Seven Indications That it’s Time for a Brand Refresh

April 30, 2024
Creative team looking at a new brand refresh project.

Destinations may be feeling pressure to reinvent or at least refresh their brand—but first ask yourself, “Why?” 

Sometimes it’s worth it. Other times it’s a needless risk. Understanding the reasons that will support tackling an update of your brand, which is one of the most important things your organization owns, will help inform your decision, and help prevent a massive undertaking without good reason.

Consider these seven justifications for your rebrand before jumping into any big changes, and make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons.

1. Competition is mounting

If your competitors are amping it up, your destination may have a case for a brand refresh. It’s important to stay ahead of the competition without losing your destination’s identity. As much as possible, keep tabs on what competing cities or regions are doing in the destination marketing and make sure your brand is keeping up with it.

2. Current feel is dusty

If your brand feels tired and old-fashioned, it’s time to dig deeper into what might require a change. Old fonts, pixelated logos, and graphics from the Microsoft Paint era are all indications that perhaps it’s time to modernize. A little research including perception studies will help you understand if your brand truly is out of touch with today’s consumers.

3. Target audiences are changing

If your target audience has changed, your brand may need a refresh to reflect that. For DMOs, younger or more affluent travelers may want something different from your brand. For EDOs, efforts may have shifted from business investment alone to the addition of talent attraction. Whomever your destination is targeting, be sure that your brand provides the right messaging to attract their attention.

4. Brand ignores your place

If you are branding your organization and not the destination itself, it’s time to consider a brand refresh. Visitors are not planning a trip to a tourism bureau, and businesses aren’t investing in economic development authorities. These individuals are interested first and foremost in the place. Destination branding that isn’t immediately recognizable, or that leaves people wondering where the place is on a map, is begging for a refresh.

5. Foundation needs overhaul

Your visuals may be beautiful, but sometimes the storytelling behind the graphics require reconsideration. Foundational branding changes more quickly than the visual identity of a place. A brand refresh for the non-visual components of your brand, including your key messages, may be all the overhaul you need.

6. Branding isn’t digital-friendly

If your brand isn’t transferable to social media and digital platforms, it’s time to rethink it. Clear fonts, modern graphics, simple design are all part of a brand that is accessible in the one place most people will engage with it: online. Online accessibility is vital to any DMO or EDO’s success, so be sure your destination’s brand plays out nicely on screens, both small and large.

7. Taglines no longer resonate

If your tagline no longer resonates as it once did, it may be time to silence it. In an era of snappy one-liners, social media, and highly visual content, having a tagline weigh down your logo is something to rethink—and more often than not, to eliminate. Unless your tagline is a success story backed by results and research, it may be doing more harm than good. 

If none of these elements apply to your brand, maybe you only need a little touch-up—the branding version of Botox—to tweak what can be done better. A full rebrand, however, is a big undertaking for destinations whose brands have truly deteriorated past their expiration date.

One of the best ways is to do the research to understand how your brand works and stacks up against competitors. But research is just one part of the solution. Get in touch with Dariel Curren at [email protected] to learn more about how DCI’s Creative Services team can help you  understand how your destination brand can reach its full potential.

Written by

Dariel Curren

Executive Vice President