Marketing Tips, Insights, and Trends
Minimizing Your Chances of Rebranding Failures and Disasters
Author: Carolyn Menz Category: Branding Date: May 3, 2019
Rebranding is often one of the most challenging tasks to undertake as a marketer or business owner, so it should come as little surprise that even some of the most well-known companies – with sizeable budgets and access to the most respected marketing minds in the industry – have experienced their fair share of rebranding failures and disasters.
One of the notoriously worst rebrands occurred during the busy Christmas shopping season of 2010 when Gap ditched its iconic navy blue square logo in favor of a new logo featuring a more rounded font in front of a small blue square with a diagonal gradient. The new design was one that critics have referred to as a graphic that could have been thrown together using WordArt – and yet, it cost Gap, Inc. $100 million to create, only for it to be ditched six days after it made its unwelcome debut. Talk about a rebranding disaster.
Similarly, the year before, Tropicana took a couple of rebranding risks when it made changes to its orange juice packaging, opting to forego the iconic, nostalgic orange with the red and white striped straw sticking out of it, and instead replaced it with an image of a glass of OJ. They also switched up their wordmark and gave it a bit of a softer, rounder feel. While some people liked the new, cleaner look, Tropicana’s sales told a different story. Sales plummeted by 20% over a six-week period (estimated to be equal to a loss of $137 million in revenue), and like Gap, Tropicana ultimately reverted back to its original carton design.
Rebranding a business doesn’t always have to end in a rebranding disaster. A company rebrand can actually be quite lucrative when done right – and the creative process that accompanies it may even open your eyes to new insights on the direction of your business and the current pulse of your industry.
Rebranding strategy done right
Developing a successful rebranding strategy requires you to have a solid grasp on the vision for your company, as well as a real understanding of the shifting needs and interests of your target audience. It also requires lots and lots of research.
To avoid rebranding disasters like the ones experienced by Gap and Tropicana above, first take a step back and ask yourself some questions. Are you acting on a whim, simply because you’ve grown tired of your current logo? Or is there a real need for a rebrand? Has the market shifted? Has your company shifted? Has your audience changed?
If you’ve been in business for a while, maybe your company has found its niche and a new logo, updated color palette or revised messaging strategy would serve you well in more accurately telling your story. In that case, a rebranding effort may be warranted. When done right, a company rebrand can be well worth the investment because, ultimately, your brand is a direct representation of who you are as a company, and you want the image you portray to be relevant to the work you do and to the audience you serve.
With that in mind, consider these four tips as you embark on your rebranding journey:
- Don’t try to reinvent the wheel. Keep your focus on refining your existing brand, rather than starting over from scratch. Identify the most meaningful elements of your brand and build upon those to create a logo, color palette and messaging that are indicative of who you are as a company.
- Show it to people. The only way to gauge whether your rebranding efforts are likely to be well received is to talk to your current and prospective clientele and listen to their feedback.
- Expect varying opinions. Some people will love your new proposed look, and some will prefer the original. And that’s okay. There’s no such thing as a perfect brand.
- Be prepared to adjust. Listen to what your audience has to say, and be open to making changes. You may not like what you hear, but to avoid ending up on the list of rebranding disasters, it’s important to respect the preferences of your target clientele.
Avoiding rebranding failures – the bottom line
Simply put, a successful rebrand requires lots of work and an open mind. To avoid the same rebranding failures as the likes of Gap and Tropicana, do your homework, be prepared for some pushback, and don’t be afraid to stay true to your roots.
For additional guidance on how to successfully rebrand your company, contact Paradigm Marketing and Design today to schedule a consultation.