When business growth stagnates, talk inevitably turns to increasing advertising, website redesign, lowering fees, etc. to earn back former clients and entice new prospects. All of those tactics can be effective, but only if they send the right message to your audience. So, if your firm’s growth has slowed, referrals aren’t as strong as they once were, or you’re having trouble recruiting top talent, it may be time to consider a brand refresh.

Having to refine your branding strategy does not mean your brand has failed. On the contrary, the evolution of your brand can be the natural outcome of your growth and changes in the market. But research shows that brands that do not refresh every 5 to 10 years will be out of synch with the marketplace and struggle to remain relevant.

Your brand is more than just your name and logo. At its core, it’s the essential message you send to the marketplace to communicate your story and promise. When done well, your brand will help you to accomplish important marketing objectives, including the following:

  • Share your values and vision with the marketplace, which will help you attract both new clients and top talent.
  • Increase brand awareness—your firm’s visibility—in your market.
  • Encourage referrals by giving influencers a clear and consistent message they can share with others.
  • Furnish employees with a compelling and consistent vision that will influence their work
  • Encourage employees and clients to be advocates of your firm on social media and in networks.
  • Attract top talent
  • Command higher fees—The percentage varies by industry, but a recent study showed that top brands can earn up to 32% higher fees than lesser known competitors.

If your growth has slowed, you are entering into a new market or offering a new service, or the visuals associated with your brand looks dated or “tired” it is time to refresh your brand.

Growth rate has slowed

Flat growth or an inability to get to the next level are important indicators that your brand may no longer be relevant. Lack of a clear and compelling brand message makes it harder for prospects to quickly understand what you do and how you can help them.

Prospective clients and top talent commit themselves to strong brands with a compelling vision of the future. If your message and brand are unclear, influencers can’t articulate your advantage to prospects. And if your brand seems outdated or unclear to those outside your firm, it will also be perceived that way by your own staff and potential job candidates

Entering a New Market or Offering a New Service

Humans are interesting creatures. We are capable of great depth and complexity, but our internal filing systems are stubbornly simple. Perceptions are not easily changed. Once a business becomes known for a particular service, it’s very hard to change people’s perceptions of that business.

A significant change in your firm will also likely require a change in your brand and your messaging. Unveiling a new logo or tagline are very effective ways to introduce your changes to the marketplace and begin to change how prospects and clients perceive you.

Your visual brand looks tired

We know from our research that 80% of people who are referred to a firm check out that firm’s website before reaching out. If you are hesitant to send prospects to your website or feel sheepish when you present the outdated graphics in your firm’s PowerPoint deck, it’s time for a refresh.

The speed of today’s market drives graphic design trends and tastes. Websites and collateral need to be refreshed every few years to look relevant to the marketplace. A website that looks outdated—or does not address the problems the prospect is trying to solve—can quickly deter a prospect from further interest. And a competitor with a fresher, more on-point message is just a click or two away. Even small tweaks like updated images, font, and new colors can make a big difference.

Whether your goal is to bolster your firm’s growth, increase awareness in the industry, or simply to remain relevant in today’s dynamic marketplace, a brand refresh is something to consider before investing precious time and money in tactics (advertising, brochures, etc.) that will be sending an outdated or ineffective message.