rebranding cover image google logo

Great Rebranding Examples to Inspire You9 min read

When a brand is no longer connecting to its target audience, it’s time for a rebrand. There’s an art and science to navigating your rebranding campaign successfully. Let’s get started!

Whether it’s on your website, your product packaging, your social media presence, in your emails, or even at your events, the importance of brand consistency is paramount to building trust with your target audience.

As we all know, trust is key in any relationship, and the relationship between a brand and its audience is no different. But of course, there is a massive difference between being consistent and staying stagnant.

rebranding meeting

Brands have a duty to keep their finger on the pulse and stay up-to-date with latest developments. Not just the industry that they work in, but the cultural climate they operate in as well. Sometimes, well, a change is needed in order for a brand to remain as an asset or will be at risk of falling behind (and falling below the line!).

The thing with rebranding is that it is going to be one of two things:


A refresh

A complete change

As a marketer, the question that you have to ask yourself when considering a rebrand is just how different you want to be from your original branding. Because the moment you change your brand voice, the view your audience will have of you will be disrupted, causing confusion and potentially losing trust from your customers if you don’t execute the rebrand properly.

If you do decide that your brand has lost its way and a rebrand is much needed, you can move forward with it. A fair word of warning, though:

Don’t forget to communicate your rebrand to your customers.

Let’s take a look at a branding blunder so that you don’t make the same mistakes.

Gap

The fateful story began back in 2010, when Gap launched its new logo. No warning, no sense of build-up to their new design. Just BAM – the original logo disappeared and a new one appeared, seemingly out of nowhere.

Take a look at the before & after:

By the way, the original logo had served Gap well for over 20 years!

What exactly is the problem here?

The original logo has a familiarity, a history, a rapport with consumers.

The new logo? Basically nothing. Customers wouldn’t recognize it – for all they knew, this could have been a completely different store. And that would have been okay… IF that had been the intention of the company.

Our biggest issue here is that Gap wasn’t looking to completely distance itself from its history. And the moment the design hit, the internet was in uproar. Gap reverted to their original logo in a matter of 6 days – probably one of the fastest rebranding turnarounds of all time!

The price they paid for it?

It’s been estimated that the rebranding error cost Gap around $100 million.

But what can we take away here? What exactly went wrong? It wasn’t that the design was objectively ‘bad’. It was that this mistake showed a total lack of understanding in the importance of communication and how much strategy and planning needs to go into building brand equity.

Some Brands That Got it Right

So now, let’s move onto the good stuff, the rebrands that went well. We’ll start off with our beloved Google.

So, we have to ask… did you notice this change? Do you remember when Google changed their logo?

Ask around, and you may actually find that the logo change was not actually noticed by too many.

That right there is a hallmark of a successful rebrand.

Since 1999, Google had used the Serif typeface – it had been the same for years! The new logo was an in-house Google creation, it definitely looks much more modern than its predecessor.

So how did Google navigate its rebrand successfully?

As you can see, the colors have remained the same, so at a quick glance, you won’t notice much.

The playfully tilted ‘e’ has also remained, but the colors appear to have softened.

Overall, the difference is extremely subtle (unlike our buddy Gap). On top of this, the communication from Google as to the reason behind the change sets the tone for triumph.

A company blog post written by Tamar Yehoshua, Google’s Vice President of Product Management and Bobby Nath, Google’s Director of User Experience stated the following:

“Once upon a time, Google was one destination that you reached from one device: a desktop PC.

“These days people interact with Google products across many different platforms, apps and devices – sometimes all in a single day.

“Today we’re introducing a new logo and identity family that reflects this reality and shows you when the Google magic is working for you, even on the tiniest screens.

“We think we’ve taken the best of Google (simple, uncluttered, colorful, friendly), and recast it not just for the Google of today, but for the Google of the future.”

The subtlety of the change combined with these warming messages helped to navigate the rebrand to success.

