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How to inject fresh energy into established B2B brands

May 23rd 2024

By Emily

Running a well-established B2B company has its advantages—brand recognition, a loyal customer base, and a strong market presence. But sometimes, a pivotal moment arrives that signals the need for change.

For us at KOTA, for example, that moment came when we realised our long-serving website and brand no longer reflected our capabilities and was ready for an upgrade (you can read more about that here).

Breathing new life into your established brand can re-energise your team, draw in new clients, and keep your existing customers engaged. Here’s some ideas for how to refresh your brand and keep it vibrant.

When not to refresh your brand

Sorry – a bit of a record-screech moment, here – but before you go all in on your brand refresh, you need to take a step back and think:

Don’t fix what isn’t broken

Beloved brands often have deep-rooted recognition, a loyal customer base, and a rich history that shouldn’t be hastily altered. Think of brands like Coca-Cola and Ford—while they’ve modernised over the years, they’ve retained their core elements. Sometimes, the strength of a brand lies in its consistency and familiarity. If your customers have a strong affinity for your brand, significant changes might do more harm than good.

Several (mainly B2C) brands have experienced backlash from ill-considered refreshes. Remember the Gap logo fiasco in 2010? The brand attempted a logo change that was met with overwhelming negative feedback, forcing them to revert to the original within a week.

Another example is Tropicana, which changed its packaging design in 2009 only to see a 20% drop in sales and ultimately reverting to the original design. And we all remember the outraged LinkedIn buzz around that WHSmith rebrand trial last year, don’t we? (luckily, it was just a test to see if it would work – spoiler: it didn’t).

These examples highlight the risks of making drastic changes without thoroughly understanding customer sentiment. So, if you’re still looking to refresh your brand, go forth, but make sure you’re making smart, strategic enhancements that resonate with your audience and reflect your brand’s core values.

Still feel a need for a change?

First, get all your ducks in a row. Before diving into a brand refresh, it’s crucial to thoroughly assess your current standing and gather the necessary insights. Here’s how to get started:

Listen to feedback

The first step in reviving your brand is recognising that change is needed. This requires actively listening to feedback from all corners of your business ecosystem.

  • Clients: Your customers are your best critics. Conduct surveys, focus groups, or one-on-one interviews to gather their opinions on your products, services, and overall brand experience. Look for recurring themes—are there frequent complaints about your website’s usability, product functionality, or customer service? These insights can highlight areas in dire need of improvement.
  • Employees: Your team interacts with your brand every day and can offer invaluable insights. Create open forums for feedback, such as regular team meetings or anonymous suggestion boxes. Pay attention to their comments about outdated tools, inefficient processes, or aspects of the brand that no longer resonate with them. An engaged and motivated team is essential for a successful brand refresh.
  • Industry peers: Networking with others in your industry can provide a broader perspective on your brand’s standing. Go to industry conferences, participate in professional associations, and engage in discussions with peers to understand how your brand is perceived within the market.

Use this feedback as a catalyst for change. If you’re getting consistent comments about outdated practices, products, or messaging, it’s a clear indicator that it’s time to evolve.

Analyse market trends

Staying ahead in your industry requires a keen understanding of the latest trends. Regularly analysing market trends ensures your brand remains competitive and relevant.

  • Tech: Are your competitors adopting new technologies that improve efficiency or enhance customer experience? If they’re leveraging AI, automation, or other advanced tools, consider how these innovations could benefit your business.
  • Business model shifts: Pay attention to changes in business models within your industry. For example, if subscription-based services are becoming more popular, it might be worth exploring how this model could apply to your offerings.
  • Brand modernisation: Take a gander at how other companies are modernising their brands. Are they updating their visual identities, revising their messaging, or adopting new marketing strategies? Understanding these shifts can provide inspiration for your own brand refresh.
  • Consumer behaviour: Keep an eye on changing consumer behaviours and preferences. This can involve anything from preferred communication channels to purchasing habits. Adapting to these changes can help you better meet your customers’ needs.

How to refresh your brand identity

Update your visuals

One of the most immediate ways to inject fresh energy into your brand is by updating your visual identity. This doesn’t necessarily mean a complete overhaul but rather a thoughtful refresh that respects your brand’s history while embracing modern aesthetics.

  • Logo redesign: A logo is the face of your brand. Consider a redesign that modernises your look without losing the essence of what makes your logo recognisable. This might involve simplifying complex elements, updating the colour scheme, or refining the typography.
  • Colour palette: Colours evoke emotions and can significantly impact brand perception. Evaluate your current colour palette and consider introducing more contemporary shades. Ensure that the new colours align with the emotions you want to evoke and the message you want to convey.
  • Typography: Fonts can say a lot about your brand. Choose contemporary fonts that are clean and easy to read, yet distinctive enough to make an impact. Ensure consistency across all platforms to maintain a cohesive look and feel.
  • Website and marketing materials: Your website is often the first point of contact for potential clients. Modernise your site with a clean design, intuitive navigation, and engaging visuals. Ensure your marketing materials—brochures, business cards, and social media graphics—reflect the updated visual identity for a seamless brand experience.

Revise your messaging

Language is powerful, and updating your brand’s messaging can make a significant impact on how your audience perceives you. A key part of this process is updating your buyer personas to ensure your tone still hits the mark.

