When’s the last time you ordered new business cards? How long have you had the same website layout?

Think of refreshing your brand as getting a new haircut or new clothes. You are not changing the core, but sprucing up a few things on the outside. You don’t want to be sporting leg warmers and a mullet.

In fact, fashion and web trends have about the same shelf life. Here are some benchmarks to keep in mind when it comes to refreshing your brand.

After a Noticeable Change

If your company has gone through a major change it might be a good idea to make a minor change on the outside as well. Change in ownership, management, industry, and budget can all be good indicators that it’s time for a branding makeover. Making subtle changes to your brand tells your clients and prospects that you are making improvements to your business while maintaining the same core principles they have come to expect.

Perhaps you have just moved to a new location physically. If you will be ordering new letterhead, business cards, and checks anyway, why not take advantage of this opportunity to revamp your stationary and website to match your new location?

Ad Campaigns and Seasons

Running an ad campaign? Make sure you update the appropriate business materials. You’ll want to make sure your landing pages and social headers match the season or ad campaign.

This doesn’t mean you should rework your branding guide every time a holiday comes along. You can change your brand too often and that will actually hurt your business instead of building your brand.

Individual campaigns should match your overall brand. Art style, typefaces, color schemes, and content should still fit with the general company style. However, these events create special opportunities for you to have a little fun with your marketing materials. This allows you to mix things up and keep your content fresh without damaging your brand by making too many changes too quickly.

During Noticeable Trends

If your brand isn’t following the latest design and marketing trends, what are you waiting for? If your website looks like it’s from the 90s, you might be better off without a website. The latest ideas are not always the best, but chances are you’ve heard about the latest trend because it is successful. Ideas become trends when they prove to be successful in the market place.

If you’re noticing a trend in the marketing world, whether it is a design or a marketing tactic, chances are your clients have noticed the trend as well. It may not be a conscious thought, but they know whether you are following the latest trends. If you’re not, they wonder why.

The trick with branding and trends is to not change too early or too late. You want to be able to find that sweet spot and make small modifications while riding the ever changing tide of marketing trends.

High Traffic Areas

High traffic areas like homepages and billboards should be refreshed more often than other areas of your business. High traffic areas get viewed so often they can lose their effectiveness and become white noise.

Making changes to these areas can keep people engaged and interested in your brand. Again, you don’t need to revamp your entire brand, but you should keep things changing enough to be noticed.

Dynamic content is a great way to do this with websites. It’s harder to do but even billboards are starting to incorporate dynamic content. Hospitals are beginning to show how long the wait is for an ER visit. Signs in front of businesses are becoming digital and show fresh content almost as easily as websites these days.

Every So Often

Sometimes you just need to revamp your brand. A good way to keep your finger on the pulse of branding is to watch big businesses. They spend millions of dollars researching all of these things and often set the trends that become popular.

Pick a handful of big businesses to follow and revamp your brand when they revamp theirs. It’s not a foolproof plan, but it is a cheap way to make sure you’re changing enough but not too often.

Another key indicator is if your profile picture doesn’t have gray hair and you do. If you look through your website and see employees that no longer work for you, or vehicles that are long since retired, it might be time for a revamp.

Chances are if you are wondering whether it’s time to refresh your brand, then it probably is.