Every few years, it’s important that you take a step back and critically look at your branding and marketing. Does it still align with your mission and vision? Is it still relevant to modern times?
But today, we’re asking another question: Is your brand cheugy?
This word, albeit made up by a TikToker named Gaby Rasson, started as a way to describe people like me (Taylor): 26, female, white, millennial. Now, it’s turned into a broader phrase that describes anything from an outfit to a storefront to, yes, your marketing.
Knowing the relevancy and authenticity of your branding at all times is very important, especially in our hyper-social world. Today, TikTokers and other social media users will feel discrepancies in your messaging and notice when something just doesn’t feel right with your brand.
Branding goes way beyond just your logo or slogan; it’s the way a user feels about your brand when they think of you.
And if what they think of you is cheugy, well—it’s time for a brand refresh.
What is “Cheugy”
Cheugy is an all-encompassing phrase that encapsulates that feeling of something just being slightly off or un-cool. It’s, in Gen Y terms, a “vibe.”
A few things that are considered cheugy include:
- Signs by your coffee bar that say “But first, coffee”
- Girl boss memorabilia
- “Live, laugh, love” anything
- Skinny jeans, ugg slippers, Gucci belts
In short, it’s a pseudo-definition for the millennial aesthetic. Whereas these items were once considered marketing and branding gold, today, they’re being replaced by pastel colors and authentic influencer marketing.
How to refresh your brand
First things first: A brand refresh isn’t the same thing as rebranding. Rebranding is a complete undertaking, where you interview key stakeholders, investigate trends in the industry, dive deep into your messaging and meaning to deliver a completely new version of your brand (kind of like we did with iResQ).
A brand refresh is more like swiping a new coat of paint on a wall; it’s less dramatic, less costly, and way less intimidating. And it can be done much more regularly than an entire brand redesign.
A few successful brand refresh examples include McDonald’s, which recently revamped how it packages its burgers and fries, or Dunkin Donuts simplifying itself to just Dunkin. These two companies didn’t change their mission statement or values, but they modernized their branding and heightened it to a new level to match today’s times.
If a brand refresh is something you want to do—or if it’s just something you’ve been curious about—here are the steps we take to completing one.
Audit your brand
As always, the work starts in the details. To understand who your brand is, you have to understand the industry and the audience.
You need to know what they want out of a company, what they already think about your company, and how you can better serve them with a refreshed brand.
You also have to understand yourself. So don’t stop at just researching your niche; take your questions to senior management to see what they say about your brand. A lot of times, the real key to a refresh lies in the depths of their mind.
You should also take a holistic look at your current marketing materials to see if your messages are still aligned and if you’re still delivering on the promises you made to your customers.
While you did a competitive audit at the start of your marketing endeavors, your competitors have likely changed and adapted over time.
Completing competitive audits regularly gives you a better understanding of a few things:
- How often your competitors refresh their brand
- What your customers see in the market
- What is working in the industry; what isn’t
- What new gaps may have emerged in the market
Analyze your messaging
As a brand refresh, you don’t want to overhaul your branding and messaging altogether, but it is essential to make sure it still aligns with your goals. So take a look at your key messaging points to see if there are ways to improve or simplify what you’re trying to tell your customers.
For example, when Dunkin’ simplified its name, it also honed in on its messaging. According to the CEO, the new name was the start of its path to growth.
“By simplifying and modernizing our name, while still paying homage to our heritage, we have an opportunity to create an incredible new energy for Dunkin’, both in and outside our stores.”
This isn’t necessarily a new marketing message—as they’ve always wanted to offer a great customer experience—but it is doubling down on the messaging to create a cohesive brand.
How is your brand going to cut through the noise and the clutter of all the other brands? Messaging gives you the tools to talk to your customers, but positioning helps you figure out how you’re going to reach them.
Take a moment to figure out if your positioning needs to change alongside your messaging.
Revise your look and feel
Changing the visual identity of a brand is one of the most common factors of a brand refresh. Fonts and colors go out of style a lot quicker than messaging or positioning. But it’s also something that can’t happen without really analyzing everything above. Without audits or looking over your messaging, your look and feel could seem like it’s coming out of the left field.
A unique logo is excellent and definitely something to strive for, but if it won’t resonate with your audience or align with your brand positioning, it’s as good as cheugy.
Outline all the new details of your brand refresh in an updated brand guide. You likely already have one of these—it’s a booklet that highlights the colors, fonts, styles, etc., of your current brand—but you need to make sure it aligns with your new approach.
There’s nothing groundbreaking about this step, but it is vital because this is the document everyone should be working from. Consider it your Bible.
Rollout the brand
Make your brand refresh official with a thoughtful rollout plan. This plan should cover all the bases, like how you’ll tell your employees, your current customers, and the broader community as a whole. You’ll need to consider marketing strategies like email marketing, social media, in-person communications, and a whole lot more.
There’s no right or wrong way to roll out a new brand. But, if you want an example, check out our brand refresh rollout plan for one of our clients, Fluent Consultants.
Getting started is always the most challenging part. But if you have a nagging suspicion that your brand is cheugy or just plain out-of-date, schedule a consultation with us. We’re here to help.