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The Brainy Business | Understanding the Psychology of Why People Buy | Behavioral Economics

Apr 19, 2019

How do you know when it is time to rebrand? I’ve been getting this question a lot by clients and listeners on social media. This inspired me to do this episode on deciding whether to rebrand, refresh or reinforce. Last week, I launched into branding by discussing what makes a brainy brand and how you can use behavioral economics to help make your brand as strong as possible

Now it’s time to talk about rebranding, refreshing or reinforcing your brand (including when and why you would do each one). During this episode I am going to talk about the difference between rebranding, a brand refresh and what it means to reinforce your brand…as well as examples of each one with advice to help you decide when you should do each in your own business.


Show Notes


  • [05:32] Questions like “Why did you start your business?” and “What is the dream?” are so important for overall brand conversations in companies of any size…but they can be particularly meaningful for small businesses.
  • [06:07] The most common thing I find when I go through this process with clients is that they are not thinking out far enough into the future. They plan what they need to do to make money today instead of planning out a sustainable business for 5, 10 or 20 years in the future.
  • [06:32] When I ask people what the ideal business would look like…they are usually building a completely different business today than what they want to have in 5 years. This is a recipe for being stuck in a business that runs you instead of creating a business and life you love.
  • [08:37] When something is off, customers can feel it and it impacts everything. It could also make business owners who could have been really successful get resentful and not love their business.
  • [09:15] When you get to a point where you need to rethink things many start to ask if they should rebrand.
  • [09:34] When you have a brand that fits your company…one that resonates with customers…everything just clicks.
  • [11:38] REBRANDING means you are changing everything: new name, new logo, new colors, maybe a new target demographic and new focus entirely.
  • [12:36] REFRESH means you are planning to keep a lot of the central pieces of the brand – the name, basic logo and colors, but you are making some tweaks to tighten the message, shift the demographic, or maybe enter a new space.
  • [13:18] REINFORCE is when you still take the time to (hopefully proactively) look at your brand and determine what is working and what isn’t.
  • [14:12] The goal of rebrands and refreshes is to get to a point where you can reinforce. You want a brand that everyone gets and knows and loves.
  • [16:05] New Coke triggered loss aversion in customers with nostalgia and an emotional tie to the brand, which resulted in hoarding, angry phone calls/letters, and fear.
  • [17:38] The rebrand actually made people think of Coke differently and inadvertently put it on a pedestal. Coke now knows that they are solidly in reinforce mode.
  • [20:50] Being too literal is one of the top 5 wording mistakes businesses make.
  • [23:28] Verity Credit Union went through a rebrand 10 years before I led the refresh, where we needed to realign with the values that mattered to the target market.
  • [24:07] Local artists were contracted to show what truth meant to them in whatever medium they used.
  • [26:02] We had an all-staff event where we talked about the research, unveiled the new logo, showed the first four commercials and talked about the future. People were so excited to be part of it. Brand awareness nearly tripled in less than two years.
  • [28:41] When you find a brand that works down to the core and is authentically tied to the vision and goals of the company, you get into a state of flow and that's how you know that you found "it" and can move into the reinforce phase.
  • [30:11] When deciding to rebrand, refresh or reinforce consider 1) everything matters, 2) think bigger, 3) are we asking the right question? and 4) always be thoughtful and strategic.
  • [32:21] Whatever brings you to the “is it time for a rebrand?” question…it is a key moment in time to stop, breathe, take a step back…and think about the bigger picture.
  • [32:48] Too many companies ask “Who are our current customers and what do they want?” Instead, ask this question...
  • [36:32] The next question people tend to ask when looking at a rebrand is, “What can we salvage?” It should not be the goal to keep as much of the old stuff as you can to save money. Instead you should...
  • [41:25] The main thing I want you to remember and think of in your own rebranding is that strong brands, the best ones that get seen and make a difference and stand out from the competition…had to step away from the herding mentality of what “everyone else does” to get there.

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