Why Is Rebranding Not Always Successful?

Why Is Rebranding Not Always Successful

Thinking about rebranding? Here’s what you should consider before diving in!

With Facebook changing its name to Meta Platforms Inc, or Meta for short, the concept of a rebranding has been garnering significant attention. Rebranding refers to the act of changing your brand’s image, either to freshen up how consumers think of your company or to completely cut ties with the past and create an entirely new look and feel. 

While this sounds like a fun and exciting way to make yourself stand out, it doesn’t always work. To avoid the failure of your rebranding efforts, here are some critical mistakes you need to avoid. 

Not putting enough effort into market research

Not putting enough effort into market research
Image courtesy of Gap

Before taking the decision to rebrand, you must conduct extensive research on what might and might not work for you. Sometimes making changes to your brand’s identity could end up alienating customers and creating a lot of dissatisfaction.

An example of this is the American fashion retailer Gap. The brand decided to change its logo back in 2010, from the word “Gap” inside a blue box to “Gap” with a little blue box on the last letter. This decision was met with significant outrage. Customers were so unhappy with the change that the brand had to revert to its original logo six days after launching the new logo. 

This example shows you that before any rebrand, you need to conduct market research, such as a focus group, to see how your customers would react to it. Focus groups consist of a carefully selected group of individuals selected on the basis of location, age, socioeconomic status, etc. Another research technique is using brand monitoring tools, such as Falcon, Brand24 and BrandMentions. These tools can help you track consumer data like your brand’s social media mentions, negative comments, reach and engagement. 

Market research is particularly important when you consider that people might have certain emotional connections to your brand. Hence, changing your logo out of the blue could cost you their trust and loyalty.

Making generic and unrecognizable changes to your brand/ product

Making generic and unrecognizable changes to your brand product
 Image courtesy of Pepsi Co

One of the biggest questions to ask yourself before making efforts in rebranding is to see whether it would make any difference to your brand image. If your re-branding is so small and minute that it is barely noticeable, then your money would simply go wasted. 

For example, when food company Pepsi changed its logo in 2008, it tried to incorporate a cheeky little smile into it. The rebranding cost Pepsi US$1.2 billion, with the logo alone being worth US$1 million. However, most customers didn’t even notice. 

Making generic and unrecognizable
Image courtesy of Tropicana

Besides being barely noticeable, sometimes a rebranding can make your product look more generic. This was the case when fruit-based beverage company Tropicana changed its packaging in 2009. The packaging replaced their recognizable orange with a straw attached to it, with a more simplistic depiction of orange juice. Soon after the rebranding, the sales of its products dropped by 20%, forcing the company to bring back the original packaging.

These examples should tell you that whenever you consider rebranding, you need to take the distinctive elements of the brand right along with you. If customers do not find the re-brand aesthetically pleasing, their wallets will make it loud and clear. Changes should be made not only after researching your own industry space but also larger market trends.

Making unnecessary changes to increase brand relevance

Making unnecessary changes to increase brand relevance
Image courtesy of WW

Finally, consider whether your company even needs to be rebranded or not. If you are making changes just to keep up with trends and not based on consumer demand, the rebranding isn’t going to turn out favorably. 

For example, in 2019, when weight loss service provider Weight Watchers changed its name to “WW” (which stands for wellness and wellbeing). The company was trying to rebrand itself to fit with the body positivity trend and to shift away from the negative connotation of the “Weight Watchers” name. However, Weight Watchers ended up being unsuccessful in their attempt to reposition because they failed to consider that the majority of the people joining the program were doing so to lose weight and would, thus, not perceive their name negatively.

This is a clear example of “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it.” If you think that the rebranding would lose its value as the trend changes, then your effort might end up being futile. Try to understand your unique value proposition and keep that in mind when making a decision to rebrand. 

While we are asking you to stop and question your rebranding choices, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t rebrand. All we suggest is that you rebrand for the right reasons, such as tapping into new markets or reflecting significant changes in the company after a merger or acquisition. This will save you from spending additional resources to revert to your original brand identity if the rebranding turns out to be disadvantageous.

Header image courtesy of Pixabay.


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