Did you notice that Uber started looking like this last year…
…after spending over two years prior looking like this?
Did you notice something different about Dunkin’ Donuts this year?
Did you notice that your Starbucks coffee cup didn’t always look like this?
These companies decided it was high-time to regale the market with
something new… They decided it was the time to rebrand.
You may have read somewhere that a brand is not a logo, it’s how people perceive a company or a business. It follows that the term “rebranding” means changing that perception in people’s minds, which may include changing a logo, but it may also include changing the look and feel of the business including its website, fonts, image, icons, and colours. It may entail changing something non-visual, like who it sells to. It may even mean changing the name of the business altogether. So, you may know the importance of having a brand (if you don’t, read this article about what makes a powerful brand), but how do you know it’s the right time to rebrand your business? Here we will give you some suggestions on whether or not your company is due for rebranding.
When should you rebrand your business?
Imagine you’re running a small company called PayPal in 2016 (which might
need a whole lot of imagination, mind you). You’re minding your own business when this happens:
The logo on the left is yours… the one on the right isn’t.
It belongs to a music streaming app called Pandora. The logos were so similar that users kept mistaking one for the other, opening the wrong app. PayPal claimed that this was causing it to lose customers and sued Pandora, which ended up changing the colour to a rainbow of interdigitating colours.
Pandora was wrong to create a logo so similar to a competitor. What is the function of a logo if not to make your business stand out? But what if the scenario hadn’t gone that way? What if PayPal had lost the lawsuit? Would that have been a good time to change their own logo to differentiate?
1.When you need to differentiate from a competitor as
Businesses shouldn’t be run by competitors’ actions, but sometimes the best move for your business is to differentiate from imitators.
Take, for instance, the Shabrawy/Arabiata incident.
Shabrawy was the leading beans (Foul) and falafel restaurant in Egypt, with branches all over the place. So much so, that every upstart restaurant wanting to create a quick name would call itself Shabrawy with slight variations: The Original Shabrawy, The Real Shabrawy, Shabrawy City Stars, Shabrawy Madinaty, etc. And sometimes they wouldn’t even add the variations.
Many people would order from whatever Shabrawy that was nearby, not knowing whether it was THE Shabrawy. In order to differentiate itself from the others, Shabrawy rebranded itself, changing the name to Arabiata, and created a solid brand that left no doubt as to who they were.
2.When you change your business model
Changing the customer segments you serve, the delivery channels you use, the products you sell, your values, etc. are all reasons to rebrand.
When Google grew so large and diversified that it wasn’t wise to keep everything under one roof, it rebranded: the main company run by Larry and Sergey became Alphabet, and Google became the search/ads subsidiary.
After a few years in the market, Dunkin’ Donuts realized that their name doesn’t do justice to one of their flagship products: their coffee. Their coffee was so powerful and popular it was competing with Starbucks. When you see a place called Dunkin’ DONUTS, coffee doesn’t immediately come to mind. This led Dunkin’ to drop the “Donuts” from the name, becoming just “Dunkin’” as of April 2019.
3.When you need to change the way customers see you
Sometimes, a business wants to change the way it’s perceived in the market and what it stands for.
Burberry and its characteristic plaid pattern became associated with hooligans in the UK to the extent that certain restaurants would ban those wearing it. Burberry took measures to rebrand itself in the eye of the public, among which, it decreased its plaid patterns to only about 5% of products.
Changing what you stand for might be the right time to rebrand your business, changing how it looks and how people see it.
4. When the times have changed but you haven’t
Brands that have been around for a long time might have an outdated look and feel…
But times change, and people’s aesthetic tastes evolve, and they may be very different from when you first started.
Imagine that pixelated logo from the days of Windows 95 (if you’re that old) trying to fit in today.
Now, take a look at the current logos for those same entities:
Which do you think better reflects the sleekness, power, and agility of modern technology?
Sometimes it’s more than just a visual change. The fast-food chicken restaurant is formerly known as Kentucky Fried Chicken officially changed its name to KFC in 1991. Health trends at the time shied away from fried food they still do, by the way) and KFC didn’t want to be associated with unhealthy food. So it removed the offending word while maintaining the abbreviated version to avoid a complete brand change.
Which do you think is more in tune with the people of today:
Air Bed & Breakfast or Airbnb?
That’s probably why they changed it.
5.When you’ve suffered a crisis
Remember the Uber rebrand we mentioned at the beginning? The one with the greenish-turquoise background? Well, this was done under Co-Founder and former CEO Travis Kalanick. Kalanick later came under a negative spotlight due to ethical and cultural issues and resigned as CEO in 2017. By that time, Uber was steeped in controversy and bad press. In 2018, Uber underwent a rebrand to try and shake off the negative image garnered under Kalanick.
If ever you suffer a crisis, emerging from it might be the right time to rebrand your company.
6. When you merge, acquire, or become acquired
When your company merges with another company, a rebrand is usually required. When Price Waterhouse merged with Coopers & Lybrand in 1998 they rebranded the resultant company as PriceWaterhouseCoopers, which later went on to rebrand itself as just PWC.
Is NOW the right time to rebrand my business?
While the above-mentioned events may occur at any point in a business’s lifetime, industry thought leaders have identified what they call “The 7 year itch”. Businesses usually feel a need to rebrand every 7 years. It’s not a hard deadline, just an observation.
Do you think now is the right time to rebrand your company?
This quiz might help you answer that question
If you find that the time is ripe for a rebrand, then find yourself a creative agency and start the discussion. It may be the best strategic move for your business.