- Bernard Clive, the author of Rebrand: The Ultimate Guide to Personal and Corporate Branding
For most businesses, change isn’t just another option, rather it is mere innovation of the way they want their target audience to look at them.
By this, we mean that rebranding is not just about logos, color palettes, and such. Rather, it is revamping the entire identity of your brand and breathing fresh life into it in this rapidly changing marketplace.
Amidst all the excitement, rush, and entertainment lies crucial steps that we often overlook, which are nothing but the W’s of rebranding.
In this blog post, we will take a look at the necessity of rebranding, exceptional rebrand announcement examples, the W’s of rebranding, and everything else that is needed to get you started on your rebranding journey.
Whether you are a small business, a growing startup, or a large corporation, there’s something we have for everyone. Let’s dive in!
What is rebranding?
In simple terms, rebranding is a process where you change how a brand looks, talks, feels, and how you want it to be perceived by your target audience.
It’s more like a makeover for your brand.
Why do companies rebrand?
Companies rebrand for a myriad of reasons.
- Whenever a brand has extended its offering or product line.
- Whenever a brand has added a new product or service to its portfolio.
- Whenever a brand merges with another brand or is acquired by sub-brands under its umbrella.
The uniting factor under each of these scenarios is to enhance the overall brand image and make sure they don’t become stale in the eyes of their new customers or existing target market.
Let’s understand it in a little bit more detail. Do you remember Coca-Cola’s first ever monochrome color logo? Since then, Coca-Cola has been on a journey of outgrowing the way they look across decades. Take a look at their branding evolution over the years.
Rebranding can be a big deal. If it’s done right, it can push your brand to new target markets and make it more appealing. But if it goes wrong, it can leave your customers questioning about what you are actually doing.
Who should you rebrand for?
The third W of rebranding — who should you rebrand your business for? Again, the answer to that is your audience. But we believe it’s deeper than that. Here’s who you should rebrand for:
- Current customers
Like we always say, the customer is king, and keeping them happy is crucial. The way you rebrand your business can enhance the overall experience of your brand and strengthen their loyalty.
Pro tip: While rebranding, make sure you don’t completely alienate your loyal customers.
- New and potential customers
One of the major reasons for rebranding is to attract new and potential customers. If you think your current brand does not appeal to a younger or broader audience set, a rebrand can help you reach them.
Pro tip: It’s important to consider what kind of audience you want to attract or the target audience you want to tap into. Understanding these can help you rebrand and appeal to the interests, preferences, and likes of the customers you want to offer your product and services to.
- For staying updated on market trends
Picking relevant trends and staying updated on them can help your brand remain relevant and competitive. Let us suppose that you run a small-scale meal-prep startup business – you can simply convert your standard packaging material to paper-based or sustainable packaging material.
Updating a small element of your business like packaging shows your commitment towards the environment. This can help you attract environmentally conscious customers, enhance your brand’s essence, and grow in the dynamic market landscape.
The last thing that will be on your mind, while working on your rebrand is your competitors. But, it is more than important to monitor what’s working for your competitors and what isn’t.
Analyzing your competitors can help you revamp or rethink your brand strategy. This analysis can help in providing valuable insights and help you create a brand that helps you stand out in the market.
This can help you better your product or service pitch, find your unique selling proposition, and showcase it prominently in your rebrand.
When should you rebrand your organization?
The fourth W of rebranding is to answer when you should rebrand your organization.
Let us understand it with the help of an example — Apple faced a setback in the late 1990s. Even though they had a loyal and niche customer base, the company entered the line of bankruptcy.
While facing this, Apple took a bold step and rebranded themselves as the “Think Different” company emphasizing innovation and creativity. They launched groundbreaking products like the iMac, iPod, and eventually the iPhone, which changed the tech landscape.
The entire rebranding turned out to be historical in Apple’s book. It shifted their entire image from a struggling computer manufacturing company to a global leader of innovative tech products.
We understand that rebranding can become a very big decision and it only becomes successful when it is done at the right time. Here are a few reasons why you should consider rebranding:
- New goals and values: If your company’s core goals and values have evolved over a particular period of time, and no longer represent who you really are and what you stand for, it is a great time to rebrand.
