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Rebranding In Simple Terms: How And When To Carry It Out

If sales start to drop and you are losing customers, it may be time for a transformation – change strategy and rebrand. The brand of the company helps to broadcast changes and stay in touch with the audience.

Rebranding is a change not only in the visual component (color, font, slogan, logo, etc.), but also in the values, mission, and philosophy of the company. Otherwise, it can be called renaming or restyling.

Who needs rebranding and when

1.Reach new markets and audiences.

If you adhere to the “product for all” strategy and the target audience is not defined, how to understand what the buyer really needs from your brand, product? Audience segmentation will help you figure out who your product is for and what the customer appreciates about it. You can’t do without it when entering new markets, highlighting cultural, linguistic and geographical differences. Create new points of contact with the brand: from packaging to the style of communication with the audience, without causing negative associations.

For example, in China, Marvel became known as Man Wei (Man – comic, Wei – power), Coca-Cola was renamed Ke Kou Ke Le (delicious fun). New names clearly indicate the direction of activity, sound and resemble the original names.

Chinese Coca-cola
The original name of Coca-Cola in Chinese could be translated as “Wax-biting tadpoles”
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2. Revive brand relevance.

Your audience may change due to demographic, political changes. Millennials and Generation Z will account for more than 45% of global luxury sales by 2025, according to BoF. It is for this reason that the famous jewelry brand Tiffany & Co. trying to shift the focus to a younger audience. For example, in 2021 they launched an advertising campaign with the slogan “Not your mother’s Tiffany”. However, the advertisement drew criticism from a regular audience, as associate the brand with a classic, timeless style that is passed down from generation to generation, from mother to daughter.

Tiffany advertising campaign

3. The emergence of new products.

Don’t be afraid to create new products or add services if your brand has long been associated with just one product. Expand the range, add new services if you find a response from the audience. But don’t forget to change your look to protect your space, build trust, and become associated with new products. Otherwise, your competitors will do it for you.

For example, Dropbox was launched in 2007, after expanding services, they made rebranding. It’s became more than a file-sharing service, now they provide full suite with APIs, tools, and integrations. The old logo was a box where you can store items. Now it’s looke like surfaces, open space for creation.   

Old and new Dropbox logo

4. Global changes: merger of companies, change of mission.

Merging, unification always raises a number of questions. Do I need to keep the audience of both companies? Will the main product change? Will the geography of your new company expand? A new name and strategy may be needed to match new opportunities and the market. The values ​​and mission of your company should be shared by new employees and leaders.

If the business has grown, gone beyond commerce, found a new purpose, make sure the new is woven and reflected in your brand. 

CSC and HP
The DXC.technology is a merger result of CSC and Hewlett Packard Enterprise

5. Fix brand reputation.

In the case of big scandals, damaged reputation, the company can show “work on the mistakes” through rebranding. The lessons learned and the emergence of new values ​​can be shown through the logo, the name, in order to rebuild from the past.
For example, in 2006 Siberia Airlines completely changed its name, corporate identity, corporate colors, logo and fonts. Presumably, such serious changes were a series of air crashes, as a result of which the airline began to cause negative associations and mistrust among passengers. Ticket sales have dropped. Internal changes led to a rebranding of the company. They changed the name to S7 and painted the planes from blue to bright green. The name “S7” was taken from the code “Siberia” in the International Air Transport Association IATA.


Whatever the reasons for rebranding, they always reflect global changes in the company. New products, connection with a young audience, qualitative changes – rebranding will help to declare all this. But how to spend it and at the same time not just spend money?

How to rebrand and what to change

Rebranding can be complex or partial, depending on the goals. But the main concept of the company is always taken as the basis. What is the concept based on? This is your mission, strategy and goals, values ​​and philosophy that you adhere to inside.

With a complex one, you change everything: the name, logos, corporate colors, slogans, the format of communication with the audience, positioning, and also do not forget about your employees: corporate ethics, corporate clothing, incentive systems. They resort to it when there are more products and services, the company has grown and transformed, or the reputation needs to be updated and rebuilt from negative experience. One such example was described above with the airline S7.

With partial, several elements may change, such as with renaming or restyling. Very often people come to him when there have been no visual changes in the company for a long time, and the audience has already got used to the new standards of beauty, style, modernity, etc. For example, recently a lot of changes are connected with simplification, moving away from complex and heavy elements, companies broadcast the ease of use of their products and services.

One such example was the change in the logo of our CS-Cart partners. Previously, the logo looked like a grocery cart and spoke about the essence of the product – an e-commerce platform. Now it has become brighter and simpler, and reflects the main principle of the company – a quick and easy launch of an online project.

