In light of Hermes’ recent brand overhaul to become “Evri”, a question on everyone’s lips is “Why?”. Many businesses go through a complete rebrand for specific reasons; in an attempt to improve poor customer service, stay with the current times, branch out into a different market, or something else entirely.
Rebranding can make or break a business. In some cases, people will never understand why the change has occurred and what the benefit of it was meant to be. However, it can also spark a new life into brands that have constantly been stagnating and reporting significant profit losses. Keep on reading below and check out our list of five rebranding highs and five lows.
A favourite of many Brits, Burberry’s iconic design is one that most would recognise. However, in the early 2000s, Burberry became highly associated with British “chav” and football hooligan culture. In 2004, certain pubs started to ban patrons who wore Burberry, and many saw it as a brand to stay away from. Some city-goers also believed that if they were to be mugged, it would be done by someone wearing Burberry.
After soap star Daniella Westbrook was seen kitted out in a Burberry outfit, with matching clothes for her young child and a matching pattern for the baby stroller, The Guardian claimed that “the Burberry check had become the ultimate symbol of nouveau rich naff”. Burberry needed a rebrand.
Under Christopher Bailey (hired in 2001), he began to set right the wrong that had become associated with Burberry. Kate Moss, the face of the brand, was decked out in sleeker and more risqué outfits; a very famous 2000 Spring ad featured Moss adorning a Burberry wedding dress & accompanied by guests, all wearing Burberry outfits.
They began to buy back various licenses for products, allowing for a more extensive range to be released featuring their design. By the next decade, Burberry’s standing was back to its original position, and profits were on the up.
McDonald’s golden arches are a favourite sight of young kids and motorway users alike. Being one of the biggest companies on the planet, a rebrand is something to be very wary of; it could be disastrous or highly successful, there’s no in-between.
In 2004, indie director, Morgan Spurlock, released his well-known documentary “Super Size Me”. Within the self-made piece, Spurlock ate McDonald’s food three times a day for a whole month to raise awareness about the harmfulness of fast food and the adverse health benefits of eating at such restaurants.
The film had a significant impact on McDonald’s image. Soon after, they released salads, wraps and their famous McCafé range to try and combat the increasing view of the fast-food chain being the home to health and weight issues.
Whilst this wasn’t a logo, name or identity change, it was a menu rebrand and one that was much-needed. McDonald’s wraps are hugely popular nowadays, but so is their McCafé range; the coffee, tea and hot chocolate selections are popular amongst many people visiting their local McDonald’s store.
American coffee giant, Starbucks, announced a logo redesign in 2011 in an attempt to branch out into different avenues and move away from being known as purely a coffee brand.
The main feature of the new logo was the removal of “Starbucks Coffee” from the design. Now just an image of a mermaid, some wondered whether this actually signifies Starbucks as a brand. Was the green mermaid that recognisable to not warrant the need for the brand name in the design?
However, as the years have passed, the Starbucks mermaid is a key component of their brand identity. Since the redesign, stocks have been regularly increasing, and Starbucks has expanded into different markets to sell and showcase a large variety of products.
Instagram’s logo redesign in 2016 sent the entire social world into chaos. Had you not known that it was changing, you might have been searching your phone for a fair while to try and find your beloved photo-sharing app.
Like with any big rebrand in the digital age, many were skeptical about whether it was the right choice. The logo was a complete redesign, switching from the vintage look of a camera to a more sleek, colourful design. Some would say that it became a bit plainer, but it was more modern, and that’s what was needed.
The original polaroid design was becoming a bit outdated for an app that was changing in so many ways; live videos and stories were introduced in the same year, and Instagram heads felt they had to make the switch.
Whilst the new design was met with some criticism (mainly from users who had become so used to the original design), it was a successful switch and one that helped the app launch itself into a new era.
Walmart’s 2008 rebrand has been labelled as one of the most successful rebranding campaigns ever. Before the rebrand, Walmart was known as the place to shop if you needed something low priced. Whilst this isn’t a bad thing, people’s perceptions of low priced goods had shifted, and more and more consumers had access to disposable income and the ability to purchase more high-end products. Walmart’s slogan of “always low prices” had become outdated.
