5 situations that call for refreshing your brand identity 

Branding still matters. In congested markets, a brand identity might be all that differentiates an organization from others. But your organization’s brand isn’t static, and regularly reviewing whether it’s still effective is essential. Here are five situations that call for refreshing your brand identity.

1. You haven’t refreshed your brand identity in years

Just like your dad, who refuses to replace his Lee jeans circa 1975, your organization may be long overdue for a branding overhaul. Those jeans might be “perfectly serviceable,” but they’re sending out a not-with-the-times vibe. It’s the same with brand identities. Typography, visual metaphors, and even colours go in and out of style over the course of several years. 

Even if you manage an established and traditional nonprofit, you still need to convey that you understand contemporary audiences and their awareness of design trends. Your visual brand and positioning convey a lot about your organization, whether a nonprofit or business and first impressions, as we know, are lasting. 

If it’s been several years since you’ve cast a critical eye on your brand, it’s time to evaluate if it’s due for an upgrade. Even a slight logo refresh can put a new spring in your organization’s step. If it’s been well over a decade since you created your brand, it’s likely past its expiration date and in need of an overhaul. 

2. Your brand doesn’t fit what your organization does

Maybe your brand was never a good fit for your organization. You might have rushed through the branding process in the early days of your startup. We get it. A lot of new companies start with little more than a basic logo.

Or, perhaps your business has grown in a direction you didn’t anticipate when you were starting out. The pandemic meant that many organizations had to pivot to survive and, as a result, morphed into a different kind of business. In this case, the look, feel, and messaging that is part of your brand likely needs to pivot too.

3. Your brand no longer conveys a clear voice

Effective branding requires that everything about how the public perceives your company is aligned. The feeling your visual identity imparts should mesh with the language you use, the style of your website and other materials, and the experience your audience has when they connect with you both online and in person.

You might have added new products, programs, or services to your business over the years, but your brand hasn’t evolved with the changes. Soon, every division or department has developed its own “style,” and you wake up to realize that you have several “brands” going on under one roof. That’s a clear indicator it’s time to reign it all in so that your organization speaks in one strong and consistent voice.

4. You want to recharge your company with a new look

The branding process can have the same effect as changing your hair colour, growing a beard, or donning a new hat. Suddenly, the world looks at you differently, and you feel energized as a result. Updating your identity can open up possibilities for your company that you hadn’t thought of before. 

Branding is an investment that can also bring staff and leadership teams together to crystalize what your organization values, delivers, and aspires to be. When it’s part of a strategic business plan or reorganization, a new brand identity can be a visual anchor that indicates your objectives have changed.

5. Your organizational mission has become more purposeful

Motivated by the pandemic, perhaps your company, like thousands of others, has decided to adopt a purpose-based approach to your work. That might include taking the path towards B Corporation certification, which verifies that your business acts as a force for social good. If your post-pandemic plans involve creating a more sustainable and equitable economy through your company, your brand identity should reflect that.

Nonprofits are also becoming more nimble, refining their missions to tackle more tractable issues around community, climate, and justice. A refreshed brand identity offers a way to excite and educate your donors, funders, and members about the work on the horizon.