Should we Rebrand?

The short answer is NO.

In almost every case the answer is no, so don’t do it. However, like most things in life there is nuance, so let’s dive in a bit more.

The siren call

The question of rebranding often surfaces, tempting companies with the allure of a fresh identity. However, rebranding is not always the panacea it appears to be.

Rebranding often isn’t the best route. Here’s why:

The Risks and Costs of Rebranding

Rebranding is a significant undertaking, both financially and strategically. It involves not just altering your logo or tagline, but potentially changing your company’s entire identity. This can lead to substantial costs in marketing, legal changes, and operational adjustments.

Moreover, rebranding can confuse and alienate existing customers, diluting the brand equity you’ve worked hard to build.

Loss of Brand Equity:

Your current brand carries value built over years of operation. This equity, encapsulated in customer recognition and loyalty, is a powerful asset. Rebranding can erode this, leading to a loss of trust and recognition in the market.

Market Confusion:

A new brand identity can create confusion in the market. Customers and partners familiar with your existing brand may be unsure about the change, leading to a potential decrease in business and market share.

Internal Disruption:

Rebranding can be a distraction for your team. It requires significant internal resources and can shift focus away from core business activities, impacting productivity and potentially revenue.

High Costs:

The financial implications of rebranding are substantial. They include not just the direct costs of developing a new brand, but also the indirect costs of implementing it across all facets of the business.

Examples of Rebranding Failures:

GAP (gap.com)

gap-rebrand-before-and-after

In 2010, clothing retailer GAP unveiled a new logo in an attempt to modernize their image. However, the new logo was met with immediate backlash from customers and stakeholders, who criticized it as bland and unappealing. The company ultimately reverted to their original logo, admitting that the rebrand had been a mistake.

Read more at https://www.thebrandingjournal.com/2021/04/learnings-gap-logo-redesign-fail/


Tropicana (tropicana.com)

tropicana-rebrand-before-after

In 2009, Tropicana attempted to rebrand their packaging, replacing their iconic orange with a more modern design. The new packaging was met with confusion and negative feedback from customers, who had trouble recognizing the product on store shelves. Tropicana ultimately reverted to their original packaging, admitting that the rebrand had been a misstep.

Read more at https://www.thebrandingjournal.com/2015/05/what-to-learn-from-tropicanas-packaging-redesign-failure/

RadioShack

radioshack-rebrand-before-and-after

In 2014, electronics retailer RadioShack attempted to rebrand as “The Shack“ in an attempt to appeal to younger customers. The rebrand was met with confusion and criticism, as many customers were unsure of what the new name meant and how it related to the company’s products. The rebrand ultimately failed to improve sales or the company’s image, and RadioShack filed for bankruptcy the following year.

Read more at https://proov.io/blog/radioshack/ or https://merzbranding.com/blog/rebranding-ready-set-stop/


What to do instead

Rather than rebrand, tune your product or service to be something remarkable. This might mean making product changes, adopting new pricing, focusing on a particular feature set, or a particular customer niche, or promoting your brand in a new way.

But sometimes Rebranding can make sense:

While the need to re-brand is rare, and despite these risks, there are limited situations where re-branding might be necessary:

  1. Significant Business Transformation: If your company has undergone a major shift in its business model, target market, or product offerings, re-branding can align your brand with the new direction.

  2. Outdated Image: If your brand feels outdated and fails to resonate with a modern audience, a re-brand can rejuvenate your image. But be very careful with this. Often marketing teams tire of their own image and branding as you are working with it every day. But your customers with some exceptions interact with your brand occasionally - it’s their ability to recall your brand/logo/image that is most important.

  3. Recovery from Negative Perceptions: If your brand has suffered from negative associations, re-branding can be a way to start fresh and rebuild trust.

  4. Entering New Markets: When expanding into new geographic or demographic markets, re-branding might be necessary to ensure relevance and appeal in these new segments.

Examples of Successful Re-brands

Airbnb

airbnb-rebrand-before-and-after

In 2014, Airbnb underwent a significant rebrand, changing their logo and visual identity.

The company unveiled the new brand identity in a blog post, explaining the rationale behind the change and how it reflected their values as a company.

Read more here https://all-about-airbnb.com/post/143221488726/airbnb-brand-evolution-live-there

And some external commentary here https://www.thebrandingjournal.com/2014/07/airbnbs-consistent-rebrand-focuses-sense-belonging-community/

Dunkin’ Donuts

Dunkin-rebrand-Before-and-After

In 2018, Dunkin’ Donuts dropped the “Donuts” from their name and rebranded as simply “Dunkin’.” The company explained that the new brand identity reflected their focus on beverages and the overall customer experience. The rebrand was accompanied by a marketing campaign and social media push.

Here’s the official press release https://news.dunkindonuts.com/news/releases-20180925

And some external commentary here https://brandsonify.com/case-studies/dunkins-2018-19-rebrand/

Slack

slack-rebrand-before-and-after

In 2019, Slack unveiled a new logo and brand identity. The company explained that the new identity reflected their evolution as a company and their commitment to simplifying work for their customers. The announcement was accompanied by a blog post and a social media campaign.

Here’s the official page https://slack.com/blog/news/say-hello-new-logo

Conclusion:

While re-branding might seem like an attractive option for revitalizing a company’s image, it’s often fraught with risks and hidden costs.

The decision to re-brand should not be taken lightly and should only be considered in specific circumstances where the long-term benefits clearly outweigh the risks and costs.

For most businesses, maintaining and evolving their existing brand is a more prudent strategy.

Happy branding :)

More on rebranding

https://brandkit.com/asset-page/592880-the-x-rebrand-now-i-get-it

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Should we Rebrand?

The age old question: Should we rebrand. The answer is usually no. In the article we examine the re-brand - should we or shouldn’t we.

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Statistics above last updated 1 March 2024