- Obsolete brand image: If your brand image or brand identity no longer represents what you stand for it’s time to rebrand. Ensure that your rebranding reflects your current vision and mission accurately.
- Market changes: When industries change over time or face setbacks, rebranding can help in keeping your brand competitive and relevant in the market.
- Merger or acquisition: When companies merge or acquire another company, it leads to the fusion of different cultures, values, and brand identities. It is at this point that rebranding efforts become essential to avoid confusion for customers and employees. It helps in creating a cohesive brand image.
Where should you focus while rebranding your organization?
The last W of rebranding speaks about the areas you should focus on while rebranding your organization. Rebranding doesn’t just end with logos and slogans.
While rebranding, it is essential to check every area of your organization to ensure consistent and efficient transformation of your brand identity. Here’s a checklist of everything you should consider during rebranding:
- Logo and visual identity:
- Logo design
- Brand guidelines
- Messaging and communication:
- Tagline and brand message
- Content strategy
- Website and online presence:
- Website redesign
- Social media profiles
- Collateral and marketing materials:
- Brochures and print materials
- Digital marketing
Both creative and brand teams play pivotal roles in executing a successful rebrand by ensuring consistency and alignment with the new brand identity.
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40 successful rebranding examples to draw inspo from for your next rebrand
Starbucks is a classic rebranding example. In 2011, Starbucks dropped the word “coffee” from their logo.
Starbucks undertook this rebranding to signify their expansion beyond coffee, and into various beverages and food. The major lesson learned from this rebranding is that a brand can diversify and evolve to a broader range of offerings. By removing “coffee” from the logo, Starbucks showed its commitment to the diversification of their business model.
What did we learn from this?
- A well-established brand can successfully evolve beyond its original product or service.
- This rebranding taught us that removing a specific product reference from a logo can symbolize a company's commitment to diversifying its business model.
- Starbucks' move reminds us that adapting to changing tastes is crucial for staying relevant in the competitive marketplace.
In the year 2014, Airbnb underwent a significant rebrand. They launched their new logo called "Bélo," which symbolized belonging, sharing, and a sense of community.
The major reason for this rebranding is to shift the perception of Airbnb in the customer’s eyes from a mere accommodation service to a platform that fosters connections and a sense of belonging among travelers.
The lesson we learn here is that a well-thought-out rebrand can redefine a company's identity and purpose, effectively communicating its values and aspirations.
In 2018, Uber rebranded to portray a more approachable and trustworthy image.
They introduced a new logo and app design with softer colors and a rounded logo. The reason for this change was to distance themselves from the controversies and negative perceptions surrounding the company.
Nike, which today is a household name, started off like any other sports brand in the early 2000s. Over the past years, Nike rebranded itself into a lifestyle brand rather than just any other sports brand in the market, continuing through till today.
In their gradual rebranding process over the years, Nike has become an entire fitness lifestyle brand that sells smart watches, makes musicians athletes, and has a community and culture of its own. This goes to show that redefining your brand perception can open up new marks.
What did we learn from this?
- Nike's transformation from a sports brand to a lifestyle brand demonstrates that evolving your brand perception can unlock new opportunities and markets.
- Nike's expansion into smartwatches and collaborations with musicians illustrates that diversifying your product offerings can help redefine your brand and cater to a broader audience.
- Building a community and culture around your brand can create a lasting impact and enhance customer loyalty.
McDonald’s underwent a super interesting rebrand in 2016. Prior to that McDonald’s was known famously for having unhealthy food. When they started to receive their dose of backlash, it called for a rebranding.
They expanded their color scheme from just the two colors of the condiments, red and yellow, to purple, blue, green, and so much more.
Over the years, McDonald’s has gone through many changes in their packaging, which goes to show that a rebranding can help address negative associations and improve your overall brand perception.
What did we learn from this?
- McDonald's rebranding in 2016 taught us that reevaluating and changing your brand image can help address negative associations, in this case, related to unhealthy food.
- McDonald's decision to expand its color scheme beyond red and yellow demonstrated how even small visual changes, like packaging colors, can contribute to a brand's modernization and perception improvement.
