REBRANDS: The Good, the bad, and the ugly
In the ever-changing landscape of business and marketing, rebranding has become a powerful tool for companies seeking to reinvent themselves or strengthen their market position. However, this transformative journey can be a double-edged sword, with the potential to either propel a brand to new heights or plunge it into obscurity. A successful rebrand can breathe new life into a company, resonating with its audience and boosting its competitive edge. On the other hand, a poorly executed rebrand can lead to confusion, alienate customers, and even jeopardize the very essence of the brand.
We’re breaking down the best and worst rebrands that we’ve seen in Marketing!
THE GOOD - Instagram
After launching in 2010, Instagram took the social media world by storm with its unique ability to distribute quick and easy visual content and share it with others. Instagrams brand was growing at an astronomical rate, with 10 millions users signed onto the platform just one year later. With this growth, Instagram reasoning for rebranding was the best case scenario as there was no problem they were trying to solve. The app became so popular that it simply outgrew its old identity as it was constantly changing and evolving. With the release of new features, services and video content, Instagram became a platform to help advertisers and businesses grow due to its outstanding engagement. With all these changes, Instagram’s overall image needed to display that as well, so they rebranded in 2016 going from the old retro camera, to a modern and futuristic logo that still paid homage to its original roots. The well-executed rebrand not only brought fresh energy to the company, but also demonstrated the power of strategic design in effectively communicating a brand's values and personality to its audience.
THE GOOD - Dunkin' Donuts
Dunkin' Donuts has been a staple part of American history since the 1950’s where the public fell in love with its delicious coffee and donuts. Since then, it did not take the brand long to expand its franchise where it has grown its brand in over 11,000 locations around the globe. Dunkin' has continued to obtain loyal customers where it has been promoted as one of the largest coffee companies in the world. Similar to Instagram, Dunkin decided to rebrand simply because of its continuous growth. The company had outgrown the 68 year old name, where they decided to remove the “donuts” part and simply rebrand as Dunkin' as of 2018. The reasoning behind this was they wanted to transform into a brand that customers will primarily associate with on-the-go beverages and food. This rebrand was a huge success as it made them reach a newer audience and inject a new energy into their image and slogan “America Runs on Dunkin'.”
THE GOOD - Starbucks
Starbucks has been a part of people’s lifestyles since the 1970s where they deliver high quality products such as coffee, refreshers and food to millions of people around the globe. Some may say Starbucks has a “coffee-like-cult” due to its loyal customers and brand awareness. Starbucks has established their brand recognition by positioning itself as a progressive company and maintaining its reputation with their consumers. With more room for growth and leeway, Starbucks decided to detach a little from the coffee fixation and open more doors for future branching out. Starbucks rebranded by dropping the word “coffee” from its logo to show that they offer a wider range of products. This was a smart move on their part, as it showed the confidence of the brand and gained a positive reaction on the way people saw the chain.
THE BAD - Tropicana
Tropicana has been established since the 1940’s where they have been providing supermarkets with natural, delicious orange juice. In 2009, Tropicana decided to rebrand its entire image and packaging, and for more reasons than I can count, the public’s reaction was not happy with it. Tropicana's original packaging and logo have become iconic and easily recognizable over the years, building a strong sense of trust and familiarity amongst consumers. However, the abrupt change to a new design caused confusion and disconnect with loyal customers, leading to a decline in sales. With the removal of the iconic orange and straw on the packaging, Tropicana lacked the vibrant and refreshing imagery that the previous one boasted, making it appear generic and less appealing on the shelves. Ultimately, Tropicana's rebrand was a misstep that resulted in lost brand identity, decreased customer loyalty, and a dip in their overall sales.
THE BAD - Gap
After launching in 1969, Gap has been a huge worldwide clothing and accessories retailer where it now operates four primary divisions: Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, and Athleta. In 2010, Gap decided to rebrand where it was widely perceived as a bad idea due to its lack of understanding of its target audience and a significant departure from its iconic identity. The abrupt change in logo was met with widespread criticism and confusion from loyal customers as the new design lacked creativity and failed to resonate with the brand's long-established image as a trendy and fashionable retailer. The rebranding effort seemed rushed and poorly executed, leaving customers feeling disconnected and skeptical about the brand's direction. The negative response from consumers on the rebranding decision highlighted the importance of thoroughly evaluating customer preferences and staying true to the brand's core values when attempting any major brand changes.
THE BAD - Mastercard
Mastercard is widely known for being one of the largest payment-processing corporations worldwide since it was first established in 1966. Mastercard decided to rebrand its logo in 2019, leaving it as a failure instead of a success. Mastercard attempted to modernize its logo and branding elements for their consumers which ultimately resulted in a lack of coherence and recognition among its existing customer base. The new design, although intended to be more dynamic and forward-looking, failed to resonate with consumers, leading to confusion and disengagement from them. The timing of the rebrand coincided with a period of economic uncertainty at the time, making it difficult for Mastercard to stand out in an already crowded and competitive market. From this, the rebranding effort not only failed to revitalize the brand but also had a negative impact on the company's image.
As you can see, rebrands can be both a double-edged sword, offering potential benefits and risks for businesses. On the positive side, a successful rebranding can breathe new life into a company's image, making it more relevant and appealing to a changing market. It can help businesses stay ahead of the competition, attract new customers, and re-engage existing ones. On the flip side, rebrands can be risky and expensive endeavors. If not carefully planned and executed, they may lead to confusion among consumers, loss of brand recognition, and ultimately a decline in market share. Before putting your brand through something so monumental, it is important to really think about how a rebrand can align with your company's long-term objectives and resonate with your target audience before embarking on such a transformative journey.