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Refresh Vs Rebrand - What's the difference?

Happy new year! I hope 2024 is treating you well so far (and if it isn't, there's still plenty of time to turn that around) 🤗🥳

You may have noticed that DBJ looks slightly different. We recently completed a brand refresh that featured a new logo and typography (which we are loving by the way!), but after having several people tell us that they love the 'rebrand', it dawned on me that maybe not everyone knows the difference between a refresh and a rebrand. In today's post, we'll explore the difference between the two terms.

If you already know the difference, you can test your knowledge here!


What is a rebrand?

The term 'rebranding' means to repeat the branding process.

The process of branding is intricate, and includes various elements. You don't create a brand by just obtaining a logo and picking a few colours. So to rebrand, you can't just change a logo and your palette either.

A rebrand will be an overall transformation of a brand, that occurs due to a change in strategy, audience, values, offerings or business model. These changes would lead to considerable changes to the brand itself, such as name, logo, market positioning and brand messaging.

What is a brand refresh?

On the other hand, a refresh consists of updates to certain aspects of a brand in a bid to breathe new life into these elements. The heart of the brand doesn't change, but the aim is to ensure that the brand stays relevant, appealing and up to date.

What is more common - Refresh or Rebrand?

A rebrand is far less common than a refresh, purely because brands rarely change their core principles. Whilst they do happen, in majority of cases, the word 'rebrand' is being used incorrectly and the term refresh should have been used instead.

Let's play a game: Refresh or Rebrand?

Time to test your knowledge - the game is simple, you need to decide whether the following businesses rebranded or refreshed. Have fun!





Dunkin' Donuts noted the popularity of Dunkin’s coffee, and decided to 'drop the donuts' as its main focus. For a brand that built a reputation off donuts, this was a very bold move. But doing so allowed them to remove the assumption that they only served donuts, which allowed them to reposition themselves within their market.


2. Johnson & Johnson



Up until the last quarter of 2023, Johnson & Johnson had the same logo for 130 years (wow!), but decided to refresh the business with a new logo. CNBC reported that the health care giant would replace the well-known signature script it has used since 1887 with a modern look that reflects its sharpened focus on pharmaceuticals and medical devices.


3. Mailchimp



Mailchimp made these comments about their refresh: "With this redesign, we set out to retain all the weird, lovable elements that endeared our earliest customers to Mailchimp, while creating space for the brand to grow and connect with even more small businesses. We didn’t want to lose our heritage in the process, so we focused on capturing the essence of what Mailchimp has always been."


4. Airbnb



Most of us know Airbnb for their current branding, but before, they were known as Air Bed&Breakfast. Founded in August 2008, it all began with the idea of putting an air mattress in the founders’ living room and converting it into a bed and breakfast to help with the high rent of their apartment. Since then, the brand has grown into the popular brand that allows clients to list and book accommodation, causing disruption to hotels worldwide - well done Airbnb!


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