Do you recall these recent examples of rebranding gone wrong?
- In 1985, Coca-Cola tried to introduce “New Coke,” a new recipe for a younger generation. Strong consumer backlash forced the company to revert back to Coca-Cola Classic after just 77 days… and $4 million.
- In the late nineties, British Airways changed the classic Union Flag on its tail-fin with a series of “ethnic” designs from around the globe. Margaret Thatcher famously draped her handkerchief over a model airplane sporting the new look and called it “awful.” The following year, they ditched their much-criticized design and replaced it with a red, white and blue Union Flag that was more akin to the British identity consumers knew and loved.
- In 2010, Gap ditched its classic blue box “Gap” logo for a newer version — only to revert back to the old logo within a week after a tremendous volume of social media criticism.
When is the right time for a company rebranding?
On the other hand, there are plenty of ripe occasions for rebranding a company. Here are a few:
- Your target market doesn’t “get” your brand. The owner of Accent Inns was crushed when a focus group told her customers thought they were an “American, bottom-of-the-barrel budget motel line,” rather than the affordable, high quality, socially responsible, locally owned and cool image they wished to portray.
- You’ve changed or expanded your product offerings. Your design elements must reflect what you wish to promote and sell. Otherwise, what good is marketing at all? If you have the nagging feeling that your look is outdated, then it might be time for an image overhaul.
- Your logo doesn’t stand out. It happens to the best of us. Sometimes you hire the wrong designer and end up with a bland, generic image that looks like everyone else in your field. You should have a look that’s memorable.
- Your reputation is at stake. Are you having trouble living up to your promises? Are negative perceptions dogging your business? Are your own employees misunderstanding the brand message? Detach, detach, detach!