Famous Successful and Unsuccessful Rebrands


Branding is an important part of any businesses. It helps make them more recognisable to the public and can have a major impact on their reputation and how they are seen in people eyes. Rebranding is not uncommon, with most long standing companies having rebranded at some point. Pepsi, for example, have rebranded more than once a decade. Below are some examples of both well-known successful and unsuccessful rebrands.


Successful Rebrands



Harley Davidson

The famous motorbike makers were struggling in the 1980’s and needed a turnaround to prevent themselves from going under. The solution, it was decided, was simple: create a better product. Even though Harley Davidson always had a brand they were no longer making a profit and focussing on quality bikes became their priority. This had the impact of giving them a reputation for quality, meaning they could sell more bikes at a high price. This change gave them the quality to match the brand and made the business profitable again.



Successful Rebrand Starbucks


Today Starbucks is one of the most recognisable global brands. As with many businesses, one of the most recognisable things about them is their green logo. It wasn’t always this colour, though; it was previously just black and white. In 1992 they altered their logo, with the most obvious change being the transformation from a black outer strip to a green one. Even though the text and font, as well as the main logo image, were also changed, this change from black to green had a major impact on their image. The outer strip has recently been removed from the logo entirely, removing all mention of ‘Starbucks’, showing that the brand is so well-know that this is no longer required.



Successful and Unsuccessful Rebrands - Burberry-Logo


For a time in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s Burberry’s public image was in tatters. The wearing of Burberry products was associated with gang culture and violence. The company made much effort to disassociate themselves from this by adapting their styles to make them appear more stylish. This has been a success and shows that it is possible to alter a negative image through branding.



mcdonalds_green logo


McDonalds has been much blamed for the increasing number of people, especially young people, who are considered obese. Even though this image has been hard to shift, they have made a start by incorporating more healthy foods, such as salads, into their menu and marketing themselves as a healthy eating option. They have even gone into the increasingly popular coffee market. Although they haven’t lost their reputation for cheap, unhealthy food, it has softened, and profits have increased.



Unsuccessful Rebrands




A branding change for Tropicana orange juice is a great example of an unnecessary change that had a negative impact. So wrong, in fact, that they later reversed the change. Tropicana replaced an orange with a straw in it with an image of a glass full of orange juice on their cartons. It was not a success and they quickly switched back. This shows that altering a successful brand can be a mistake and needs to be carefully thought through.



Unsuccesful Rebrand Capital One

Capital One

Capital One made a mistake in a logo change. They increased the size of the text and added a red swoosh. While to some this change might appear more interesting and exciting it didn’t work, perhaps because it didn’t really fit the industry they are in. Being a financial company, trustworthiness is more important than appearing exciting. The previous, more corporate logo was more suitable. This shows that companies should think about what their product is, and who they are targeting, before making branding decisions.



Famous Successful and Unsuccessful Rebrands - scifi-syfy-rebrand

SciFi Channel

The SciFi Channel made an embarrassing mistake when they decided to change their name from the ‘SciFi’ channel to the ‘SyFy’ channel. The new spelling is a slang term for Syphilis. The lesson here is to make sure you do your research before choosing on a name.



There are a number of reasons for altering branding. It may be that a company is struggling and needs an improved reputation. Making a brand more up-to-date can be another reason as sticking with an old logo, for example, can make a brand seem dated and out of touch. Companies shouldn’t rush into a rebrand, though, and shouldn’t rebrand for the sake of it without thinking it through. The public may recognise a company due to its branding, and they need to be careful not to ruin this affection.



This article is a guest post written by Andrew Marshall. Andrew works for Moore-Wilson, a London based web and graphic design agency.

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