Brand Refinement: Small Changes, Big Impact

Explore how strategic brand refinement can lead to significant improvements while keeping your brand's familiarity, offering a simpler solution to a complete rebrand.

We love working on and completely redesigning brands here at BizStream. However, for some clients, working through a full brand redesign may not be the right business decision for their marketing or business goals. For these clients, we suggest a brand refinement instead.

Brand refinement is a strategic decision that builds on the clients’ existing brand, no matter how much or how little of the brand may exist. The primary goal of a brand refinement is to fix or improve the parts of the brand that need updating while maintaining the brand recognition and brand equity that already exists with the current brand.

What’s Involved with a Brand Refinement?

A brand refinement follows the same process as a full brand redesign. The main difference is that the amount of the brand that is modified or updated at each step is more streamlined.

The branding process includes working through each of the following steps:

  1. Research and Discovery
  2. Messaging Platform
  3. Brand Identity
  4. Visual Brand Experience
  5. Brand Consistency
Clipart graphic of a man surrounded by technology.

1. Research and Discovery

Any project we work on requires some research and discovery. During this step, we take time to get to know and understand your business, your competitors, your customers’ needs, and what makes your business unique. We will also discuss how you use your brand in various media and the issues you are having.

For brand refinement we will:

  • Determine what parts of the existing brand need to stay the same (or similar)
  • Determine what parts of the brand will need to be improved
  • Decide what direction to take the updated brand
Clipart graphic of technology with an exclamation point, indicating importance

2. Messaging Platform

For the messaging platform, we will examine how you talk about your company and how you differentiate yourself in the marketing materials you produce. We will also work on developing your brand story and determining the key messages that best support it.

For brand refinement we will:

  • Build on the marketing headlines and messaging you currently use
  • Ensure tone and wording align with the new direction of the brand
colorful clipart graphic of technology with color swatches

3. Brand Identity

During the brand identity step, we will examine your brand’s core visuals, including your logo, color palette, and typography to the graphic elements and photographic imagery you use. Think of these as the “parts and pieces” of your brand. This step is very exciting as the first visual aspects of the brand start to take shape.

For brand refinement we will:

  • Explore any improvements that need to be made to your logo, color palette, or typography
  • Determine if the graphic elements or imagery used in current marketing materials aligns with the rest of the brand and update as needed
Clipart graphic with technology and tools

4. Visual Brand Experience

The visual brand experience is how the “parts and pieces” of your brand identity are uniquely put together for your brand. The visual brand experience step is all about developing the custom layouts, design elements, and photography treatments for all of your marketing materials and customer touchpoints. We like to call these custom treatments and layouts your “brand expressions.”

This is one of the most fun parts of any brand project. During this step, there is a lot of visual exploration, trying out different combinations of colors, fonts, graphic elements, and imagery to see which treatments are the most compelling and effective.

For brand refinement we will:

  • Evaluate the effectiveness of your current brand expressions and refine them if needed
  • Explore and develop any additional brand expressions for specific needs that may not have been considered previously (ie: social graphics, flyers, email newsletters, website UI/UX, etc.)

5. Brand Consistency

Once decisions have been made for your messaging, brand identity, and brand expressions, these choices need to be documented for use going forward. The brand consistency step is all about defining your brand standards to ensure consistency and maintain the integrity of your brand. This often takes the form of a brand guide that can be used internally or externally with any vendor who will need to work with your brand.

For brand refinement we will:

  • Update any existing brand standards with the new decisions made during the brand refinement process

It’s All About Making Your Brand the Best it Can Be

Ultimately, the strategy behind any brand update should be guided by a clear vision for the future of your brand and a deep understanding of your customers and your business goals. By taking a thoughtful and strategic approach to refining your brand, you can position yourself for long-term success and ensure that your brand remains relevant and impactful for years to come.

We’d Love to Elevate Your Brand, Too!

We’d love to help you with your next branding project. View our brand work or contact us to get started!

About the Author

Rex Rainey

Rex loves all things design but specializes in branding, web design, and illustration. He’s worked professionally as a designer, art director, and creative lead, at various interactive and branding agencies, since the mid-2000s. When not working, you can find Rex spending time with his family, watching the latest comic book movie/tv series, or deciding which sixth scale collectible he should purchase next.

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