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Refresh your brand: Think of some of the most iconic brands you know—like Nike, Apple, Coca-Cola, and others. We tend to think that these businesses have kept the same brand for decades, when in fact there have been slow but significant changes – a brand refresh.

These are often in response to changing markets and changing times. These changes are merely to ‘refresh’ the brand and keep it relevant. If you think your brand could use a little freshness as well, you might want to look for the following four warning signs.

1. It has developed a negative connotation.

This can happen, but it is rarely the small business owner’s fault. A few years ago, having a logo similar to that of then-energy giant Enron would have been fine; now, it is market suicide.

Similarly, British Petroleum was considered one of the greener petroleum product companies until the Gulf crisis. In less dramatic instances, certain colors and shapes may take on new associations that are not helping your small business succeed. It’s important to remove your business from any similar brands that have encountered public relations disaster… to move them as far as possible, in fact!

2. It is no longer as strong or compelling as it used to be.

There are many factors that can weaken a brand. Perhaps it is similar to a national brand or one in your community, failing to distinguish you from the competition.

Maybe it is ambiguous and doesn’t give the strong, clear message that you are seeking. Like the human body, a fresh brand requires constant management and a little flexing to stay strong and able.

3. It is out of date.

The color scheme that seemed perfect a decade ago might just look passé today. Maybe a certain shape or theme was once hip and now it simply makes no sense.

The problem with stylish, trendy logos is that they often end up out of date in the long run and lack the staying power that they need. An experienced logo designer or branding expert can help you select visual elements that represent you both today and in the future.

4. It is out of sync with your identity.

Your business has probably changed since you opened your doors, perhaps enough that your brand no longer represents you as well as it used it. Or maybe you reached a little too far; a small business brand should reflect the business it represents, not your hopes and dreams for it or your future plans.

An overly lofty brand will leave you with dissatisfied customers, while an under-ambitious one will sell you short. It’s important to walk that middle road.

If your brand needs to be refreshed, there is only one path to small business survival. Consult a branding consultant today and find out what you can do to build a stronger, more relevant brand.

This could require a few small tweaks or a complete overhaul. An expert in branding will be able to help you decide the type and extent of changes that you need to lead your business to success.

Mash Bonigala

Mash B. is the Founder & Creative Director of Logo Design Works. Since 1998, Mash has helped thousands of businesses express their brand messages through creative and award winning logo designs.