Rebranding failures – 6 of the biggest fails, what went wrong and what you can learn from them.
There are a lot of great examples of rebrands that have gone well and whilst these are great for inspiration you can learn a lot from rebranding failures and why they failed.
In this video, I go over some of the highest profile rebranding failures, what went wrong, why they didn’t work and the key takeaways you can learn from them to not replicate.
Successful Rebranding Examples – 6 of the best recent rebrands and what makes them work – https://youtu.be/rWng6KhgJoE
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There are a lot of great examples of rebrands that have gone really well. And whilst these are great for inspiration, you can actually learn quite a bit more from rebranding failures and why they went wrong. And with that in mind, here are six rebranding failures and what made them fail?
So this has been dubbed the worst rebrand of all time by some now back in 2009, Tropicana spent over 20 million on rolling out its new rebranded campaign.
And within a few days, customers were complaining on social media about the new rebrand. And not only did they not like the rebrand and they’d removed the familiar Tropicana. Look from the packaging, but customers were actually struggling to find it in the store because they couldn’t instantly see it from what they had in their memory of what Tropicana looked like on the packaging.
They were walking straight past it and they couldn’t find it. And this was due to the removal of the iconic orange with the straw in it. So on the new packaging, they’d taken that away and replaced it with a glass full of orange juice. And this just completely confused. Their audience now in just two months, sales of Tropicana dropped by 20%, and this meant the Tropicana reverted back to their previous packaging key takeaway from this rebranding failure, don’t underestimate the connection that your audience has with your brand.
And when rebranding, make sure you know, what your audience identify. As your brand. So whether that’s visually, whether that’s through messaging, whether that’s through the packaging, make sure you understand what your audience connects with on those designs. So updating that brand can be done sensitively.
So in 2010, after a drop in sales, the global retailer decided to rebrand its 20 year visual identity. Now this rebrand was later called the gap gate phenomenon. Now Gap rolled out this visual identity in this, this rebrand across all of its stores seemingly overnight. So it left their audience really confused because it happened without anyone’s knowledge.
There was no prior warnings. There wasn’t any sort. Press around it. They just changed it. So it left all their audience really confused, and they were confused about the new direction as well, because it had moved from traditional to a more contemporary feel. And for a lot of their audience that switch from traditional to contemporary was such a massive jump.
Considering the fact that that gap logo had been installed in their conscious, in their lives for 20 years, that’s such a shift. Was too much for them to take. And this new visual identity only lasted four days and it costs the report a hundred million for the actual overall rebrand key takeaway from this Gap rebranding failure always consider the reason for your rebrand, a lack of strategy cost Gap in this instance, and also confused their audience and their longstanding customers
and similarly to Tropicana by removing or in this case, reducing the key graphical hook that users were used to. So in this case, the blue box, they severed connection with their audience and the brand
Pepsi. So in 2008, Pepsi decided to rebrand a visual identity and their logo. They’d pretty much stayed the same bar, a few minor tweaks since the late seventies.
Now the concept behind the new logo was meant to represent a smile. So in between the red and the blue kind of waves on the logo was a wider white wave, which was meant to represent a smile. Now, this was really hard to make out and it was only through someone pointing out. Who’d actually done the rebrand that you could see this and make it out at all and Forbes noticed that all the different products had different size smiles on it, which isn’t great for consistency.
Now, after the release of this new rebrand, not only was a backlash from customers on social media and especially a lot of designers, but also they lost a lot of market share. And the font that they decided to pair with the logo was a very strange choice considering that the blockier font they used to use was actually quite a good differentiator from the Coke script font.
But this new font, this new thin lined sort of modern font, quite rounded, just didn’t feel right with the Pepsi brand. Now, unlike Tropicana and gap, this rebrand is actually still being used by Pepsi and it costs about 1 million pounds. So was probably one of the reasons why they kept it.
Key takeaway from the Pepsi rebranding failure?
Don’t forget where you come from as a brand, your heritage and your traditions. And also don’t forget who you’re competing against, because the idea is to kind of make sure that you have a very distinctive visual identity. You are your own thing. But also, if there’s been a history and a heritage there, you do not want to throw that all out with a rebrand or change it up so much. You anger your customers.
So hit that like button. If you’ve enjoyed the video so far and let’s get a discussion going, what’s the worst rebrand you’ve ever seen. And if you watch until the end of the video, you’ll get a link to see some successful rebranding examples to kind of put you in a more positive mood after these ones.
The scifi channel. So in 2009, the scifi channel rebranded its visual identity, along with a slight name change, they changed the name from Scifi as in S C I F I to Syfy or Scifi is S Y F Y and I was lucky enough recently to sit down with brand naming expert, Alexandra Watkins who’s book. Hello, my name is awesome is all about brand naming.
