The risky business of a rebrand.

A rebrand is defined as ‘the creation of a new name, term, symbol, design or combination thereof for an established brand with the intention of developing a new, differentiated identity in the mind of consumers, investors and competitors.’
The final 8 words in that definition are the absolute key to a successful rebrand and should be cemented in the minds of all involved in the identity overhaul.

Of course a company has to be happy with the way they look but an element of self-forgetting needs to happen during the process to think about your customers; existing customers who already love you for what you are.. will they turn their back on you when you change what they’re familiar with? potential customers who have never noticed you amongst the competition.. could you grab their attention with this new look?
With a rebrand done correctly, you don’t have to make a choice – you get to keep your already existing customers while attracting new ones.

With a rebrand gone wrong, however – you get neither.
It’s a sad moment when a company releases their exciting new look and you feel more baffled than impressed.
Like most things in life, it’s all down to taste and opinion – you can’t please all of the people all of the time, as they say – but there are times when it goes monumentally wrong and you don’t please any of the people any of the time.
You may be thinking that’s a bit drastic but when I show you this example from GAP you’ll understand…
gap rebrand

…got it?
A perfect example of ‘if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it’.

I do commend their bravery in attempting a drastic change of such a well known, loved brand but I do not commend their outcome. I’m not alone on that either – the rebrand was received with very tightly crossed arms.
That tall, serifed and handsome font replaced by the ever conventional Helvetica.. that beloved blue square shrunk and dropped clumsily on the end.. and don’t even get me started on that gradient.
The widespread less than impressed reaction resulted in GAP performing the fastest branding turnaround of all time – reverting back to the original in just 6 days.

There comes a risk with any rebrand – depending on the scale of the company whether that risk is a big one or a colossal one – to increase your chances of coming out the other end of that colossal task with a smile on your face and a fat wallet, always remember to keep your customers at the forefront of any decision.
Think why they fell in love with your company in the first place – they love your goals, message and culture – your identity puts a face on those things. They get familiar with that face, they trust that face. Then you go and change that face..  that makes them worry what else has changed.. are you still the same on the inside?
That question is the crucial element in a rebrand. It’s not about just changing a logo, it’s about taking what’s on the inside, taking a company’s ethos and carrying them forward – interpreting them in a beautifully designed identity.

…you just need the right design company for that. *hint hint, nudge nudge*




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