Rebranding is a huge process that companies undertake to keep up with the worlds constant change. Your branding strategy needs to evolve with the times. Therefore, rebranding done right can mean companies not only see a dramatic increase in sales but also, expose their brand to demographics that previously wouldn’t typically be associated with the company.
The problem is rebranding is a difficult process. If rebranding goes wrong, it can lead to a massive PR nightmare subjecting brands to negative criticism and dissatisfied customers.
Last week, we brought you interesting and successful rebranding stories. If you have missed last weeks blog click here to read it. We’ve gathered some of the unsuccessful corporate rebrands to date so you can see exactly what not to do when your’re rebranding your company.
American multinational Tropicana was founded in 1947, the brand is famous for supplying fruit-based beverages. Tropicana’s ‘Pure Premium’ orange juice sales revenue generates more than $700 million per year.
On the 8th of January 2009, the PepsiCo owned brand revealed a new packaging design for their ‘Pure Premium’ orange juice. The replacement of the traditional packaging design of their bestselling orange juice was to create a new, modern packaging for the North American market.
The orange juice bottle lid was re-imagined. The idea was to be more creative and interesting in that the cap really has the texture and shape of an orange that you can squeeze to obtain fresh orange juice. The original logo was horizontal with the product name ‘Pure Premium’ clearly visible to consumers. The new logo is vertical with a simpler and revised font. The new logo was also reduced in size to highlight the message:‘100% Orange Pure and Natural’. Tropicana released an advertising campaign with the new packaging design. The key message communicated in the campaign was ‘Squeeze, its natural’.
What went wrong?
Tropicana announced on February 23rd 2009, they would return to their original design. What went wrong with the packaging redesign? The majority of consumers criticised and rejected the new packaging design. Consumers started to criticise the design on social networking platforms days after the launch. Sales of the best selling orange juice dropped by 20%. This decrease in sales represented a loss of over $30 million dollars for Tropicana. Competitors also took advantage of this crisis and gained sales lost by the fruit juice brand.
The emotional bond consumers had with the original packaging design was underestimated. The role of packaging in consumer purchase decision was underestimated in the new design as many consumers didn’t recognise the brand on shop shelves. Consumers often feel an emotional bond with the appearance of a product they know and love. Branding elements on packaging should not be changed all at once. Tropicana changed too many brand elements which confused their customers purchase decision with a new logo, typography, slogan, image and lid.
Within a few weeks the old packaging was back on shop shelves. In total this initiative cost Tropicana over $50 million. The Tropicana redesign failure emphasises the importance of packaging consumer in purchase decision.
In January 2001, Royal Mail introduced a new name and branding to keep up with changes within the company. The Post Office attempted to consolidate all arms of Royal Mail’s operations under one umbrella. Royal Mail was no longer a simple post mail service, it has multiple other operations like logistics, customer call centre, acquisition abroad and so forth. The rebranding aim was to attract a more corporate customer base and promote the company’s expanding services.
After a two-year rebranding process to create its new identity, Chief Executive John Roberts announced the brand would take on a completely new name – ‘Consignia’. Robert’s stated, “the new name describes the full scope of what the Post Office does in a way that the words ‘post’ and ‘office’ cannot”. The Royal Mail logo iconic to the brand and British history was replaced with a modern logo design.
What went wrong?
Less than two years later, plans to expand into overseas markets fell through and the new name became a bad mark for the brand. The new identity Consignia was retired shortly after.
The name Consignia doesn’t say anything. People found it difficult to pronounce, remember and associate with post mail. The brand’s heritage wasn’t taking into consideration. Royal Mail is an iconic brand with a historical presence in the minds of its consumers, the transformation destroyed many memories. This created a negative connotation towards Royal Mail. The general public felt that Royal Mail were wrong for straying away from the British heritage and brand values held by company for over 500 years.
The rebranding cost the Royal Mail £2 million to launch and to revert back to Royal Mail cost an additional £1 million. This rebranding case demonstrates when considering renaming as part of a rebrand, tradition and national heritage requires careful consideration.
Founded in 1969, American global clothing and accessories retailer Gap became a household name. The company operates in about 3,700 owned and franchised stores worldwide. Gap specialise in creating the basic clothing items for men, women and children including t-shirts, jeans, shirts to name a few.
