Rebranding a company is tricky. Design and research costs a lot of money, and you always risk the new identity not being well-received by customers. Last week, Uber revealed a brand new look that’s causing a stir. Led by a CEO with no design experience (as many rebrands are), the new logo is meant to make the company feel more inclusive and less sleek. Time will tell as to whether or not the Uber rebrand is a success, but there are plenty of examples of successful rebrands–and rebranding fails–that give us some insight.
Back in 2010, Gap debuted a new logo much to the demise of customers. With the intention of bringing Gap into the modern age, President of Gap North America, Marka Hansen, took to Huffington Post to defend the logo.
“We want our customers to take notice of Gap and see what it stands for today,” she said. “We chose this design as it's more contemporary and current. It honors our heritage through the blue box while still taking it forward.”
This version did not last long, however. The customer outcry forced the company to rollback to the original logo.
Lesson Learned: Make sure you do plenty of customer research before launching anything that could be seen as your brand moving away from its core customer.
There may be no company that has had more logo changes and varied logos than Yahoo. The company, which was on top of the internet back in 2000, has struggled to remain relevant. In a move to try and be taken more seriously, Yahoo launched a new logo in 2013. This was a big move by Marissa Meyer, who took over as CEO in 2012.
While a logo change is a tangible way to demonstrate to users (and stockholders) that new management is taking the company in a different direction, when it comes too late, there’s little a mark change can do.
Lesson Learned: A bold move must be timed properly, and when a company is on the rocks, it’s not that time.
While not exactly a rebrand or a simple logo change, Google announced in 2015 that the larger entity would now be Alphabet, leaving the Google brand to stand on its own. This leaves room for Alphabet to take larger risks in areas of health research and innovation, investments, and product development.
The move was bold, but it doesn’t exactly change how most end-users see or use Google products. This move is more of an overarching change to company structure, and gives the firm more brand flexibility with what’s to come.
Lesson Learned: TBD. While investors are likely to continue referring to the stock by the Google name, future businesses born out of Alphabet will be less likely to tack “Google” in front of a name, keeping the current iteration pure.
In 2015, CareerBuilder launched a new logo. The job board has struggled to stay relevant in recent years, and a logo change was an opportunity to show that the company was evolving. The move failed miserably.
Nothing about this logo works. It’s busy, confusing, and uses the same element in two separate logos without building cohesion. The fan thing within the “C” mark is meant to look like a “T” when turned sideways, which serves as the mark for the company’s new, more tech forward brand, Talentstream Technologies.
Lesson Learned: When your company is in a dying industry and you need a refresh, hire a brand agency. A new business launch can be totally overshadowed by a poor design.
Food delivery was once dedicated to pizza and Chinese. That’s all changed. The advent of companies like GrubHub that enable any restaurant to offer delivery, paired with an expansion in consumer food preferences, led Pizza Hut to consider a rebrand to “The Hut” in 2010.
Lesson Learned: Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater. But more importantly, if you’re considering a massive rebrand, let your customer base in on the plan before you fully execute. You can save a lot of money, and even reignite customer loyalty by reminding them of what they love.
While company marks need to evolve, making sure to design your initial logo with the future in mind helps prevent costly rebranding in the future. We’d love to help you with your company rebrand. Get in touch!.