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How to determine if your creative business needs a brand refresh or a full rebrand

Brand Identity
min read
In this article

How many times have you found yourself thinking “I feel like rebranding my whole business” or “I'm so bored with my colours. I feel like changing them up” or “Is it time for a new logo?”

… Yep, I know you’re thinking about it.

Look, I’ll be the first to say that it is so easy to randomly change things up, especially when they feel like productive things to do.

It’s so tempting to update your brand all the time, especially when things aren't working , you're feeling bored with the actual work that you do, or maybe you've seen a new trend that you really want to try.

But the real question is, how do you know if you actually need to update your brand at all? And if you do, whether you need a small refresh or a full rebrand (cause yep, there’s a difference!). 

Being able to strategically analyse and audit your brand is going to make you be able to make informed decisions about the health of your brand and what to do with it so that you can make the most of your time, your money, and your effort.

I want you to make sure that you are spending your time on the things that matter. And I don't want you to waste money hiring somebody or waste your time rebranding everything if you really don't need to. 

On the other hand, if you actually do need a rebrand, then I want you to make sure that you're focusing on the parts of your rebrand that need updating.

Today I'm going to walk you through exactly how to analyse the health of your brand so that you can know what you need to do next when it comes to your visual identity. 

So how do you know when it's time to do that and make sure that you are making the right decision? There are three main steps and three main ways that you can do this and make this decision for your business. 

Step 1: Self-Check-In and Brand Reflection

First things first, ask yourself how you feel about your brand right now.

Do you like your brand? Does it represent you well? Does it feel like you? Does it align with your vision and your mission? Does it reflect your current era or style of work? Does it show off who you are in the best way possible? Does it match the quality of your work and your expertise? And most importantly… are you proud to show it to people and send people to look at it?

There are a lot of questions you could ask, but these are some that I recommend asking yourself. You can do this just by journaling, writing it down, just thinking about it, getting support from your coach, or even just chatting with a friend about it.

After you have asked these questions and answered them, I want you to weigh up how many yeses or positive answers you have to these questions versus how many no's you have.

Next, let's move on to step number two.

Step 2: Gathering External Feedback

Sometimes we can be too close to our own brand. You can't see the forest for the trees. Or maybe you can't see the label because you're inside the jar, right? So the goal here? Get feedback from outside of your brand.

External feedback helps you to make sure that you don't have a warped view of what is going on, because, for example, you might think that everything’s perfect and that it’s really clear to your audience what you do, but actually it’s really confusing to them.

On the other hand, you might think that your brand is a total disaster, when in actual fact it’s perfectly fine, your audience loves it and nothing needs to change at all. So what we need to do here is get some feedback. 

The three main places and people that I recommend getting feedback from are:

  1. Customers and audience members who aren't customers
  2. People who don't know who you are (aka they’ve never heard of you before)
  3. People who know you really well (like friends, family, colleagues etc)

This will give you a range of different answers and perspectives on your brand so that you're not getting a biased or swayed version.

Customers and people who have been in your audience for a really long time are already quite loyal to you. Whereas strangers are people who have probably never seen your brand or heard of you before. Your friends and family, on the other hand, have a really unique experience because they know you very well. They’re going to know whether your brand represents you and whether it reflects your personality well (they do know you the best, after all!)

Questions you can ask them are similar to the ones you asked yourself in step 1:

Do you like my brand? Do you think it represents me? Do you think it feels like me? What feelings does my brand evoke in you? What do you think that I do from looking at my brand? What descriptive words would you associate with my brand? How consistent or cohesive would you rate my brand from 1 to 10? Does my brand make you want to follow me or buy from me? What other businesses does my brand remind you of?

Once you have their answers, try to weigh up the positive feedback you're getting and the negative feedback. What is the feedback you expected versus the feedback you didn't expect? What fits what you wanted to hear versus what you didn't want to hear and try and weigh up those results.

Step 3: Conducting a Detailed Brand Audit

Last but not least becomes the more methodical part of this process.