Known as the “King of beers”, Budweiser has been one of the largest beer manufacturers in the world. But it hasn’t been the same all this while.
While craft breweries were taking over the younger beer drinkers, Budweiser lagged behind. Budweiser made a strong decision to rebrand and move away from their traditional values and take a different approach.
This shows how a brand can attract a younger audience through rebranding while keeping its heritage intact. A thoughtful rebrand can help in matching the preferences and values of new target markets and evolve significantly.
Lego is another classic rebranding example through the ages. This Danish toy manufacturing company went through several rebranding efforts and became an iconic one at every stage.
The most notable rebrand took place in the early 2000s because of the financial crunches. They completely shifted their focus from just a toy company to one that’s centered around creativity, innovation, and imagination. Over the years, they have not just created new logo variations but also extended their product offerings and aligned them to the core values, making their brand unique in the market.
Dunkin Donuts, which has garnered the likes of many people (including the very own Charlie D’Amelio) has a super interesting rebranding story to it.
They changed their logo from Dunkin Donuts to just “Dunkin” in 2018. The major reason for this rebranding was to shift the focus from just donuts and become America's favorite destination for coffee, beverages, and of course those yummy donuts.
Post their rebrand, Dunkin' successfully maintained its core identity as a go-to coffee spot, illustrating how a strategic rebrand can adapt to evolving consumer preferences and maintain a strong brand presence.
What did we learn from this?
- Dunkin's transition from "Dunkin Donuts" to "Dunkin" underscores the importance of aligning a brand's name with its evolving focus and offerings.
- Despite the name change, Dunkin' managed to preserve its core identity as a go-to donut destination, highlighting the effectiveness of strategic rebranding in redefining brand perception while retaining brand loyalty.
Another household name, Tupperware also has its fair share of rebranding stories. The primary reason for rebranding was to stay relevant in the fast-paced digital age.
The switch from traditional to modern and eco-friendly involved updating the entire packaging and promoting their online storefront. The lesson from Tupperware's rebranding is that even long-established brands can adapt to changing consumer expectations.
GoDaddy, the web hosting and domain registration company, underwent a rebranding in 2020.
The lesson we learn here is that a rebrand can help a company to shed its negative perceptions and build trust. Once they redesigned the logo, they improved their brand perception and credibility.
Domino's, the pizza delivery giant, underwent a significant rebranding in the late 2000s.
When Dominos faced huge backlash for their taste and quality, they launched a fun campaign called “Pizza Turnaround” with an intent for improvement and change. The lesson we learn from Domino’s rebranding is that openly acknowledging shortcomings can shift brand perception and make it more customer-focused.
Burberry, the British luxury fashion brand, initiated a rebranding in the early 2000s to battle criticisms against chauvinism and growing counterfeit products in the market.
The brand refocused on its heritage by emphasizing its classic trench coats and iconic check pattern. The lesson from Burberry's rebranding is that heritage and authenticity can rejuvenate a brand and breathe new life into a brand's identity to help it reclaim its prestige in the market.
Meta, formerly known as Facebook, underwent a major rebranding in 2021. The reason was to reflect the company's shift from primarily being a social media platform to focusing on the metaverse and augmented and virtual reality.
Meta's rebranding teaches brands that rebranding or repositioning for future trends is crucial and aligns with emerging technologies and trends in the digital landscape. It also turned out to be a big rebranding fail, because it really didn’t go the way the organization predicted it would.
Pringles, the well-known snack brand, has undergone several rebranding efforts over the years.
The lesson from Pringles' rebranding is that staying relevant and appealing to consumer tastes requires continuous adaptation. By refreshing packaging, introducing unique flavors, and engaging with pop culture, Pringles keeps its brand fresh and appealing to both loyal customers and new generations of snack enthusiasts.
In 2019, Slack, the popular workplace collaboration platform, underwent a rebranding to modernize its visual identity.
The major reason for rebranding was to reflect the growth and maturity of the company. The rebranding involved a simpler logo design and a more vibrant color palette. Slack adopted a cleaner and more contemporary look to position itself as a dynamic and forward-thinking tool for modern workplaces.
Over the years, Apple has also gone through several rebranding and positioning efforts with every product they have created.
