5 minute read

Professional services firms and other businesses choose to rebrand for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it’s a merger or acquisition of another company. Sometimes it’s a shift in their approach or business model. Sometimes companies rebrand to shed excess baggage or negative PR. And sometimes it’s just time to dust-off a dated look and refresh their position in the market.

Recently we published a blog discussing brand awareness problems and how they’re the most common reason for rebranding. Rebranding efforts most commonly fall under one of three approaches. We could explore other approaches, but in the end, those could probably be classified as a variation of one of the following:

#1: Window dressing

It’s not uncommon for organizations that are dealing with internal problems to think that “updating their look” may help improve public perception, and in the end, their bottom line. However, if this “window dressing” isn’t accompanied by real change within the organization, the rebranding effort at best will flop and at worst, completely backfire.

“We have concerns with out reputation and our brand. Although many of our problems are directly related to our internal operations, organization, and customer service, we how our new look will help improve our reputation in the marketplace.” - Bold Brand

Real World Example

Yugo Branded Advertisment

Remember the Yugo? Considered one of the worst cars in history, the Yugo brand name became a common punchline on late night television in the late 80s. Clearly, the “window dressing” visual update didn’t provide the long-term boost the company was looking for.

#2: A fresh face on a great place

Putting a “fresh face” on your company may sound like a similar approach to the “window dressing” example. The crucial difference here is that the company is already known and well respected by its current clients. Chances are that the company’s visual identity has become dated and the appearance of its brand may be the detractor as new prospects compare them to the competition.

“We have a great company, but a dated presence in the market. We want our brand to be seen as positively on the outside, as we see our organization internally.” - Bold Brand

Real World Example

Consider the UPS brand update of 2003. Their primary service had not changed in practice. They remained an international player in the shipping business. They were known for their approachable and courteous delivery drivers, (and their male drivers were known for their shorts.) Unfortunately, their previous logo (designed in 1961 by design legend Paul Rand) was becoming, practically speaking, a bit dated.

old vs. new UPS logo

What followed was a logo and overall brand update. The new identity was simple and looked “fast” (more befitting of their racing partnerships). In addition, their new slogan “What can brown do for you” quickly became part of the public lexicon.

#3: Total brand overhaul, inside and out.

Companies that overhaul their brand must be committed to change, both inside the organization and in how they’re perceived from the outside. When an overhaul is done well, every possible brand touch point is examined thoroughly, asking “how could we make this touch point better?”

“Our brand is in rough shape. We have internal problems and external problems in the marketplace. We know it’s time to overhaul how we do things, and we’re thinking through every possible touch point, both inside our organization and in the marketplace.” - Bold Brand

Rebranding at this level can be a long, expensive, and challenging undertaking, but when done well, is well worth the investment. This type of holistic approach is the one we at MilesHerndon can always stand firmly in favor of.

Real World Example

Regardless of whether or not it was true, the Wendy’s “fingertip in the chili” story sent shivers down the backs of patrons nationwide. Wendy’s isn’t the only fast-food giant to suffer from these types of food-quality scares. Often the fastest type of response to these issues is a campaign restating the company’s commitment to fresh ingredients.

old vs. new Wendy's logo

Which approach will you take?

If you’re considering a rebrand it’s essential that you focus on each and every touch point of the brand, not the least of which is how the brand performs and delivers on its product, service or promises. The goal is not only to develop the workings for a great brand, but also to create a clear picture of how to live out that brand on a daily basis. With the guidance of a positioning document and a brand strategy, a rebrand will lead to authentic improvements for a company, both internally and externally.

Need some help determining if a rebrand is right for you? Be sure to check out our Do-It-Yourself Brand Audit - help determine if you’re in need for a rebrand!

If you can think of some other relevant examples of brands that have gone through a rebrand? Please leave a comment below or engage with us on Twitter:

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If you’re dying to find out more on this topic RIGHT NOW - please feel free to purchase Josh Miles’s book: Bold Brand or contact us directly below.