The recent brand refreshes, and subsequent memes, of Burger King, General Motors and, erm, the CIA might have you looking at your brand’s own offering and thinking it could do with some attention. Hiring a specialised agency to do a complete overhaul is definitely not necessary, or affordable, for the vast majority of businesses – this is about using what’s at your disposal and getting creative.

1. Realign your core values and mission. 

Are they up to date and reflective of where you’re currently at as a business? Is the why still the same as it was – and are your target customers still the same group of people or has that changed?

2. Check out the competition.

This isn’t about imitation, but it’s useful to know what others are doing. Think of three of your core competitors and get analysing. Note their value proposition, their tag lines and key messaging, logo, fonts, tone of voice, website and social presence. Are you standing out from what they’re doing?

3. Think about your words. 

Your messaging and tone of voice need to be consistent across the board. Is the way you speak on IG the same as your newsletter or website copy? And is that tone reflective of what you want your brand to be, and how your customers speak? Check out our guide to creating a consistent tone of voice.

4. Think about your visual identity. 

When it comes to your logo, colour palette, photography and typography, it’s not about ripping up everything and starting again. Instead, consider how you can improve what you have. 

• Typography. Perhaps switch from a serif to a sans serif, or adding in an accent font for more prominent brand projects.

• Colours. Do you have a primary and secondary colour palette that you’re happy with – and can you lean more on that secondary palette to change things up? 

• Photography. Research and create moodboards of the direction you want to go in, and slowly build in those changes.

5. Get some standards in place. 

Brand standards are a set of guidelines that’ll inform how and when you use the different elements of your brand. You can get into a lot of detail here – as these excellent online examples from Skype, Uber and Dropbox show. These might not be applicable for your business, but you should cover some basics like how, when and where you’ll use logos, photography, different fonts and graphic elements.

6. Evaluate what you’re putting out. 

Look at everything you do – from emails and merch to your website and packaging – and match it up against those standards. If some areas fail to meet them, that stuff will need updating. 

A version of this article was published in the Courier Weekly newsletter. For more useful stories, tips, tricks and simply good advice, sign up here.

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