Some of the notable moments in their rebranding efforts include the shift from Apple Computer to Apple Inc. in 2007. This shift towards a broader tech focus even opened up doors to their diverse product offerings, beyond their original Macbooks.
In 2020, Apple introduced the M1 chip and updated macOS, further emphasizing their transition to in-house chip design and seamless integration across devices. These rebranding moments showcase Apple's adaptability and ability to redefine itself with every innovation.
What did we learn from this?
- Apple's transition from "Apple Computer" to "Apple Inc." in 2007 taught us that a brand can expand its horizons by shifting its focus and embracing diverse product offerings beyond its original niche.
- Apple's introduction of the M1 chip and macOS updates in 2020 highlighted the company's ability to adapt and redefine itself through continuous innovation, emphasizing the importance of staying at the forefront of technology trends.
Spotify's rebranding is another big case study that most marketers don’t miss. Their rebranding efforts from an early music startup to a world music phenomenon, evolved with rebranding.
In 2015, Spotify went through a visual evolution refining their logo and their overall aesthetic. The new simple logo represents their commitment to user-friendly design and a stronger brand identity.
While still maintaining elements of green, they made a subtle and effective shift to emphasize their global and cultural influence. This goes to show that fine-tuning your brand from time to time can lead to brand growth and maturity while increasing brand recognition and user engagement.
7-Eleven, a fan-favorite American convenience store also has its fair share of rebranding efforts.
They have undergone periodic rebranding efforts to adapt to changing consumer needs, preferences, and lifestyles. With every revamp they aim to emphasize convenience, variety, and a fresh outlook.
Updating store designs, offering healthy foods, and improving the overall customer experience have also been a big part of 7-Eleven's rebranding efforts. They have also consistently remained relevant in the competitive convenience store industry.
This shows the brand’s commitment towards meeting the changing needs of their customers while maintaining their core identity as a go-to destination for quick and easy purchases.
"Pepsi is an iconic brand that is constantly evolving with the times, as it has been a staple in pop culture and disrupted the category for the past 125 years," said Todd Kaplan, Chief Marketing Officer - Pepsi.
Pepsi, a household name all over the globe has gone through several rebranding efforts and tweaked their logo to reflect modern design trends. With their recent rebrand in 2023, they aim to connect unapologetically with the current and future generations and engage with customers effectively.
Pepsi’s rebrand will continue to inspire upcoming brands to stay dynamic in their branding efforts and resonate with brands changing tastes and values.
What did we learn from this?
- Pepsi's ongoing rebranding efforts emphasize the importance of continuous evolution to stay relevant and connect with changing consumer preferences and generations.
- Pepsi's 2023 rebrand showcases the significance of aligning a brand with the values and tastes of both current and future generations to effectively engage with customers.
- Pepsi's rebranding journey serves as an inspiration for other brands, highlighting the need to remain dynamic in their branding efforts and adapt to evolving market trends.
Fanta, a brand under the umbrella of Coca-Cola recently dropped their OG orange color as part of their new rebranding initiative in 2023.
The brand opted for a more playful and refreshing outlook. Dropping the green leaf and shedding their outdated image, Fanta went in more for a cleaner look and a more modern aesthetic.
In addition to their rebranding efforts, Fanta also expanded their flavor offerings catering to diverse tastes and trends. This strategic branding will help the brand stay relevant in the current competitive market.
Baskin Robbins underwent a recent makeover in 2023 and breathed a new life into this beloved ice cream chain.
Their recent rebranding efforts have modernized their visual identity and introduced a more cleaner and immersive look. They opted for a new logo that looks clean and contemporary. The rebranding also involved updating their store design with a more diverse menu offering with trendy flavors and a welcoming atmosphere for their customers.
Who knew that a strategic rebrand could help reclaim market position?
Nokia is one such brand and its recent rebranding efforts have turned out to be a strategic move to reclaim its position in the tech industry. The mobile giant of the ‘90s and the early 2000s adopted a more modern and minimalist approach.
They also shed their iconic “Connecting People” tagline. This rebrand signals brands to shift towards a future-focused approach and create an innovative identity in the ever-evolving technology landscape.
What did we learn from this?