  • Clear and concise: Cut the fluff. Simplify your language to ensure it’s clear and easily understood. Avoid jargon and focus on plain, straightforward communication that anyone can grasp. Your updated buyer personas will help you nail down the language that truly resonates with your audience.
  • Customer-centric: Speak their language. Tailor your messaging to address your clients’ current needs and pain points. As you update your buyer personas, you’ll uncover what’s keeping them up at night. Highlight how your products or services solve their problems and make their lives easier, reflecting their real-world priorities and challenges.
  • Unique value proposition: Stand out from the crowd. Clearly articulate what sets you apart from the competition. With updated buyer personas, you can zero in on the unique strengths and benefits that hit home with your audience. Make sure this proposition is consistently communicated across all channels, so it’s crystal clear why your brand is the best choice for them.
  • Consistency: Keep it together. Ensure that your revised messaging is consistent across all touchpoints. From your website and social media to email marketing and customer service interactions, a unified voice strengthens your brand identity and builds trust. Use your updated buyer personas to keep your tone on point, speaking directly to your audience’s needs and preferences every step of the way.

Embrace storytelling

People connect with stories, not stats. Sharing your brand’s journey, values, and vision in an engaging and relatable way can create a deep emotional connection with your audience.

  • Brand journey: Spin the tale of your brand—how it all started, the hurdles you’ve jumped, and the milestones you’ve hit. Make it personal and authentic, showcasing the human side of your business.
  • Core values: Let’s talk about what makes you tick. Share the values that drive your brand. Explain why these values matter to you and how they shape your business decisions. This builds trust and aligns your brand with like-minded clients.
  • Vision for the future: Paint a picture of where your brand is headed. Share your goals, dreams, and the impact you aim to make. This forward-looking perspective can inspire your audience and build loyalty.
  • Case studies and testimonials: Use real-world examples to show your brand’s impact. Case studies and client testimonials provide solid proof of your value and can be incredibly persuasive. Highlight specific successes and let your satisfied clients tell their stories.
  • Multimedia content: Mix it up with different content formats to tell your story. Use videos, podcasts, and infographics to create engaging, multi-dimensional narratives that capture and hold your audience’s attention.

How to refresh your offerings

Another idea is to refresh your B2B offerings. Giving your products and services a fresh spin can keep your brand vibrant and ahead of the curve.

Develop new products or services

Staying relevant means thinking ahead. And developing new products or services that meet emerging needs in your industry is essential.

  • Embrace new technologies: Embrace the latest tech trends to create innovative solutions. Whether it’s integrating AI to enhance user experience or using blockchain for secure transactions, staying tech-savvy keeps you ahead of the competition.
  • Explore untapped markets: Look beyond your current customer base. Are there industries or demographics you haven’t tapped into yet? Expanding into new markets can open up fresh revenue streams and broaden your brand’s appeal.
  • Expand your service offerings: Think about complementary services that can add value to your existing products. For instance, if you sell software, consider offering training or consulting services to help clients get the most out of your product. HubSpot do this really nicely.

Enhance what you’ve got

Sometimes, the best way to inject fresh energy is by improving what you already offer. Gather feedback from clients to identify areas for enhancement. Whether it’s adding new features, improving usability, or offering additional support, enhancing your existing solutions can provide new value to your customers.

  • Add new features: Listen to your customers’ needs and add features that address their pain points. This not only improves user satisfaction but also keeps your product competitive.
  • Improve usability: A product that’s easy to use will always win hearts. Streamline your user interface, simplify processes, and ensure your solutions are intuitive.
  • Offer additional support: Providing stellar customer support can set you apart. Consider adding new support channels like live chat, detailed FAQs, or even AI-driven helpdesks to assist your clients better.

Invest in tech

In 2024, investing in technology is essential. Using cutting-edge tools and platforms can streamline your operations, improve your customer service, and open up new opportunities for your next big idea.

  • Streamline your operations: Use technology to automate repetitive tasks, reduce errors, and improve efficiency. From CRM systems to AI-driven analytics, the right tech can make your business run smoother and give you more time to concentrate
  • Improve your customer service: Leverage technology to enhance your customer service. Implement chatbots for instant support, use CRM systems to keep track of customer interactions, and employ AI to provide personalised recommendations.

Measure and adjust

To gauge the success of your brand revival efforts, you’ve GOT to set clear and measurable goals. These could include metrics like website traffic, lead generation, social media engagement, and customer satisfaction. Regularly review these metrics to assess progress and make necessary adjustments.

Another smart move is to collect feedback from employees, clients and stakeholders to understand the impact of your brand refresh. Make sure you maintain open and transparent communication with your team. Keep them informed about the brand refresh, involve them in the process, and seek their input. A united team is more likely to embrace and promote the new direction enthusiastically. What do they think of the new look and messaging? Are they finding value in the updated products or services? Use this feedback to refine your strategy and address any issues.

And remember, revamping your brand is an ongoing process. Stay agile and be prepared to adapt as needed. Monitor industry trends, listen to your audience, and remain open to new ideas. Continuous improvement is key to maintaining a vibrant and relevant brand, after all.

To sum it up…

Reviving your brand isn’t just about a fresh coat of paint; it’s about injecting new life into every aspect of your business. By recognising the need for change, refreshing your identity, innovating your offerings, re-engaging your audience, and empowering your team, you can ensure your established B2B company stays dynamic and competitive.

Don’t forget, the key to a successful brand revival is not just change for the sake of change, but thoughtful, strategic enhancements that resonate with your audience and reflect your brand’s core values. Embrace the process and watch your brand come alive with fresh energy and renewed purpose.

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We are a Creative Digital Agency based in Clerkenwell London, specialising in Creative Web Design, Web Development, Branding and Digital Marketing.