For the final step, I want you to go through every part of your brand and rate how you think it is performing or how good you think it is. I have a resource for this, and it's called The Ultimate Branding Checklist (plus it’s free!).

The Ultimate Branding Checklist not only shows you this process, but it also teaches you about every part of the brand and all the things that go into branding. You can use it as a checklist and as an auditing process.

The checklist is free, however, if you decide to upgrade to the paid version, you can get all of the Notion and Trello templates, where you can check off each individual element of your brand and decide if it’s bad, good or great, and if it needs work or not.

You want to repeat this process for every part of your brand: Your brand strategy, your brand identity, literally everywhere your brand identity is applied. I’m talking about your Instagram stories, your Instagram highlights, your website, packaging, invoices, receipts, signage, and everything like that.

Inside the checklist, you can use coloured tags, but if you don't have the templates, then you could just write this down, use Post-its, or use highlighters etc. 

Once you’ve gone through your entire brand from top to bottom, you then need to count them all up, which will tell you what level of work your brand needs. For example, if you have just a couple of red things that need work, you can just fix those. No problem. You probably don't need any rebranding at all. 

On the other hand, maybe you noticed that you have a couple things you need to update on your website or you don’t have any covers on your Instagram highlights (aka simple fixes!) so you can just go and do those, no problem.

However, if by completing this process you realise that you actually have a handful of things that could do with some work and need a refresh or an update, it’s likely that a small brand refresh is on the cards for you. 

And of course, last but not least, if you are missing a lot of things and what you did have was quite out of date and not cohesive and in need of some help, it's rebrand time for you, baby!

I need to rebrand, now what?!

Once you’ve combined your audit from step 3, your feedback from step 2, and your own personal reflections and self-check-in from step 1, you should now have a pretty good picture of where your brand is at and what you need to do from here. 

So now, instead of jumping into redesigning everything, or hiring someone to overhaul it all, maybe you've found out that actually you just need to refresh a few things.

Or maybe instead of jumping around updating random pieces here and there every couple of months, you've figured out that what you really need is to do a dedicated rebrand and look at it all together as one. 

This is the entire process that you can do to figure out intentionally, strategically, and analytically what you actually need to do for your brand instead of, here and there randomly, sporadically changing things every now and then and doing things out of boredom or because trends are coming up or because you're just feeling the urge to rebrand, which I know happens and I know it's tempting.

Need help creating a cohesive brand personality as a multi-passionate creative? This guide will help you do just that.

Branding is an intentional process and once you start thinking about it like that, you can get really strategic and see so much progress in your creative business. You start to see how branding can be the thing that fuels your growth as a creative business and brings you customers, opportunities, and audience growth, all because you started treating it as a tool in your business.

So the next time you feel the urge to rebrand something, stop yourself, and do this process to make an informed decision on what’s the right next step for you.

As I mentioned, you can use The Ultimate Branding Checklist to help you do the brand audit. It's free, and there is a paid upgrade to it if you want to get all of the different templates to help you.

Otherwise, if you are ready to have a brand that like feels uniquely yours and brings in customers on repeat, then you should enrol in The Next Level Creative™ so that you can start growing your audience, increasing your visibility, and securing those brand-building opportunities for your business. 

And as soon as you join, you can dive straight into the brand identity lessons and share your brand identity with me to make sure that it is working. (I'm a brand identity expert. I do this for a living. I can give you feedback and make sure that it's top-quality work!) And then you can also collaborate and chat with your fellow artists as well, who are doing this process too. 

So if you want to make progress and you want to start taking your brand seriously and see how it can help you to get customers and take it to the next level, then join The Next Level Creative™.

Other than that, I hope this has been really helpful for you. I can't wait to see the results of your brand audit. And of course, if you have any questions or want to chat about doing the brand audit and determining whether you need to do a brand refresh or rebrand at all you can always come and chat to me on Instagram or threads @makerandmoxie. I'm happy to chat with you anytime!

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April 10, 2024

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The Ultimate Branding Checklist

Your go-to-branding guide is just a click away!

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