- Nokia's recent rebranding demonstrates that updating a brand's image with a modern and minimalist approach can help it regain relevance in a rapidly evolving industry.
- Nokia's shift away from its iconic tagline "Connecting People" suggests that brands should embrace a future-focused approach to adapt to the changing technology landscape and create a more innovative identity.
A rebrand sometimes isn’t all just about colors and logo, but can even be a great move to protect your brand equity and integrity.
Toblerone, which is all set to move its production to Slovakia in 2023, removed the Matterhorn logo and “Established in Switzerland in 1908” tagline.
With legal regulations coming into place, Toblerone revamped its logo to make it look more contemporary and align it with the current design trends, while still retaining elements of its timeless identity.
This new rebranding emphasizes the brand’s commitment to its quality, heritage, and tradition while also staying relevant to its new generation of consumers. Goes to show that brands can evolve without diminishing their iconic image and continue to be market leaders globally.
This luxury fashion brand underwent a subtle yet bold rebranding signifying a more contemporary approach.
Sticking to their Parisian aesthetic, the brand’s logo now features a cleaner and bolder typeface, that speaks of its sophistication and modernity. This shows the brand’s commitment to evolving fashion trends while keeping intact its French heritage.
FC Barcelona's rebranding in 2018 is a significant step in modernizing the iconic football club's image.
While the club's emblem remains largely unchanged, the font has been updated to a more contemporary, streamlined style. This rebranding reflects Barcelona's commitment to staying relevant in the ever-evolving world of sports marketing.
This helps to improve the overall global appeal and resonate with the younger and tech-savvy fan base. This fresh revamp signifies FC Barcelona’s readiness to embrace the future, both on and off the football field, as it continues to inspire fans worldwide.
Rolling Stone, the iconic music and pop culture magazine, has undergone a noteworthy rebranding effort in 2022.
While preserving its legacy as a music authority, they broadened their content to add a wider range of cultural topics. The logo has been modernized, shedding its old-school, typewriter-style font for a sleeker, contemporary look.
This new rebranding signifies Rolling Stone's adaptation to the digital age, catering to diverse interests and a younger audience. The magazine remains a trusted source for music enthusiasts while expanding its coverage to include politics, entertainment, and social issues. It's a strategic move to stay relevant and maintain its status as a cultural influencer.
No, we’re not talking about a grocery store that sells rotten tomatoes. Rotten Tomatoes, the popular movie and TV review company, underwent a notable rebranding in 2018.
While maintaining its iconic tomato-based imagery, the platform revamped its logo with a more modern, polished appearance. This rebranding reflects Rotten Tomatoes' commitment to delivering trusted, user-generated ratings and reviews in an increasingly digital and diverse entertainment landscape.
Evernote, the popular note-taking and organization app, underwent a rebranding effort to align with its evolving mission.
While maintaining its familiar elephant logo, the brand introduced a more modern and refined color palette and typography. This rebranding signifies Evernote's commitment to productivity and information management in a digital age.
The updated design reflects simplicity, ease of use, and a focus on clarity. It aims to enhance user experience and attract a broader audience, including professionals and students.
Papa John's, the global pizza chain, initiated a significant rebranding effort in November 2021.
The most visible change was its logo, where the iconic Papa John character was given a more contemporary and streamlined look.
This transformation was part of the company's commitment to distancing itself from a controversial past and focusing on a fresh start. Beyond the visual changes, Papa John's also invested in improving its ingredients and customer experience.
The rebranding aimed to rebuild trust, emphasizing quality, inclusivity, and community engagement. It represents a pivotal shift for Papa John's as it strives to regain its position as a leading pizza brand with a renewed commitment to excellence.
In 2018, Best Buy, the electronics retailer, recently underwent a noteworthy rebranding effort.
It refined its logo, opting for a cleaner, more modern look while maintaining its iconic tagline "Let's talk about what's possible."
This rebranding emphasizes Best Buy's shift from a mere electronics store to a tech solutions destination. Evolving to meet changing consumer needs and providing immersive retail experiences can breathe new life into business.
Glamour, the renowned fashion and beauty magazine underwent a significant rebranding.
The publication shifted its focus from aspirational content to more relatable, diverse, and inclusive narratives.
