Rebrand vs refresh

Rebrand vs Refresh…and what’s the difference?

In a world where attention spans are decreasing and the propensity to buy and research a company online is dramatically increasing, it is imperative that your brand remains fresh, current and reflective of your business.

Just like fashion, the look of your brand identity can feel dated after a while, so it’s understandable that many businesses rashly decide that a rebrand is in order.

But is a rebrand what you need? Or could a brand refresh be the answer?

The difference between the two concepts can often be confusing, so having just undergone a brand refresh at jamjar, we thought it was timely to put together a blog to help clear up any confusion.

But before we start, we think it’s as important to sum up what a brand is, as many incorrectly assume it’s just a logo.

What is a brand?

Your brand isn’t just your logo, name, culture or marketing efforts. Your brand is your company DNA. It’s your image, reputation, personality, point of distinction and promise to everyone who experiences it. It’s the culmination of it all that when combined work together to create a whole brand. Each piece is as crucial as the next, and you can’t have one without the support of the others or your brand will fall flat.

Rebrand or Refresh – what’s the difference?

We think a good way of differentiating between the two is using a property development analogy!

Is it a fresh coat of paint that you need or a complete rebuild of the property?

Do you need to refresh what you have to make it more current or should you “kill” the brand and start again?


A rebrand is essentially a complete reworking of your brand. It’s more than a brand redefinition or even a reposition. It’s a full restart and the end of the current brand and all that it stands for.

Everything from your name and aesthetics to your brand strategy will be completely different.

A rebrand is the right decision when your brand can’t go on as it is.

It may be due to new ownership or leadership, when your business is going in a new direction, or when your brand equity is negative or heading that way.


A refresh is a makeover of the current brand. It can as subtle as tweaks to the logo to make it fresh, current and up-to-date with the direction of the company. But it can also be a ceiling-to-floor rethink of how the brand not only looks but also how it delivers, speaks and operates.

The reason it’s different to a rebrand is because the brand’s DNA remains intact. The brand retains its core market position, its brand equity and values, but opens the door to change other aspects of the brand as required.

When to refresh?

  • To update an older brand and make it appealing to a current/new audience.
  • To address current market conditions.
  • When it feels disconnected from your offerings

Examples of brand refreshes

Ours is a good example of a brand refresh.

Our old brand was no longer fit for purpose as we now offer so much more than just PR – Marketing, Creative, Digital and Social. It was time to drop the PR from our name and get a new, fresh look.

Other examples include:

  • Converse
  • Airbnb
  • Netflix
  • Starbucks
  • Youtube

Rebrands gone wrong

If rebranding is the answer, be mindful that it can be intensive, costly and if not done right, can go horribly wrong.

A local one that springs to mind is Cardiff City. When new owner Vincent Tan took over, he decided to change Cardiff City’s brand identity as much as possible.

Known as the Bluebirds, with a history of blue kits and a blue logo, when Mr Tan took over, he decided to change the kit from blue to red, along with replacing the blue bird on the logo to a red dragon. Fair enough, he was playing up to the Welsh flag, but it just didn’t make sense.

To add to the confusion, Vincent Tan decided to let the team keep their original nickname and added a small blue bird to the bottom of their predominately red logo. Eeks!

Not only was the rebrand costly in terms of monetary value, it also cost Cardiff City the faith and trust of a selection of their newly confused fans. Needless to say our beloved Bluebirds are now back in blue!

What’s the right move for my business?

Hopefully, we’ve shed some light on the difference between the two concepts.

But before you decide to revamp your brand ask yourselves these questions:

  • Why are we proposing a change?
  • What would be the goal of a rebrand/refresh?
  • What is our brand equity – good/bad?
  • What will we be able to do as a result of this change that we have never been able to do up until now – and how do we know that?
  • If we took a more/less radical approach, what would we gain/lose – and would that be worth it?

Any questions?

If you need any further advice or have taken the decision to rebrand or refresh your brand and need some creative support, we’d love to hear from.