Rebrand: Nailed it vs. Failed it

4 minutes read
Rebranding isn't just a facelift for your logo; it's a strategic move that shows your clients, customers and the wider world that your business is evolving. Rebranding is about staying relevant and competitive. By modernising their image, differentiating themselves, or repositioning in the market, businesses aim to attract and retain customers.

We’re rebranding as we write, and our recent blog post ‘Why Welly*’ looked at the motivations and thought processes behind our new name, new look and what it means for the business moving forward. So, if you’re curious about why brands choose to shake things up, give it a read and find out the who, what and why behind Welly*.

Nailed it

Before we jump into our list of stand-out rebrands, let’s uncover the secret sauce behind their success. Sure, looks and post-rebrand performance matter, but what really makes a rebrand pop is its connection with the audience. We’re talking about hitting that sweet spot that makes your brand and your people click. It’s about making that leap from good to better. So, buckle up, because these brands didn’t just rebrand; they rebranded with a bang.

  • Norwich Accountancy: We partnered with Ark on Norwich Accountancy’s rebrand to make their personality and expertise shine in equal measure. Commenting on the copy we created, Lee Nash from Ark said, “A bolder and braver tone of voice has been crafted to cut through the noise and firmly position Norwich Accountancy as anything but corporate and stuffy.” Retaining their iconic pink hue and incorporating elements of their city’s heritage, the new logo and tone of voice position them as approachable yet professional, paving the way for an exciting future for this renowned local business. 
  • Lion Homes: Naked Marketing’s rebrand of Lion Homes shows the power of understanding a brand’s vision and values. By carrying out a thorough brand workshop and presenting various visual routes, they crafted a modern yet timeless identity that reflects Lion Homes’ commitment to prosperity and community. The warm colour scheme and geometric lion icon symbolise their unique connection to Norwich while nodding to sustainability and growth.
  • Burberry: Now, let’s look at an iconic global brand turnaround. Going from chav to must-have, Burberry underwent a transformative rebrand in 2009. By enlisting the help of Harry Potter alumna and A-lister Emma Watson as the face of the brand, Burberry shed its previous reputation and became a desirable brand. The chic and British style showcased in Watson’s campaign revitalised the brand, leading to an impressive increase in revenue and a complete overhaul of its image.

These success stories highlight the importance of strategic rebranding in staying relevant and connecting with consumers. Whether it’s capturing a brand’s vibe like Norwich Accountancy, creating a meaningful visual identity like Lion Homes, or redefining perceptions like Burberry, rebranding can breathe new life into a business and drive it towards success.

Failed it

So, what’s the recipe for a rebranding disaster? When a rebrand falls flat, it’s usually because it fails to strike a chord with the intended audience. Take Gap’s infamous logo change, for example. The backlash was so fierce they had to hit reverse faster than you can say “social media frenzy.” When a rebrand doesn’t resonate and instead sparks criticism, it’s a sure sign of failure. Now, let’s look at some other brands that missed the mark with their rebranding efforts.

  • WHSmith: WHSmith’s recent rebranding attempt resulted in more of a “WHY?” moment than a “WOW!” one. Founder Henry Walton Smith might have laid the foundation back in 1792, but this time, the decision to shorten their name to “WHS” on selected stores didn’t quite click with customers. Instead of standing out, it looked like they were trying to join the NHS club, with some pointing out the lack of a clear strategy behind the move. Looks like this rebrand missed the mark completely.
  • Lyle’s Golden Syrup: Lyle’s Golden Syrup, a household staple with 141-year-old unchanged packaging, found itself in a sticky situation when it decided to shake things up by updating its iconic lion logo. While the brand attempted to give its image a modern twist with new designs on plastic bottles, the response from consumers wasn’t what they expected. Instead of applause, the move was met with a wave of criticism and uproar. Critics argued that the cherished heritage of Lyle’s Golden Syrup was being traded away in favour of a forgettable design, causing loyal fans to feel a sense of loss and disappointment.
  • X (formally Twitter): Twitter’s switch to ‘X’ was a total head-scratcher for users and took the top spot in our Halloween-themed Scariest Social Media Statistics from 2023 blog post last year. Swapping out the beloved blue bird for a plain ‘X’ on a black background just didn’t sit right with users. And it showed – with nearly half of users giving it a thumbs-down, according to Forrester. YouGov didn’t paint a prettier picture either, with two-thirds of Twitter users voicing their disconnect with the rebrand. Analysts blamed it on losing that Twitter charm, confusing users, and struggling to protect a single-letter brand. Twitter’s rebranding gamble wasn’t just a hit to their value and users – it was a wake-up call that even the big dogs can slip up when chasing change.

Aiming for success while dodging brand blunders

To wrap things up, rebranding can be a game-changer for your brand positioning, audience engagement, and visual appeal. Take a cue from successes like Norwich Accountancy, Lion Homes, and Burberry, where strategic rebranding hit all the right notes. On the flip side, mishaps like WHSmith, Lyle’s Golden Syrup, and the tanking of Twitter’s change to ‘X’ remind us to tread carefully, keeping audience perceptions and brand heritage in mind. By learning from the wins and flops, businesses can navigate the rebranding journey with confidence, making sure they have a fresh start that connects with their customers.

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