Although rebranding isn’t something companies plan for, it happens, and for some of them, it happens often. A rebranding initiative can have a major impact on a business, whether it’s for better or worse. While the first brand a business comes up with usually feels right, many things can lead to a brand dilemma and ultimately a rebranding. Whether for a business, product, store, etc. a brand always has the potential to change in some shape or form; from there the rebranding strategy either prospers or flops.
Rebranding success usually depends on an audience’s reaction and that may be the biggest struggle faced amidst the modification. There are many things, with a varying degree of change, that can be constituted as rebranding. Below are just a few ways a brand can change successfully as well as some applicable examples of a brand change that are well remembered by a target market.
It’s All About the Logo
While a logo is extremely important to a brand, an update of its aesthetic can be a really rewarding thing. For example, take a look at us. While our name has stayed the same, we’re on our third logo and couldn’t be happier with where it’s at. It took us awhile, but we finally came to a place where our logo is how we want to represent our company. We have taken its color scheme and incorporated it into our office for cohesiveness. We’re a small business, though, so we don’t have an impact on a global scale while making these changes. Other brands (especially large ones) haven’t always been so lucky…
How Logo Changes Can Create An Uproar
It’s weird to think about how people care so deeply when a large company decides to change its logo. One of the most recent examples of this was the uproar that came about when Instagram changed their icon from the old fashioned brown camera to the new, more modern version featuring a minimalistic camera in white, over a gradient of deep purple to orange. Instagram has upwards of 500 million active users, therefore many were accustomed to the original logo which launched in 2010. Six years went by before they created their rebranded logo and the initial reaction to the update was negative. It was hard to go anywhere online without seeing an opinion piece about the new logo (and most of the options were that it was ugly). This didn’t stop Instagram from fully committing to their rebranded logo as they had clearly spent a large amount of time on their new design, feeling as though they had outgrown the first version. At this point it seems most users have gotten over the change.
While the hate wasn’t enough for Instagram to look back, the backlash from customers has been enough for other brands to take back a rebranded logo. For example, Gap faced so much criticism over their new logo debut in 2010 they ended up reverting back to the previous one (still their current logo) that’s over 20 years old. People hated their new logo so much that loyal customers threatened to stop shopping there altogether and stocks dropped.
It’s not that the audience had much investment in the old logo per say, but they thought the updated version was really bad and lazy. The audience questioned the thought that went into creating it, even though Gap really thought the new version would be the one to propel them into the future.
What Can We Learn?
From the cases above it’s easy to see an audience has a lot of attachment to logos. Rebranding a logo doesn’t always come easily, but it can be successful with the right techniques in mind. Warm your audience up to the idea of a new logo preceding its launch. Try to make it something to get excited for. Also, make the reasons for your change clear — it’s easier for an audience to appreciate a change if they also understand your reasoning as a business. Gap made their changes abruptly which seemed to really upset customers. And although Instagram’s change felt pretty immediate too, they offered the audience this video which shows their new logo “process” in a creative way. An audience is more likely to appreciate a new logo once they see the amount of work that goes into the process of creating it.
What’s in a Name?
Despite this phrase, a business’ name isn’t arbitrary. And even though rebranding by way of a name change can be difficult, oftentimes something necessitates it. Perhaps the name isn’t suiting your business anymore or you’ve run into some copyright issues. Whatever the reason may be, it can be a challenge to get your audience (large or small) to reassociate your business’ core values with a completely new name. That being said, name changes can make a business more successful in the long run, depending on the company. Check out some of the biggest name changes to date — proof your business can do it too.
Changing What Your Business Does (To An Extent)
There’s a difference between rebranding from the outside (your logo and name) and rebranding from the inside (the things your business is doing and producing), although sometimes the two go hand in hand.
When you’re making a branding change that goes beyond a name or the look of your logo, do so subtly if you’re happy with your current target market (if you’re not keeping the same market you’re really just creating a whole new business). Remember, the decisions you make will be through trial and error and maintaining a successful business through rebranding requires a little give and take. Be happy and keep the integrity of your business while also taking an audience’s opinions into consideration. After all, it’s been learned that sometimes your business’ fate is in their hands.