Walmart decided to start its rebrand by changing its logo and updating the slogan to “Save money. Live better”. As the shop is well-known for lower prices, they had to keep the mention of “save money”, but the “live better” lets customers know that their products are ones to be needed if you want a comfortable life.
Customers flocked back to their nearest Walmart to try and see if the new and updated store would actually make their lives better. The redesign inside the stores made it feel more welcoming, and ultimately, ratings and stocks skyrocketed.
Leeds United Football Club
Considered an absolute failure by football fans and marketers alike, Leeds United unveiled a brand new crest in 2018 that aimed to celebrate the club’s centenary & the “fans at the heart of our identity”.
Many wondered who the 10,000 people were who had supposedly been “consulted” about this redesign and how it was approved. It wasn’t just Leeds supporters who disapproved, but many rival fans and clubs criticised them for the poor design (e.g. Aston Villa).
Ultimately, 77,000 people signed a petition against the logo, more than double the capacity of Leeds’ Elland Road stadium! The day after the announcement, the club decided to rethink the strategy behind the badge and go back to the consideration stage. Soon after that, they announced that the new badge wouldn’t be used, and the club resorted back to its original crest.
In 2010, Gap’s stocks had dropped 40%, and something needed changing. They decided on a complete logo rehaul to spark new life into their brand, something that was met with large amounts of criticism from people on Twitter & Facebook. Additionally, a website was set up (makeyourowngaplogo.com) in an attempt to spark humiliation at the change.
A big issue with the change was that it was announced with no prior warning to customers. Shoppers turned up to the stores and were none the wiser due to the little difference. No new clothes were released or stores remodelled; it was just the logo. The redesign was also done in the run-up to Christmas when so many people would be shopping for presents. A big thing to change when there’s soon to be a large influx of customers.
After $100 million and only six days, the company realised their mistake and resorted back to the original logo.
One of Britain’s most famous household names, Royal Mail is definitely one company that didn’t need a rehaul. The mailing service was founded in 1516 but formally known as a service for the public in 1635. However, in 2001, they announced a rebrand to be known as Consignia (no, we also have no idea what it means or how it’s meant to be pronounced).
Royal Mail remained as Consignia for just one year before reverting back to its original name. They reported large staff and profit losses during this time, maybe not due to the name change, but it wasn’t an easy year for them. The first change reportedly cost Royal Mail £2 million to make official and was, according to the BBC, a “duffer” and a “howling waste of money”.
In 2018, Weight Watchers announced a name change to become “WW”, standing for “Wellness that Works”. After being known as Weight Watchers for 55 years, the company’s decision to rebrand was in an attempt to branch out and be able to specialise in many other things than just weight loss through dieting.
Many consumers were left confused when they found out that WW didn’t stand for Weight Watchers but something completely different. What does “Wellness that Works” actually mean? Weight Watchers perfectly describes the company’s aim (to help with weight loss), but Wellness that Works doesn’t really explain much about its services.
The name is also a confusing one to pronounce. How is WW expecting people to say their name out loud? “Weight Watchers” is simple and one that anyone can easily say and understand. But “WW”? Are they expecting us to call them “Double You Double You” out loud?
The new name is still in use today and confuses those who aim to engage with the brand.
We wouldn’t be surprised if you had never heard of Cottbus before. The city in northeast Germany boasts a population of over 100,000 and is a lovely place to visit if you’re ever in the area.
Many cities, especially ancient, Germanic ones, feature a bold coat of arms as their city logo or crest, one that follows heritage and shows an understanding of history. However, in 2008, Cottbus decided to throw away its city crest and opt for a more modern and confusing design. The new logo left everyone wondering: “What does it actually mean?” and we don’t think that question has ever been answered.
It included a mix of colours in a unique design that was met with a lot of disapproval from residents and people across the world. It’s no surprise that the city soon reverted back to its original crest.
There you have it! 10 rebranding highs and lows that aim to showcase exactly how tricky it is for companies to completely or subtly change their brand image. Are there any more that we’ve missed out? Let us know via our social media accounts. If you’re looking to grow your brand through paid social, PPC or email marketing, don’t hesitate to get in touch! Or, if your brand is in need of a touch-up, contact our design team today! We’d be more than happy to help.