To rebrand or not to rebrand? That is the question, and it’s a question that should not be taken lightly.
Rebranding typically occurs when an existing company attempts to change the public’s perception of its brand through updated logos and visuals; and/or a new name, design, or strategy. The idea behind a rebrand is to rejuvenate the brand and improve its image among the public. Any company, young or old, can rebrand. Some of the biggest brands in the world, like Apple have successfully rebranded, and others… not so much.
Rebranding is an expensive and time-consuming process, and it’s not guaranteed to work. Ultimately, it could be a wasted, potentially damaging effort if done poorly. Done right, though, rebranding can re-set a company’s course, and change its public face for the better. Here are a few scenarios in which rebranding may be the right move.
Bringing Brands Together
Mergers and acquisitions often warrant a rebrand. In order to successfully rebrand after a merger or acquisition, companies must make sure their brand values, cultures, and long term goals align and/or compliment each other, or they may be setting themselves up for failure.
In the category of “notable failed acquisitions”, we bring you Quaker/Snapple. In 1994, Quaker purchased Snapple for $1.7 billion, but ended up selling the brand to Triarc Companies a few years later for just $300 million.
During their brief relationship, Quaker failed to develop a custom marketing strategy for Snapple. Instead, they tried a strategy used previously for their widely successful drink, Gatorade. Quaker’s distribution of Snapple failed as well – as a smaller, more local brand, it was simply not suited to be distributed the way Gatorade was. Quaker failed to maintain Snapple’s identity when integrating the product into their own brand. Quaker abandoned Snapple’s quirky and authentic advertising – even dropping Wendy Kaufman, the beloved “Snapple Lady” – and replaced it with Gatorade’s sleek, high-energy style. This drastic departure from Snapple’s identity, along with the widespread distribution ultimately led to the partnership’s failure.
Quaker might have been able to find success with Snapple by retaining its quirks, like the “Snapple Lady” and the smaller distribution channels, like delis. Instead, they erased it.
Brand and Message Consistency
As a company grows and develops, it is not uncommon for its mission to evolve. If, as your brand evolves, its messaging or persona becomes inconsistent with your company’s mission or values, a rebrand may be in order.
Nike has maintained a consistent brand for years. “Just Do It.” is one of the world’s most recognizable slogans, and the “swoosh” is the definition of timeless. The slogan has upheld Nike’s mission, to bring inspiration and innovation, for 30 years.
By contrast, this past September, Weight Watchers changed its name to WW, which now stands for “wellness that works”. The name change is a response to the cultural shift to achieving overall wellness and health, rather than just losing weight. As the concept of wellness evolved from a luxury to a lifestyle, Weight Watchers began incorporating wellness-focused elements into its program. Health conscious consumers will still have access to follow the Weight Watchers point system; now, though, the new WW features include guided meditations. The company’s rebrand was driven by this shift in focus; now, the company’s name and marks align with its evolved focus.
Stand Out From The Crowd
Another factor driving the decision to rebrand is competitive differentiation. Has your brand fallen in the shadows of its competitors? A rebrand may be just what the doctor ordered to pull your brand out of the dark.
In a crowded market, a well-built brand will draw consumers in. Exhibit A: Apple. Apple has differentiated itself better than most brands. The company’s continuous innovation and superb marketing efforts have pushed Apple way ahead of its competitors.
Historically, Apple’s rebranding efforts have played a major role in the company’s success. Apple was on its second logo when Steve Jobs returned to the company. Jobs replaced the rainbow colored apple with the monochrome apple, which is now one of, if not the most, recognizable logos in the world. The new logo was meant to align with the new hardware designs and was tweaked over the years to match different products.
Another rebrand effort from Apple took the form of dropping “Computer” from the company name. As the brand’s product line expanded, the “Apple Computers” umbrella became too limiting, and an incorrect representation of all the company had to offer.
Sometimes a brand just needs a little makeover. An outdated image is one of the most common reasons behind a rebrand. A brand does not need to change its design and logos every month – please don’t do that – but a fresh and updated look every few years can make a big difference.
Shell has done a great job of keeping its logo up-to-date over the years. The company started with a realistic black and white depiction of a seashell and has since developed its mark into into a more modern, bright, and minimalistic shell design.
Need help with your next rebrand? Give our strategic branding team a call. We’d love to chat!