Example of partial rebranding of CS-Cart

Rebranding consists of several stages

1. Audit of the current situation and market research. Business indicators are measured, the attitude of the audience to the current brand of the company is studied, competitors are analyzed, strengths and weaknesses, positioning and distribution channels are identified. Here you can find out the reasons why changes are needed, why the old brand does not work, and what goal you want to achieve. Based on the results, you can understand whether serious changes are needed or restyling will be enough.

2. Development of a rebranding strategy. Depending on the purpose of the rebranding, it will be clear what components need to be worked on, what metrics to evaluate the effectiveness of. At this stage, you need to choose the methods and tools of rebranding, determine the budget.

3. Work on a new concept. This is a search for ideas, work on a new brand book, this is the process of working on changes. And here you need to start from the beginning, i.e. first we define what we value and what we are working for now and after that we change the visual style and typography. At this stage, several options are usually prepared and research is carried out in focus groups with the target audience. This will help you make a choice in favor of the option with the best response from customers. Large companies often outsource this stage to an agency.

4. Implementation of changes. In addition to actual changes: changing the logo on the site, replacing packaging, signage, etc., presentations, advertising campaigns, press releases are carried out to create a strong association with the new brand. In advertising and PR campaigns, we explain to the audience what changes have taken place and why, what the company is currently focused on and what can be expected from products and services.

A few important rules

  • Each element of the brand serves one purpose. All components of the design must be coordinated and carry a common semantic load. The chosen colors or shape should convince the audience of your idea.
  • Rebranding is an integrated approach. Even if you change only the logo, approach it comprehensively. Use various communication channels, do not forget about social networks.
  • The brand must evoke an emotional response from the audience. The message you want to convey to the audience should be clear at a glance.
The Giraffe family restaurant chain was added to the name of World Kitchen when they expanded the geography and audience in different countries
  • Rebranding is not always the total destruction of the old. In order not to alienate an already formed audience, you can include those design elements that work effectively.
The Starbucks brand evolves while maintaining its authenticity

The main rebranding mistakes

  • Lack of consistency. The company changes one thing, then stops, then brainstorms and changes again. As a result, customers do not have a strong association of a brand with a company, a company with a product, but there is mistrust, doubts and confusion. In this case, many prefer understandable and proven competitors.
  • Groundlessness. For example, changes in the brand caused a change in management, rebranding is not based on a specific goal, but is more a “whim” of the manager. When the goal is not clear, there is no clear technical task, the results will be the same doubtful.
  • Superficial attitude, changes only in the visual component. For example, if business profits are rapidly falling and you decide to attract more customers using a new bright logo. How long do you think these changes will last? Instead, it is better to find out the reasons for low performance: the quality of the product, the work of the call center, delivery, site; and make qualitative changes.
  • No analytical data. To meet the expectations of the right audience, take market research and competitor analysis as a basis.

How NOT to do it. Bad Examples

Now let’s take a look at the failed examples.

  • Seattle’s Best Coffee is a coffee roasting company. With the help of rebranding, they wanted to create a new look that would reflect the principles of simplicity and modernity. However, the new logo, according to the audience, no longer refers to a coffee company, but to a blood donation center. Bottom line: an emotional response was found, but the semantic load did not convince the audience.
  • Oxford Dictionaries is one of the famous dictionary manufacturers. His classic blue font was a calling card. But in 2014 they decided to modernize the logo. As a result, the logo is very reminiscent of the manufacturers of the famous Beats headphones, originality and direct association with the brand have been lost.
Oxford Dictionaries
  • And here are a few rebranding stories that have caused a lot of criticism and audience jokes. Confectionery company Hershey’s in 2009 decided to rebrand. Indeed, the logo began to look more modern due to the simplicity of the images. Except for one detail, namely the truffle, which caused ridiculous associations and jokes.
  • In 2014, designers spent $1 million to change the Pepsi logo. The white stripe on the globe was supposed to be associated with a smile, but caused a wave of indignation and criticism. Consumers associated the logo with a fat man, “this is what will happen to you if you use Pepsi.” As a result, the rebranding turned out to be inconsistent and caused more damage to the image.
  • One example of a superficial attitude is that in 2013, Yahoo tried to regain the audience taken away by competitors. Thanks to the hype raised around the rebranding, everyone expected to see global changes. But the chosen logo was only slightly different from the previous one. The marketing campaign was loud, but the expectations were not met, there were no global changes.
  • The designers of the London 2012 Olympic Games had the opposite effect. Wanting to create something unique, creative impulses took them far, the logo turned out to be difficult to understand and poorly associated with the Olympic Games in general. Many designers have called it the worst gaming logo since 1924.
Olympic Games

When changing a brand, in whole or in part, remember why you are doing it. Don’t forget that your new values ​​should be reflected in all elements of the brand. When creating a radically new one, do not underestimate the connection of the audience with the old brand. Follow your uniqueness, but don’t forget readability and connection with the product.

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