Reasons Rebranding Fails, and What We Can Learn From Them

Rebranding is often a lifeline for some companies! There are tons of case studies covering companies strategically changing certain elements of their brand, and those studies cover just as many businesses that succeeded as those that failed.

Note the word ‘strategically’ here! It may be a slight change to the logo, the company tagline, fonts, the way it advertises or a change of name using the same logo, fonts, colors, and tagline. There are also many examples of companies that have completely changed their image. However, there are also plenty of examples of companies that aimlessly rebranded with no end goal or logical reason!

We are going to cover a few examples of why rebranding often fails. There are companies out there that have rebranded doing exactly ‘what not to do’ which we have outlined in the following sections.

A Quick Example of Objective and Meaningful Rebranding

Before we head into the bad and the downright ugly trenches of rebranding, let’s look at McDonalds rebranding as an example of a successful strategy back in 2003. The firm kept its yellow ‘M’ logo and added the ‘I’m lovin’ it’ tagline. It also revamped all its restaurants, getting rid of the plastic, cheap look and turning them into more stylish looking eateries.

The idea was to make the McDonald’s brand sound ‘tastier’ while also making it more fun by giving them a catchy tagline to repeat. At the time McDonalds needed something new because it was under pressure from multiple civil suits in which the claimants said McDonalds made them fat through misleading advertising while its food line was under fire for causing obesity.

During its restaurant revamp, the fast-food giant went for a coffee and breakfast joint style, while that same look is also good for lunch and dinner. The company then added McCoffee to its product line while also introducing McSalads as a healthier option. It was a success and brought in a whole new set of breakfast/coffee loving clientele while even vegetarians and the health conscious also have options.

Changing the Business Logo with No Strategic Aim

When consumers identify your brand simply by looking at your logo, this is often a good thing! That is, as long as your brand is delivering what it promises. One of the biggest mistakes some firms make is to change their logo when customers/clients are already satisfied with services and/or goods. Why change when the company is already a success?

Small strategic changes can work such as a new tag line as McDonalds did in the above mini case study, but a complete business logo redesign was not something McDonalds envisaged. The idea was to redesign the product and restaurants, and those changes would rub off on the logo. For successful brands that completely revamp their business, this move can often disconnect the brand from customers and leave consumers not only confused but also feeling that they have to connect with the brand all over again.

The disconnection could result in losing those customers’ loyalty in some cases, which could also encourage them to try competitors.

If you are thinking of designing a new logo for your business, make sure you do it strategically, and don’t do it for no reason. Also, make sure you do a good job choosing your new logo, because changing it again will most likely hurt your brand. You can take a look at these cool business logo ideas to help you brainstorm.

Bored Company Executives or New Management!

Usually when there is no need to change, but it happens regardless, it is because board company bigwigs want to feel like they are doing something. It may be to impress investors or because the person is a newly appointed manager or director and the newbie wants to make it look like he or she is doing something. Sometimes, a new manager comes in and wants to copy a successful rebranding strategy used at his or her previous firm, and believes the one-size fits all approach will work with all brands. Often, this approach ends in tears!

Changing the Brand on a Hunch (i.e., Without Market Research!)

Successful rebranding is usually a result of well-executed research. And it is professional third-party market research experts with an outside in view of your company that perform the research. Or at least if you go back to the basics of rebranding, this is what you should do. However, there are some companies that rebrand on a whim. I.e., they have a gut feeling that rebranding will refresh the brand. The brand changes made are often ones that have meaning to those working inside the company.

Illogical Brand Changes

An illogical brand change is much like the above 2 points except in this case, there is also no actual goal in mind. This is the worst kind of rebranding there is. It literally is changing the brand for the sake of doing something! If it will not bring in more sales or increase the company’s bottom line, or propel the brand image within its market sector, then rebranding is a pointless exercise.

What Can We Learn from the Above Points?

In short, rebranding should be an exercise that comes because of stringent market research that suggests a positive or multiple positives will come out of it. It should also consider the consumers and not the inner feeling of people that already work within the brand. Rebranding for the sake of rebranding, and even worse, rebranding with no end goal, creates unnecessary expense and could negatively affect the brand’s bottom line!

If you think some of the rebranding tactics above are strange ways to do business, then take a look at these 5 bizarre marketing campaigns!