This rebranding acknowledges the evolving standards of beauty and the importance of authenticity. Brands can learn that adapting to societal changes, celebrating diversity, and promoting genuine, relatable stories can resonate more deeply with today's audiences, fostering stronger connections and relevance in an ever-changing landscape.
IHOP, the popular breakfast chain, initiated a significant rebranding by temporarily changing its name to "IHOb, and then switching it to an inverted “p”.
Apart from being known as the International House of Pancakes, this rebranding move also emphasized their new burger offerings. They immediately withdrew the campaign successfully after drawing attention to their diversified menu.
What brands can learn from this is that a well-executed brand stunt can create buzz, introduce new offerings, and yet maintain its core identity.
What did we learn from this?
- We learn that well-executed brand stunts can be a powerful tool to create excitement and curiosity.
- This rebranding move allowed IHOP to introduce and emphasize their burger offerings while still maintaining their core identity as a breakfast chain.
- IHOP's ability to swiftly revert to its original name illustrates the importance of flexibility in branding. Brands should be adaptable and ready to adjust their strategies when needed to engage with their audience effectively.
Santander, the global banking giant, embarked on a substantial rebranding journey to revitalize its image.
It streamlined its visual identity by flipping the switch between its original red and white colors. The aim behind this rebranding is to position Santander on the digital banking landscape. Santander tried to reposition itself into a more customer-centric and technologically advanced banking system.
Mailchimp, the email marketing platform, underwent a notable rebranding. They simplified their logo and introduced a friendly and approachable mascot named "Freddie."
This rebranding aimed to humanize the brand and reflect its user-friendly ethos. Brands can learn from this that even in the digital realm, adding a personal touch and simplifying your brand's visual identity can help build stronger connections with users.
Google AdWords, the advertising platform, rebranded as "Google Ads" to better represent its broader advertising capabilities.
The rebranding aligned with Google's shift towards machine learning and automation in advertising. It aimed to simplify the platform's complex image and emphasize accessibility for businesses of all sizes and appeal to a larger digital advertising landscape.
Ogilvy, the renowned advertising agency, underwent a significant rebranding in 2020. They dropped "& Mather" from their name and introduced a new visual identity with a simplified logo and a vibrant color palette.
This transformation signified a shift towards a more modern, unified, and integrated agency. What one can learn from this is that staying relevant in the ever-changing advertising industry often requires a fresh, contemporary image and a commitment to adapt to evolving client needs, and have a competitive edge.
The Guardian, the reputable British newspaper, underwent a subtle yet impactful rebranding in 2018.
They introduced a new logo with a contemporary font and a striking black-and-white color scheme. This shift aimed to emphasize their digital-first approach and commitment to quality journalism.
Ben & Jerry's
Ben & Jerry's, the iconic ice cream brand, initiated a noteworthy rebranding effort by focusing on social and environmental justice issues.
They unveiled a new logo to celebrate their 20th anniversary. The new logo is a slight modern update to their iconic brand design and personality. They also revamped their packaging to prominently display their support for causes like climate change and racial justice, aligning with their values.
What did we learn from this?
- The slight update to their logo showcases that a brand can modernize its design without losing its core personality, maintaining recognition among customers.
- By using packaging to prominently display their support for causes, Ben & Jerry's shows that product packaging can serve as a platform for conveying a brand's values and engaging with consumers on important social issues.
Twitter embarked on a rebranding journey, updating its logo and emphasizing its role as a platform for public conversations and news.
Twitter's rebranding to "X" in a surprise move shocked the digital world. Though, it may not be the best move, this bold change of stripping away the platform's iconic bird logo and blue color scheme, aimed to signify a fresh start and shift towards more inclusive and diverse user experiences.
Rebranding on your mind?
Rebranding is a strategic move that can breathe new life into your brand and resonate with evolving consumer preferences. The examples we have explored showcase a variety of approaches, from subtle logo changes to dramatic shifts in messaging and brand identity.
What's clear is that successful rebranding requires a deep understanding of your target audience, with brands and creative teams aligned to your brand vision, along with a commitment to staying relevant. Book a demo to see how Artwork Flow can help you streamline your teams and fast-track your rebranding process.
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