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Branding is crucial for both well-established companies and new startups. Your company’s brand is more than distinctive colours and logo; it reflects your business’s values and represents an image your consumers can relate to. When consumers associate specific values and principles with your brand, it gains influence and attracts new customers while also increasing loyalty and engagement among the existing ones.


In recent times, it’s not enough to just convert prospects into customers. A strong brand is an influencer that understands the needs of the audience. You have to tell an exciting brand story for customers to build a strong connection between them and the company. This goal is impossible to achieve if you don’t stay in touch with your audience and don’t adjust your brand to its preferences, which constantly change.


Are you contemplating a rebrand? Perhaps you are not so inspired by your logo anymore, or you feel like the aesthetics do not speak to your values, or you are branching into new territories (such as new products or new geographies) with your company.


Rebranding is a much more complex process that requires serious preparation. Rebranding is intended to completely change the image of your business. It requires you to come up with a new brand story and philosophy.


Sometimes, rebranding also means targeting a new market. You may opt for a rebrand if you see that the current brand is no longer practical for the necessary audience or if you fundamentally change your business. Rebranding is essential when companies merge or when they plan to conquer a new industry. It will also be a good solution if your established brand lacks consistency or fails to communicate its message.


Although rebranding is a huge feat, it can also be an effort-intensive process, so you need to be deliberate about why and how to go about it.


Rebranding is a much more complex process that requires serious preparation.



A Rebrand is Not a Bad Sign!

A rebrand often means that a company has evolved from its origins and is ready to reach new heights. It offers an excellent opportunity to strengthen a company’s image, presence, and relevance to consumers.


But when companies get it wrong, they risk losing hundreds of millions of dollars, not to mention their position in the market. This is because the brand identity is fundamentally part of what a company uses to position its product or service and how it presents an aspect of itself to distinguish its place in the market.


To overhaul this by rebranding is to potentially change public perception and even the company’s very fabric. It should not be taken lightly or without proper preparation and awareness of the potential pitfalls.


Rebranding is a beast that you should be prepared for. It is more than just changing a logo or a website design. Rebranding literally means to change the image of your company or business from top to bottom. You are changing your brand philosophy and your brand story. Even with careful planning, thought and time put into a rebrand, they are always at risk of blowing up in your face.



Why Rebranding?

Sometimes you simply don’t have a choice – it can be called a “reactive rebrand.” The most common reasons include Mergers and legal or publicity issues, which often leave companies with no other option.


Proactive rebrands are driven by anticipated changes or are a result of ongoing brand assessments and audits that signal “it’s the time!” Some examples may include:


  • Planned change in leadership or business direction
  • New markets or services
  • Lack of alignment
  • Positioning issues or loss of relevancy
  • Lack of image and message consistency or a current brand is outdated


Risks of Rebranding?

  • A poor rebrand can alienate or confuse your audience.
  • Customers can feel like they are betrayed if your brand equity is not taken into consideration.
  • If not done well, it can clutter your brand instead of streamlining it.
  • Employees may not resonate with the rebranding strategy.


However, when they go right, rebrands can be the vehicle a company needs to find its place and rise to the top. Whether the business model has changed or the brand has become outdated, there are many reasons why a company should look to rebrand.




Examples of Failed Rebranding


A rebranding failure is more common than you might think. In fact, bad rebrands happen all the time.


When a rebrand is done right, the company will see an increase in sales from new and existing customers, while failed rebranding attempts lead to the opposite.


Consistent presentation of a brand has seen to increase revenue by 33%. How often have we seen companies take themselves too seriously and miss the mark on rebranding?


Let’s start things off right.




GAP Rebrand


With department stores all over the world, GAP is an international clothing retailer. In 2010, GAP changed the iconic logo that was emotionally bonded to every customer.



The outcry on their surprise unveiling of this new logo was so bad that they had to return to the original after just one week. Some even speculated that the GAP rebranding was so bad it was a PR stunt.


The new logo includes only the brand name and a little blue box on top of the last letter.

This change created outrage among loyal customers.



Lesson learnt from rebrand failure GAP

  • Design a new logo that doesn’t throw out a long positive history.
  • Always keep in mind the emotional bond that customers have towards your logo.
  • If your current look works, a redesign should enhance it or put a new spin on it, not turn it into a tasteless mush.
  • Be aware that sometimes changing a logo too much could result in losing the brand identity and even protests.




Royal Mail

Royal Mail (the UK’s biggest mail carrier) announced a new company name and brand: Consignia, in January 2001. Most people did not even understand the meaning of the new brand name, and the design definitely did not appeal to anyone. Mike Verdin of BBC News called the new name “A duffer. A howling waste of money.”


What was this company: toothpaste or mail delivery?



Consignia, the new name, was challenging to pronounce.

Furthermore, the lack of a structured PR campaign around the new Royal Mail logo made it challenging to follow. More than anything, people were confused about what was happening.


Living with the name for one year, the company reverted back to Royal Mail, and mostly everything was forgiven and forgotten about Consignia. The Consignia name cost £1.5 million to launch in January 2001. A little over a year later, it cost the company ¬¨¬£1 million to rebrand themselves again as Royal Mail.



Lesson learnt from rebrand failure of Royal Mail 

Even though a company may think they chose an appealing and easy-to-pronounce brand name, it may be challenging for their customers. Especially when it regards a unique company that has a diverse clientele.

  • Use simple, explanatory words.
  • Make sure it is clear to customers what the company is about, so the brand identity should comply with this understanding.






PwC is a company that offers professional accounting and tax services, and they are among the biggest firms in their field, including Deloitte, Tohmatsu, Ernst & Young, and KPMG.


In 2002 PricewaterhouseCoopers decided to change its name and logo to” Monday”, which should resemble new and fresh starts. However, PricewaterhouseCoopers used to operate based on a long tradition and a loyal customer base



The rebranding campaign was met with a lot of confusion among the existing customers. This new name did not resemble the area of expertise well. Therefore, after some time, the company decided to change its name to” PwC”, which was easier to remember, and still had a clear link to the company history.


Lesson learnt from rebrand failure PwC

  • Do not change your name in something that may alienate your customers.
  • It is best to involve their opinions in the change, and else only just try to simplify it.






Unlike rival brand Coca-Cola, Pepsi has always struggled with its brand identity. They have changed their logo multiple times. In 2008, Pepsi released its logo’s latest iteration, rotating the circular icon and incorporating a “cheeky smile” into the design. The smile was invariably invisible to most people.


Pepsi has been known for making risky moves with its advertising and branding and has even been called tone-deaf.



Surprisingly, Pepsi overcame the tremendous social media backlash from this failed commercial that gained nothing but critique.


The cost of rebranding the entire Pepsi company is $1.2 billion over 3 years, with the logo mark for Pepsi alone coming in at $1 million.



Lesson learnt from rebrand failure of Pepsi.

  • Customers have an emotional bond with logos. Even small changes to the design could result in confusion.
  • Always investigate what your loyal customers think about it.

We cannot talk about a few examples of failed rebrands without mentioning a few successful rebrands.


Do you want more information or help with a rebrand? Try not to make the same mistakes Get in touch.


Olayimika Babajide
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