From old to new. Successful rebranding case studies

Mindblow Agency
5 min readJul 11, 2023

In the dynamic realm of business, there often comes a time when an organization feels the need to undergo a transformation and reimagine its brand identity. This is where rebranding steps in. It is a strategic endeavor that involves reinventing a brand’s identity, from its visual elements to its messaging and positioning. But why is rebranding necessary? There are several reasons. It could be driven by the need to connect with a new target audience, adapt to evolving market trends, or differentiate from competitors. Whatever the situation is, it’s important to be aware that it’s not some easy task to accomplish. If you want to be successful in your rebranding project, you should make careful planning, thorough market research, and meticulous execution. By aligning the brand’s values with customer expectations and executing the rebranding process with precision, your business can achieve remarkable outcomes and unlock new opportunities for growth. In this article we want to show you some of the best and… not so best examples, so you can learn from both the successes and the pitfalls.

Rebranding done right

When rebranding hits the bullseye (pun intended), it can work wonders for a company. We’re talking increased customer loyalty, a buzz that’s hard to ignore, and a chance to stand out from the competition. Here are some of the best examples on the market:

Burger King

Did you know that Burger King’s logo hadn’t been updated since its 1999 version? It’s been a solid 20 years since then! However, in 2021, the company decided it was time for a change. And boy did they nail it! The advertising agency which was trusted with the rebranding project took a subtle approach, making delicate tweaks while preserving the essence of the original logo. They took elements from the 1969 and 1994 versions and gave it a fresh twist. Picture a bold red wordmark smack in the middle of two bun-halves, all set against a cozy cream backdrop. Can you spot which color is missing in the new version? That’s right, the blue one! And there’s a good reason behind it! According to its designer, Lisa Smith, the decision to eliminate the artificial-looking blue swish in the logo was a nod to the brand’s commitment to enhancing the quality of its food. The new logo now features only two colors and has a warm and friendly vibe that’s totally appetizing.

Starbucks

You might wonder — why would a giant company like Starbucks need a rebranding? They’ve been a huge success since their launch on the market. Well, here’s the scoop: despite their immense popularity, Starbucks recognized the need to evolve and differentiate themselves. True — their coffee-centric approach led to a massive following, but it also posed limitations for future growth. The challenge was to strike a balance between maintaining their coffee excellence while exploring new avenues. The solution? Actually, it was rather a simple fix.

Starbucks reimagined its logo by removing its brand name and coffee from the design. The omission of the word “coffee” demonstrated Starbucks’ intention to expand its product offerings, opening up a world beyond just coffee. This strategic move instantly transformed how people perceived the brand. While eliminating their wordmark, Starbucks confidently embraced the power of their iconic Siren symbol. Since its inception, the Siren has been synonymous with the brand, and the company believes it’s instantly recognizable, even without the brand name accompanying it.

Even though at first the fans weren’t very fond of the change, they grew to like it. Actually, since the rebranding, Starbucks’ stock prices went through the roof! They nearly tripled, making it one of the biggest growth spurts in the company’s history. Talk about a game-changer!

Rebranding gone wrong

Tropicana

Tropicana, a well-known brand of fruit juices and beverages, did a rebranding in 2009 and it was… a major flop. The reason? They made a sudden decision to completely change the packaging design without announcing it to their customers. The company ditched the iconic straw-in-orange image that everyone knew and loved. Instead, they went with a plain glass of orange juice that looked generic and boring. People were confused and put off by the sudden change. Sales took a nosedive, and customers started looking for other options. So naturally, in order to reverse this action and save the brand, Tropicana soon brought back the original design of the packaging. All good at the end of the day, but the mistake was pretty expensive for the company — more than 50 million dollars went down the drain.

Uber

Back in 2016, Uber, the ride-share company, underwent a rebranding that included a new logo and visual identity. The company made the decision to leave behind its recognizable U from its logo and replace it with what appears to be a backwards C. The rebranding aimed to reflect the company’s evolution from a transportation service to a broader mobility platform. However, the new logo, which consisted of a geometric “bit” and “atom” shape, faced significant backlash and confusion among customers. Many felt that the new logo lacked the simplicity and recognizability of the previous Uber logo. What also raised eyebrows among customers was not only the bizarre choice of new logo, but also the fact that the colors and icons of the ride-share company varied across different countries. It’s like each place had its own unique Uber flavor. Although the rebranding didn’t have a catastrophic impact on Uber’s business, it faced criticism for its execution and lack of clarity.

Takeaway

We mean, there’s nothing wrong with experimenting and trying out different approaches, as is the case with Uber and Tropicana and probably many more brands, but we think that branding is truly much more about perception. If customers aren’t happy and can’t connect with the brand’s vibe, then it’s time to reevaluate. At the end of the day, it’s how customers perceive and feel about the brand that determines its success. If you are a business and also feel like it’s time for rebranding, contact us. We will make sure that you execute your new vision in the best way possible.

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Mindblow Agency

We won’t bore you to death with small talk. We’ll just let the work do the talking and let’s hope you have an eye for design and creative direction.