Changing your brand from the ground up, including logo, naming and identity change can bring you exponential growth. Opening new markets, a cohort of new customers – an ultimate brand dream. But there are risks associated with it. When to rebrand and what to look out for? Get inspired by successful global brands.
Rebranding sums up all activities that lead to a strategic brand and practically rebuilds it from the ground up. The key goal is perception change while widening or altering consumer audiences.
In general, we distinguish between 2 types of rebranding – partial (a redesign) and full (new strategy, philosophy or brand direction).
Does your brand qualify for a rebrand?
Listing signals for significant change:
- the brand name does not reflect the company’s vision,
- the brand is too complex and its competitive advantage is unclear,
- the strategy or business model has undergone a significant change,
- the brand is undergoing a merger or acquisition,
- the brand is considering expansion into foreign markets and is semantically or geographically constrained by its current name,
- the current brand has a negative image,
- the brand wants to raise prices or change the customer structure,
- the brand does not attract top talent for the positions.
3 major rebranding stories and their lessons
Old meeting the new: The FedEx logo from the 1970s (left) and the current logo, which has been used with minor modifications since 1994. Source: FedEx archive
FedEx is a prime example of a brilliant rebranding. An iconic brand, known for its express parcel delivery, rose to shine in 1994 when it decided to redesign its name and logo. By shortening the name to 1 word (originally Federal Express), and putting all the eggs in the basket with a beautiful vibrant colour palette, FedEx still tops other shipping companies 27 years later.
The rebranding process was accompanied by extensive global research, meticulous planning and a new strategy. The result was not only a shortened name, which according to the surveys more strongly associated company´s speed and dynamism, but also a new logo. The winner from more than 200 different designs.
The final design is a typographic jewel that hides an arrow symbol in the space between the letters E and X, and is considered one of the best brand symbols of all time.
Before you dive into the deep waters of rebranding, look at your business environment, both externally and internally. Get the full picture by conducting a variety of surveys that will provide valuable insights. The most crucial one being your current brand perception. This will further clarify any deviations between desired and actual brand image. Grasping the new brand and preparing for effective change will therefore be much easier. Don´t rebrand for the sake of it.
The Pfizer logo pill has been replaced by a double spiral (right). Source: Pfizer archive
Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer boasts of the biggest redesign in seven decades. The new logo abandons the familiar pill shape and takes inspiration from the double helix, which symbolises passion and commitment to science, innovation and patient well-being.
Designers took time to come up with the striking logo – exactly 18 long months. A true visual representation of the new strategy. Pfizer seizes this opportunity to deliver on its mission – to transform itself from a pharmaceutical company into a science-driven brand with a focus on disease prevention and the utmost commitment to patients.
Prior to the logo launch, the company conducted focus groups with thousands of patients, physicians, and employees around the world, and subsequently created a targeted website. On it, Pfizer not only reveals the strategic drivers of the rebranding or authentic management statements but also presents the new strategy and key parts of the visual language.
Rebranding should deliver on its value proposition through the crafty story. Give media a reason to spontaneously spread the word about your change. Create a platform for journalists to draw information from with a wide resources gallery (new logo, photos, typography, management statements).
Remember that rebranding is only the start of the journey. Involve all stakeholders and let them positively push the brand for you.
Carmaker Renault bracing the digital world with the redesigned logo (right). Source: Renault archive
Is your brand ready for the new era? By changing its logo and visual identity, French carmaker Renault is marching towards its digital avatar. And who should create it? Design chief Gilles Vidal was summoned for this task. And boy, did he deliver. He based the design on two intertwined lines that together form the notorious diamond.
The line design is also intended to symbolise the carmaker´s new path. In other words, the logo is prepared for the digital age. The flat element allows for adoption to different digital platforms, makes it easier to work with animations and is equally applicable to the masks of the new models.
The logo also thought of the brand´s electrification plans. Lastly, Renault’s approach is underpinned by a comprehensive strategy change, which it calls Renaulution. The new logo will appear on all models by 2024. Watch out.
The world is constantly changing. If your brand is in it for the long run, you need to keep your finger on the pulse of trends and innovate wisely. In many cases, rebranding is absolutely essential. But it’s your job to figure out when it´s the right time.
Whatever the reasons to rebrand, always keep in mind who you are and how you want to be perceived. Your brand is your most valuable asset. It’s short-sighted to damage its reputation on a whim, but it’s also short-sighted to let it fade away for fear of change.
GALTON is a branding agency that helps successful Slovak companies, strong global players and bold startups build their brand, improve their image and create a healthy corporate culture for more than 10 years.