brand. At ATOMIC D we have a thorough process to help you assess whether you need to refresh or rebrand and can assist you every step of the way to a newer and more resilient you. As experts in branding and identity, we recognize how uncomfortable change can be, especially now. We also know that the lifeline of your business depends on a good presentation of your brand. Visit www.atomicd.co to learn more or contact us at hitme@atomicd.co.

Want to learn more about creating a great brand foundation? Read about our approach here.

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