3 Examples of Rebranding Approaches
Sit up straight now, breathe deeply, and relax. Then let’s talk about product rebranding. Yes, changing your brand’s icon is a frightening venture, but often it just makes sense to take the plunge.
When contemplating a brand refresh, you never know how your loyal customers and the consumers will react. That is why a brand refresh is so ominous and often avoided. Always remember your buyer’s passion for consistency ... they like routine. And, when done well, the results can be financially and emotionally rewarding. The examples of three famous company’s rebranding efforts below portray different motivation, approaches and outcomes.
Approach Backfire: Tropicana
Tropicana learned the hard way when they decided to change their look - Tropicana orange juice cartons with the fresh orange stuck with a straw on the front convey ‘refreshing.’ But when parent company Pepsico announced their plan to “simplify” the design to something entirely new, the unexpected happened. Consumers revolted. A 19% decline in sales ($33M loss after refresh launch) was immediate and certainly unanticipated for their brand refresh plan.
When asked, Tropicana consumers called the new design a generic “store brand” and ugly. With such a significant reaction, the fallback prompted Pepsico to roll back its brand refresh plan and return to their original logo and packaging.
The moral of this example is to always trust your consumer’s passion for consistency and sticking to what they know and trust. Some upfront research also provides real market insights. Understanding what keeps consumers coming back to you rather than your competitors is your starting point! Don’t gamble until you do solid research.
Deliberate Approach: Starbucks
Starbucks coffee drinkers are very brand loyal. So, when Starbucks removed the words “coffee” from their logo, the company couldn’t know what the reaction would be. Well, the new brand wasn’t all that dramatic. People immediately recognized the original central design girl-with-crown which automatically prompted immediate association while remaining traditional yet a fresh new look. Their rebranding was a smash; their brand is
Whenever you’re considering rebranding check your data before making any big moves. While trusting your consumers, also follow your intuition since rebranding includes instinct, and in this case, Starbucks chose to do just that.
One of the best brand “refreshes” was from IHOP. One reason to embark on a brand refresh is to regenerate interest in your company and remind people that you’re still around, still relevant, and have something new to show them. When you offer pancakes … but that’s working now … you announce that you’re more than a pancake house.
IHOP’s new message “In My Feelings” sparked an intense media surge. IHOP’s online draw grew more popular than it has ever been in the company’s history. Millions of posts about IHOP’s new slogan struck a chord with social media enthusiasts. The hype translated from just posts about the refresh itself to a meme later on, keeping IHOP in the news for months. They also gained a 30% rise in stock during the campaign.
We can learn a lot from IHOP in this case. Sometimes, unexpected ideas drive the greatest change. The old slogan … “Change is constant, Change is Good” really fits IHOP’s decision. Remember, just because you’ve been doing one thing for years, doesn’t mean it’s working. And if you add new elements to your offering, you must reapply lipstick to your story!
Consumers may disagree that these companies made “good” or “bad” choices, but we always have to be prepared for some heat, because some folks won’t like the changes you make during a rebranding period.
Again, do your homework. Ask a lot of questions. Do some trial testing. Once you decide to leap and have the strategy in place, stick to your vision and HIT GO!
Rebranding is an adventure. Some win, some lose, some get rained out. But when – not if – your brand begins to sag, or your competitors are taking market share from you, give your brand some thought. As you see, rebranding is a process and doesn’t happen overnight.
New can be fun, try it.
HQZ Experts has worked with clients through re-branding planning and look forward to helping you explore your product or company rebrand journey.