On October 8th, 2010, Gap launched a new logo design and rebranded their company to suit. The first redesign in it’s 24 year history. Gap rebranded with no warning. The original Gap logo used for over 20 years, disappeared without a warning and was replaced with a new logo. The new logo was the word Gap in a bold font and a square, fading diagonally from light blue to dark blue. The original Gap logo showed the word ‘Gap’ in capital letters inside a dark and blue square. This iconic logo was replaced with a white square encasing a small blue square over the letter ‘p’ in ‘Gap’.
What was the issue?
The overnight rebrand without informing loyal consumers meant Gap didn’t benefit from rebranding at all. A small buzz began in the design community. Social networks were active with people who didn’t like the new design. The change promoted a public protest with more than 2,000 comments on Facebook criticising the decision to change the well-known logo. Similarly, on Twitter an account with nearly 5,000 followers protested against the new design. A ‘Make Your Own Gap Logo’ site also went viral on the internet prompting nearly 14,000 parody design versions.
Mark Hansen, President of Gap in North American stated “the outpouring of comments” showed the company “did not go about this in the right way”.
When the power of social media and online backlash became apparent, Gap said ‘we loved our version, but we’d like to see other ideas’. Similar to a NASCAR driver asking fans in a crowd what speed they should drive on a track. Instead of exuding confidence and professionalism, Gap showed their uncertainty.
Gap peformed one the fastest branding turnarounds in history. Within six days Gap reverted to their original design after announcing their new logo to the public. The Gap rebranding costed around $100 million. This rebranding failure exemplified the power of social media and importance of notifying your customer base of a rebrand.
Established in 1996, MasterCard is an American multinational financial services corporation. MasterCard’s original logo was arguably one of the most iconic logos of the modern age. MasterCard operate the world’s fastest payments processing system and are subsequently active in more than 210 countries across the globe.
In 2006, MasterCard made the decision to rebrand the iconic logo. MasterCard’s original logo is one that is instantly recognisable, the overlapping circles and their brands colour scheme. Often when a company chooses to rebrand the idea behind the process is to simplify an already iconic logo. MasterCard’s original logo was extremely simple. It featured two coloured circles which combined to create a venn-daigram style logo.
What went wrong?
The new logo received mixed reviews.The logo design appears to use three circles which does nothing to simplify the brand.The new logo utilises shadows and gradients in a poor manner.The transparency issue with the gradients leads to a confusing, chaotic and unrefined visual. According to MasterCard “the three circles of the new corporate logo build on the familiar interlocking red and yellow circles of the MasterCard consumer brand, and reflect the company’s unique, three-tiered business model as a franchisor, processor and advisor”.
A new tag line ‘Worldwide’ was added beneath the logo. Chief Marketing Officer, Lawrence Flanagan commented “the launch of the new corporate brand identity follows an extensive analysis of the MasterCard brand and the value proposition it represents to constituents”.
However, MasterCard kept the new rebrand design but subsequently changed their branding again since to a simpler version. For instance, the mixed reactions to the rebranding shows it’s not always necessary to rebrand after all especially when it does not simplify the overall brand message.
Pepsi is no stranger to rebranding unlike competitor Coca Cola, who rarely ever make alterations to their signature logo. The carbonated soft drink multinational have undergone almost one rebrand every decade in its 100 year plus history. Pepsi has an annual revenue of over $62 billion making it one of the largest soft-drink manufacturer in the world.
In 2008, Pepsi unveiled the latest redesign, which saw the company rotating its iconic circular logo and adjusting the tilt of the white stripe. The white stripe in the logo was to vary in size depending on the Pepsi product type.
What went wrong?
The white stripe attempted to look like a ‘cheeky smile’ but it is difficult to visualise and notice these in the logo. The smile was without doubt invisible to most people. The white stripe on the new logo varies across Pepsi products, getting wider or thinner depending on the product. This product size variant left the smile animation unrecognisable on shop shelves.
Pepsi decided to keep their new brand identity. The company spent $1 million solely on the logo and enormous $1.2 billion dollars over three years on the rebranding vision. The Pepsi rebranding show design should attempt to create a concrete impact on consumers in a positive manner.
In conclusion, these companies would have saved astronomical sums of money and the trust of their audience if they’d stick to their roots. We’re excited to be re-designing our brand and are committed to build a better process platform for everyone. To see updates, on our progress, follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter: @cartolytics.