Deciding whether to refresh or rebrand is a decision most businesses face at some point. The deciding factor on whether it needs a brand overhaul or a surface level refresh comes down to the challenges the business is facing. Though both terms are seemingly similar, in practice they are completely different.

What is the difference between a brand refresh and rebranding?

Although a brand refresh is first and foremost a cosmetic solution, it’s also a powerful way of reframing your brand. Think of refreshing as giving your brand a lick of paint. It includes changes to logos, colour palettes, typography, slogans, culture and services. 

In comparison, a rebrand is far more dramatic than a brand refresh. Rather than updating the decor, this is more like bulldozing through what you’ve built and then starting over.  It includes changing your image and personality or even establishing your business in a new market.

It’s important to make the distinction between a brand refresh and a rebrand. Here are a few pointers to help you decide which option is right for your business.

When is a brand refresh strategy the right choice?

If your brand feels outdated but is intrinsically strong with a positive perception, a brand refresh can be beneficial.  This is because brand refresh strategy usually focuses on repurposing your visual identity.

If you answer yes to any of these questions, that’s a good indication that the time is right for a brand refresh:

  • Are you embarrassed to use branded collateral like letterheads and business cards?

  • Has your company evolved?

  • Does your logo look outdated?

  • Do customers respond negatively to your website? 

  • Is your brand’s essence different to the visual identity of your brand?

  • Does your company struggle to attract the right employees?

It’s important to consider a brand refresh strategy especially when it comes to staying ahead of your competition. Businesses that stagnate quickly become irrelevant. So, implementing a brand refresh can help you stay up-to-date with market trends and give you a competitive edge.

Keep in mind that a brand refresh is not changing who you are as a company, it’s just getting rid of anything that is no longer relevant. It’s a way of improving communication with your audience.

When is a rebranding strategy the right choice?

Rebranding is not a decision that you should take lightly. In fact, a rebrand usually costs a company 5-10% of its yearly marketing budget. So, when is the right time to rebrand? 

Rebranding tackles challenges that a refresh can’t, like negative brand perception and misalignment. Here are some other situations that could require a rebrand:

  • A recent business merger or acquisition

  • Changing your business model or strategy

  • A PR disaster resulting in a negative brand image

  • Blending in with the competition

  • Having no competitive edge

If your current brand becomes unsustainable or ends up on a downward trajectory that you cannot fix, rebranding is the right option.

A rebrand does require more budget and resources than a refresh nut the dividends are rewarding. To successfully rebrand, using an experienced agency can help you reap more benefits.


When it comes to branding, whether to rebrand or refresh is one of the most frequently asked questions. Remember, a brand refresh is a great solution for surface-level issues. Whereas if your brand has deeper rooted challenges, rebranding is the right option. 

Whichever option you need, one of the most important things to do is find a trusted branding agency.  At Studio LWD, we have a wealth of experience refreshing brands and rebranding across various industries.

So, to talk about your brand, get in touch here.