Written by Anthony Del Gigante
When your brand’s logo or message falls flat with customers or doesn’t align with your firm’s goals, it may be time for a change. Rebranding can be time-consuming and costly, so it’s essential to make a change for the right reasons.
But, how can you tell if your brand needs a reboot? Are a few small changes necessary, or is it the right time for a complete makeover? MDG Advertising’s brand experts have identified nine key signs that it’s time to shake things up:
- Your Brand’s Mission Has Changed
As your brand strategy and target market evolve, your firm’s goals may change. Sometimes, businesses end up with completely different objectives and market conditions than when they began, making re-branding necessary.
CVS Caremark is a good example. The firm initially combined CVS, a general store and drugstore, and Caremark, which focused on pharmacy benefit management. As the company grew, it had multiple business segments under the same roof. At that point, the firm became CVS Health to better reflect its diverse services. The new name and logo design were based on a fresh objective: to help customers achieve a goal of improved health. This also reflected a companywide decision to end cigarette sales.
- Your Brand’s Potential Is Limited
When businesses are founded, they often focus on highly descriptive branding so that customers will immediately know what they offer. However, using specific, descriptive branding can later become restricting.
Dunkin’ Donuts had this problem. Initially, its branding implied that the eatery was somewhere to get coffee and doughnuts. Over time, the restaurant began offering other types of foods, so limiting its brand to “Dunkin’ Donuts” didn’t accurately convey all its products. As its menu expanded, the decision was made to drop “Donuts” and emphasize the easily recognizable and unique brand name: Dunkin’.
- Your Brand Name Needs Clarity
Do your brand name and message make sense to potential customers? If they don’t, it’s time for a rebrand.
Many consumers might not remember that Google was first launched as BackRub because it was focused on scanning backlinks. This misleading name didn’t resonate with users, who found it confusing. The company rebranded into Google just a year later. Google also made another branding change in 2015, when it changed the typeface in its logo to a more modern san serif font.
- Your Brand Is Evolving
Has your business changed? Sometimes mergers, acquisitions, legal disputes, or diversification make it important to rebrand.
In 2000, a new business was formed out of Arthur Andersen: Andersen Consulting. Andersen also gained notoriety during the scandalous collapse of Enron, which brought an unforeseen benefit to the name change.
Andersen Consulting introduced a new name—Accenture—which is known today for its high performance and industry leadership. By combining “accent” with “future,” the name Accenture illustrates how the firm helps its clients build their futures.
- Your Brand Isn’t Unique
A great brand will help your firm look and sound good, but it also will help it stand apart from the competition. If your brand doesn’t seem differentiated from the rest of the market, it may be time for an overhaul.
However, use caution when rebranding only for the sake of seeming unique. In 2010, Gap made the decision to change its iconic blue-and-white box logo in favor of a new design. Unfortunately, the rebrand wasn’t a success—the different typeface and smaller blue box fell flat with Gap’s audience. The company switched back to its original logo shortly thereafter.
- Your Brand Isn’t Making Sense in All Scenarios
Many brands work well in certain circumstances, but they fail to make sense in others. One example would be a brand that only makes sense in one language, country, or format. This is especially significant for companies that aim to serve customers across multiple countries.
Airbnb faced this issue in recent years. It was flourishing on mobile and abroad, but its odd name and text-only logo weren’t translating well across these areas. With a rebrand in 2014, Airbnb introduced a new icon and images that would be widely recognizable. Called the “Bélo”, Airbnb’s new icon was created with the goal of becoming a globally recognized symbol of belonging. And it has obviously worked, with ancillary services like the Airbnb turnaround service for your rental as an example
- Your Brand Has a Less-than-Stellar Reputation
Sometimes, a brand name is a liability. If consumers have a negative connotation surrounding your brand, a change may be necessary.
Philip Morris is a good example. The brand struggled with a poor reputation as a result of its strong connection with tobacco. During a rebranding, Phillip Morris renamed itself Altria, which didn’t gain traction among consumers. But, in this situation, crafting a catchy name was far less important than eliminating the negative view of the brand.
- Your Brand Wants to Convey Luxury
When a brand commands a premium, its messaging and appearance must reflect high quality. What resonates with some audiences might not work for others.
Outdoor furnishings manufacturer Castelle had a successful brand, but wanted to expand its reach to a more upscale clientele. The firm completed a brand overhaul, changing its logo, font, and even adding “Handcrafted luxury furnishings” as its tagline. These changes enabled the brand to reach a more affluent audience.
- Your Brand Appears Outdated
Consumer tastes and preferences change over time, and brands need to stay up-to-date with the latest trends. Sometimes, certain styles or fonts simply go out of style, and a once-popular brand can seem outdated.
Take Pepsi, for example: through the years, its name has changed to simply Pepsi from Pepsi-Cola, and even its color choices have changed—from just red, to red and blue. Pepsi also changed its original serif font to a more contemporary sans serif.
As illustrated by these examples, a willingness to embrace change—even when it means refreshing your brand—can pay off in the end.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Anthony Del Gigante, Chief Creative Officer at MDG Advertising
Anthony Del Gigante is chief creative officer at MDG Advertising, a branding/traditional ad agency made digital, with offices in Boca Raton, Florida and Brooklyn, New York. Over the years, his unique talents in brand strategy, visual identity development, and brand activation have consistently delivered measurable results for a wide range of world-renowned clients, including American Express, Verizon, AbbVie, and Cushman Wakefield. A brand specialist, Anthony leads MDG’s creative development, working with clients to develop creative, strategic, and functional solutions for their brands.