In the business of branding, knowing when to rebrand and when not to may just be one of the most important lessons to learn. In order to avoid an immature approach – rebranding just to please an emotional itch – it’s essential to realize that not all rebranding efforts will result in big, revolutionary, blow-your-socks-off change. But really, for some brands, the kind of sweeping change many would expect is not exactly the most efficient solution. Of course, companies considering this option will want to get their money’s worth, but before any decisions are made they should understand that sometimes small change makes the most sense.
That’s where branding firms come in, to determine how much of a change would really help the brand, because sometimes, too much change can even be a bad thing. The most minimal modifications could include maintaining everything but a typeface.
On the other hand, sometimes the brand image can be completely transformed while, for example, maintaining only a specific color. But for those organizations with assets worth keeping, rebrands are a chance to reposition, to create alignment and relevancy, and to communicate growth to the market, thereby becoming more competitive.The following are some great examples of brands that found ways to make simple yet effective changes in their rebranding strategies.
First, take Delta’s approach. With the company’s emergence from bankruptcy still fresh in investors’ minds, branding firm Lippincott aimed for an authentic message that would say to the market – ‘we know we’re not there yet, but we won’t settle till we’ve gotten there.’ Even their tagline, “Keep Climbing,” evokes this same sentiment: the concession that, yes, there is still work to do, but also the promise that they are aspiring to something greater. Still, from the behind-the-scenes branding point of view, each element of the previous brand was maintained, only updated. The result? A modern look and a clear message for a brand with a true identity.
Also, there’s the recent Girl Scouts rebrand. To keep the strong historical mark intact while simultaneously making it more relevant for a new generation, they were able to make just a few effective, technical changes to the famous Girl Scouts logo. For instance, bangs were added to the three girls’ faces to give them a more youthful look. With similar changes to the noses, lips, and necks, the silhouettes give the impression of a stronger, livelier organization, relevant to a new generation.
Of course, small change examples like these will not be the solution for every brand. Sometimes less is more, but in truth, sometimes more is more. But regardless, whether evolutionary or revolutionary, rebrands need intentionally look beyond artfulness and good taste to find the anchor of a good strategy, which will both inform good decisions and create lasting value.
Craig Johnson is the chief strategist and co-founder of Matchstic, a premier brand identity house. His Atlanta branding agency helps organizations create passionate brands that are memorable, relevant, and lasting. Specializing in brand development through brand strategy, positioning, business & product naming and brand identity services, Matchstic’s brand architects forge positive change and accomplish business objectives through creative thinking and smart design.