And she’s worked with some of the biggest brands in the business and also has worked for Ogilvy and a few other companies to do with brand naming and messaging and I sat down with her for a future podcast. So watch this space. And one of the things that we talked about and what she covers in the book is brand names that only work if you see them.
So if someone says. You need to search for the scifi channel online, then you would write scifi is in the way that it has been presented for decades with regards to popular culture. If you were working at the scifi channel and someone called up and said, oh, what’s your web address? And you said to them, oh, it’s it’s scifi.com.
You’d have to spell it out to them. You’d have to say it’s Scifi but we spell it. Um, S Y F y.com. So not putting that planning in beforehand is going to cost them so much time over the next, however many years they have that name as it is just trying to. Fix the mistake of changing that brand name to something that is spelled differently to how it sounds.
They also decided to remove the Saturn icon that was with the previous logo, which would have given anyone who was not familiar with the channel half a chance at least to figure out the S Y F Y with a Saturn was scifi, but you remove the Saturn away from it. And now you’ve got some people think about some older people who are looking at this channel.
We’re seeing it come up in a magazine or seeing it on the TV as an advert. And they think of it as siffy it’s the SyFy channel. And not only did they remove the Saturn icon and the sort of the flat text that they had create into a 3d looking logo, which was a really strange approach. Um, it reminded me of things like moon landings and stuff like that, which is probably a good thing.
But not a lot of people would have seen that connection if they didn’t know what the brand was all about. And it also turns out S Y F Y in Poland is a synonym for an STD. So I don’t know if they’ll be watching that channel in Poland, key takeaway from the scifi channel, rebranding failure. Make sure you think about your brand name from every angle possible, not just from the visual identity to think about how it sounds when you’re talking.
it Think about how it would sound. If someone had to recite it in an email address or on the website, these things are really important when it comes to brand naming and go and get the book. Hello, my name is awesome by Alexandra Watkins cause that will teach you all about brand naming and the pitfalls of what you can come up against. If you don’t think about it beforehand.
Leeds United football club in 2018 Leeds United football club unveiled their new club crest and this almost instantaneous. Created a huge amount of fan backlash online so much so that they created a petition to boycott the new logo and club crest and amassed 77,000 signatures
it didn’t take long for Leeds United to see this PR nightmare that was happening in front of their eyes and the connection that their fans were losing with the club. Then not only they had gone to, but probably generations of their family had been going to, and they reverted back to their previous crest and did a refresh on that and kept the traditional heritage in that crest, as opposed to a full change of that club crest key takeaway from the Leeds United rebranding failure.
Don’t mess with heritage, especially in sports clubs, with highly passionate supporters, unless you have a really good reason to do a full overhaul of the club crest. Maybe there’s been a name change. Maybe the clubs actually moved location, or they’ve changed direction. It’s not wise changing too much of that crest.
You could do an evolution on it. You can refresh it, you can move it forward, but a complete overhaul is not wise to do, especially when you have a club that has supporters with multi-generational supporting families.
Royal mail in 2001 Royal mail decided to completely rebrand. So it changed its name and its visual identity to Consignia.
Now the word consign actually matches really well with what Royal mail does. The problem was. Nobody would understand that I had to look it up and it’s not that obvious on what it actually means on top of that, the history of the Royal mail was actually goes back to 1516 with the first use of that name in the 16 hundreds.
So this is a brand that stands for security. Tradition and steadfastness and actually has survived countless wars and changes throughout the history of the United Kingdom. And he’s actually part of the fabric of the United Kingdom. Now, a lot of people, especially the older generations had looked to the Royal Mail as, as a form of tradition and something, they could rely on something that was always going to be there for them, something that was part of the institution of the country.
So when the name change happened it effectively, erased all of that connection with this brand. Because no one understood what the new brand stood for and it was a completely different name. So it would mean having to rebuild all those connections, all those memories of what the Royal mail stood for and what they remember from that the whole entire life really of dealing with the Royal mail had to be put onto something else.
And it just wasn’t done effectively. And after just one year, they switched back to the Royal mail and that’s what they’re still known as today. Key takeaway from the Royal mail rebranding failure. If your brand has survived, countless numbers of wars, And a few economic crisis in its time. Do not throw away all that heritage in one go.
There are so many that we could go through and we’ll probably do a follow-up video. So let me know in the comments, if there’s any other rebranding failures you’d like to see, or if you’d actually just like to see a follow up video to this, just let me know in the comments below if you’ve enjoyed this video and you’d like to see more, please hit the subscribe button below and hit the bell notification to be notified every time a new video.
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