7 Big Companies That Weren’t Afraid to Rebrand
Defining a company brand isn’t something anyone takes lightly. The amount of work, research, trial and error involved in brand creation can span months, or even years. Thus, when the term “rebranding”is brought up, people get nervous. Remaking or altering your company image can often feel like navigating through unchartered waters. But sometimes it’s necessary to recreate the wheel in order to get your vehicle moving forward again. If you’re not completely satisfied with your company image or looking to branch out into offering new services or products in the near future, there are a number of reasons you should consider rebranding, including:
To modernize an old design
Refresh an image to match the advances made in technology
Convey a new or bigger direction your company is headed towards
To work in tandem with a new product line
To breathe new life into a stale formula
To remedy a damaged reputation
Many internationally recognizable companies have made the decision to rebrand, and did so successfully without alienating their existing clients. The reasons they chose to rebrand vary, but in the end, the decision to do so resulted in long-term and ongoing benefits. Want to know their secret to rebranding success? Well, here it is.
1. The modernization of Paypal
When you over see the exchange of hundreds of millions of dollars, it’s important that you come across as modern and relevant. No one trusts a bank thatlooks outdated, which is why Paypal’s logo underwent a modernization. Not only does the new logo feature a more youthful typeface to connect to a wider audience, but it’s also far more mobile friendly than its predecessor. Re-branding Paypal had to be achieved with a careful eye – too drastic a change could potentially alienate or confuse existing users, who have come to trust Paypal. Thus, the new logo doesn’t toss aside Paypal’s long-standing history; it built upon it and gave it a much needed modernized look.
2. Simplifying Visa
Taking a look at Visa’s new logo, you might not even notice a change, but it exists. What once was a lighter blue color scheme, accented with a yellow strand affixed to the ‘V’, has now become one uniformed VISA displayed in a darker blue hue. As part of its rebranding strategy, Visa also deleted “It’s” from their tagline, so that it now reads “Everywhere you want to be.”
Okay, so two extremely subtle changes – what for? How do these slight changes enhance or modernize the Visa brand name? For starters, less is more is a generally good rule to live by. The word, “It’s” is essentially unneeded. By deleting it, Visa has now made their tagline even more succinct and direct. The same can be said for their logo as well. One uniform color symbolizes that Visa can work for everyone, everywhere, at anytime.
Some might argue that Visa’s changes are barely a rebranding, because of how subtle they were. But even seemingly unnoticed alterations fall under the term “rebranding.”
3. The Google Pixel
Google perhaps wins the prize as the most subtle rebranding of the year. In fact, most users likely didn’t notice the change at all when it took place. The change is so minor that, if you looked at Google’s old and new logo side by side, chances are you’d still not see the difference. The logo redesign consisted of a one-pixel rightward shift of the lowercase ‘g’, and a one-pixel downward (and rightward) shift of the ‘l’. This type of letter spacing shift is known as kerning.
In Google’s case, the reason for the shift was to make the logo more visually pleasing and consistent, even if it is on a subconscious level. With the new logo, the ‘l’ and ‘e’ are much more aligned, providing a far more clean and uniformed look, which should be the case for the technology giant.
4. The Flattening of Netflix
It only makes sense that Netflix undergo rebranding from time to time. The Netflix of today is nothing like the Netflix of the late 90s, when it was only a DVD-mailer service. Nowadays, it’s a multimedia powerhouse with its own original programming that rivals that of broadcast and cable channels. As such, Netflix recently decided to simplify its logo into a far more flattened and clean look that did away with its black drop shadow and heavy use of red.
Netflix hasn’t made it known why the change has occurred, but we can assume that it’s in large part due to the wide variety of places where the logo can now be found (on your smartphone, on billboards, etc.). The best way to ensure your logo is legible whether it’s 60 pixels wide or as big as a building, is to keep it simple.
Netflix’s rebranding was most likely designed to help the company shake free from its DVD-specific past, and plunge into its on-demand future.
5. Disney Channel – The Old & The New
Disney’s long-standing logo isn’t just some type of typography that a group of designers decided upon one day. It just so happens to be the signature stroke of founder Walt Disney. Getting rid of that iconic design would seem foreign to the wide range of loyal followers of the Disney brand; it’d distance the company from their beloved innovator. So, how could Disney breathe new life into their logo without doing away with Walt Disney’s signature stroke?
The logo gained a dynamic look – to attract a younger audience – while also adding the three-circle shape of Mickey Mouse as the dot upon the Disney ‘i’. The result is a perfect bridge that connects yesterday with tomorrow, without jarring the loyal Disney following.
6. The Redesign of Reebok
For nearly 100 years, Reebok’s logo included the Union Jack, Then, one day, in 1986, Reebok changed to a more minimal vector symbol. 18 years later, Reebok has once again completely changed their logo to feature a delta symbol (as is alsoseen in Google Drive and Delta), for very specific and conscious reasons. The delta, according to Reebok, symbolizes the physical, mental and social changes that occur when people embrace an active lifestyle.
So, why the rebranding? In Reebok’s case, the company felt that for years (particularly with their previous logo), they connected mostly with elite athletes. With society’s push toward fighting childhood obesity, Reebok aims to connect to the “everyday” person, while still remaining relevant to their existing customer base.
7. Olive Garden’s Renaissance
Olive Garden did not shy away from its reason behind redesigning its logo and restaurant interiors – sales were lagging. In an effort to gain momentum, the Italian-American restaurant chain was in desperate need to remain relevant to their target market while trying to attract new customers. So, what approach did Olive Garden take? Simplicity.
Olive Garden’s previous logo included a textured background, drop shadow edcursive font, and a rather life like (if not complex) depiction of grapes. The new logo does away with the shadows, background and realism, and replaces them all with a flat, clean design.
Rebranding is not a 4-letter word
In the examples above, only one company (Olive Garden) chose to rebrand as a result of lagging sales. The other companies made the choice in order to betterrepresent their current initiatives, to introduce a shift in focus (Reebok), or, in the case of Google, to clean up a logo that was justs lightly “off.”
Rebranding doesn’t have to be about fixing something that’s wrong. It can also be about looking to the future, and making changes to stay relevant. These internationally recognizable companies weren’t afraid to dive into a rebranding strategy for one reason or another. You shouldn’t put off your own rebranding strategy out of fear or because of potential risks. If approached and executed correctly, rebranding is an effective way to retain your current customers while attracting new ones. But it takes more than new colors to create an effective rebranding strategy. Before you move forward with any type of rebranding, be sure to seek the advice of an expert branding/marketing team who can help you make the right choices for your company.