Communication is key in all things marketing, and there is no exception here.

rebranding meeting

As we saw before with Gap, the biggest issue with their rebrand was that there was no warning, no messaging about the rebrand. It wasn’t that their logo was poorly designed or objectively bad, it was that the change in the logo was too drastic and seemingly without due cause.

On the other hand, as we saw with Google, there was a well-thought-out reasoning process and a strategic approach to the changes that were going to be made to the logo.

The rebrand was explained simply and clearly; no one can really argue with the logic behind the change.

AirBnb

Another rebranding effort that is worth taking a look at is AirBnb. Founded back in 2007 by two roommates, Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia, the two were fixated on the concept of creating a community where people would be comfortable sharing their homes with total strangers. The concept clearly worked, as AirBnb is now a major global player and today is estimated to be worth at least $38 billion.

WOW!

Why Did They Rebrand?

The biggest reason behind the change was that Airbnb felt their brand identity needed to be closer to their vision: that anyone can belong anywhere. In order to properly communicate their vision, Airbnb created their Bélo symbol. The brand decided to go for a vibrant red to reflect the notion of passion and love, and the Bélo was chosen as a symbol of people, places, and love – the 3 corners – to then form the shape of an “A”.

AirBnb is an example of a rebrand that was needed for a fresh start and a rejuvenation. In doing so, there was also a major campaign behind it; their “Welcome Home” campaign carefully communicated the rebrand to its audience.

Now, let’s move onto a tastier example…

Pizza Hut

You may not know this, but Pizza Hut (started by a pair of students) was given its name because the two only had room for nine letters on their sign.

pizza hut old logo

At the time Pizza Hut was launched, fast food was still a fairly new and hot concept. In the last decade or so, however, we’ve seen intense competition in this space. Restaurants have even entered the arena by offering artisanal pizzas, pizza-by-the-slice and so on.

Unfortunately for Pizza Hut, this meant they fell out of favor with consumers, no longer being the freshest or the cheapest. On top of that, major competitors Domino’s and Papa John’s had increased their sales in 2014. This fuelled the fire and Pizza Hut decided to some bold changes.

Pizza Hut unveiled its new logo: a modern twist to signal their change. And, after undertaking serious research to understand what the younger generation wanted, Pizza Hut launched their new “Flavor of Now” menu.

pizza hut rebranded menu

When undertaking this research, Pizza Hut reached out to food truck owners in New York, and found that this generation wanted more variety, more choice of world and experimental flavors, and an option of organic and fresh ingredients.

So, Pizza Hut realised, to recapture their target audience, they needed to listen.

Key Rebranding Takeaways

There you have it: three examples of successful rebranding initiatives.

Here are some key takeaways to keep in mind with your own rebrand:

  1. Do your research. What do your consumers want or expect from your industry? What do people think about your brand right now, and how will a change influence their perception of you?
  2. Understand where your falling profits are coming from. Is it a direct result of your outdated or irrelevant branding initiative?
  3. Keep communication open with your customers. Don’t blindside them with a total brand overhaul!
  4. Listen to the needs of your target audience. Again, this ties back into our first point. A rebrand should only occur if your brand has fallen out of favor with your audience.
  5. Ensure you have a thought-out plan that can be executed. When you undertake a rebrand, you’re going to have to think about a lot of different changes that need to be made. Every piece of content – every video, whitepaper, eBook, social media post – as well as every customer touchpoint will have to be changed before the rebrand is ready to be revealed to the public.

And don’t forget to remain consistent after the rebrand! Whether you decide that you need a little face-lift or a complete overhaul, be sure to stick with your decision.

A Final Word

If you’ve enjoyed this article and want to learn more about how to build a profitable and sustainable brand that converts, connects, and lasts, check out Adversent’s Branding Mastery Course, where you can learn step-by-step how to create a profitable brand from the ground up.

Adversent is a digital marketing education community that provides business owners and budding entrepreneurs a place to learn the real methods of how to build a successful business in the digital landscape.

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