When It’s Time for Rebranding

Posted by: on Sep 11, 2013 | No Comments

With the recent launch of the new Yahoo! logo and VanityFair logo – I thought it might be a good time to revisit some of the reasons to rebrand.

  • You need to increase relevance to your customers
  • Your brand has a confusing or weak image
  • Your brand has a dated look that’s not in keeping with today’s offerings
  • Your brand benefits have changed substantially
  • Your brand has been undermined by poor business decisions
  • Your brand has been undermined by competitors

Given the above criteria, Yahoo! was certainly on target with the move towards rebranding, but did the strategy and implementation achieve the business goals? Or did the initiative only serve to visually underscore the uncertainty that has plagued the company?

One could easily make the argument that Yahoo! is quirky and dynamic, offering a custom portal and view to each user. However, the parade of logos presented over the “30 days of change” was only of moderate design quality, leaving the average viewer with a feeling of doubt that, unfortunately, aligned with shareholder performance.

VanityFair did have reason to celebrate with 100 years of publication… but did the core brand require a complete overhaul, or would a campaign have sufficed? I have seen consistent comments that “changing the font does not a logo make” – and would have to agree.

In the case of VanityFair, their brand redesign is “fair game” as the editorial team has consistently dished out design critiques of rebrands including the likes of Gap and American Airlines.

Careful consideration

Your brand represents the characteristics, values, history, personality and direction of your company. It is the foundation by which recognition and appreciation are built among constituents. Just because times have changed, doesn’t mean that your brand doesn’t resonate. Before any changes are made to the logo, the rationale for revision and goals to be realized should be identified. Careful surveys and focus group studies should be conducted on the existing brand to assess brand perceptions and brand recall. Brand recall may be more valuable than the harm from brand perceptions that are only slightly off from your goals.

Value vs. cost of rebranding

Rebranding is an investment for the entire company, impacting every aspect of business communications: invoices, labels, packaging, vehicles, signage, business cards, advertising, websites, social media, and more. This extensive effort has to be promoted with a campaign of substance equal to the importance and commitment to the goals. The cost associated with updating all communications is substantial.

The value of brand redesign can be even more substantial given the associated potential financial returns. Brand value continues to be one of the top motivators for Wall Street investors, driving share prices higher with this intangible asset. Again, the brand value is a combination of brand perception and brand recall – with stronger brands commanding consumer mind-share beyond the value of tangible assets. 2013 has shown passionate redesign efforts from brands who have felt that re-investing in their visual impact will resonate with their audiences.

Check out some logo “before and after’s” – with before on the left and after on the right.

Before and After Logo Rebranding