Reading Time: 5 minutes


Rebrand [riːˈbrand]: to change the way that an organization, company, or product is seen by the public.

Most of the time, when brands decide to go in for rebranding, it’s a much harder challenge for agencies or designers, because they have to change a logo or brand image, while retaining something that creates a recall for customers. Not every time the result is a success, and history has seen many famous companies rebrand themselves and fail.

There risk associated with rebranding a business is huge, due to the equity the company built over time. So, if the logo design takes a wrong turn, a well-known company can not only lose big money on the launch of unsuccessful redesign (think about everything that this logo touches needs to be replaced), but also entangles a potential lost in revenue due to different factors.

So let’t dig in 5 rebranding fails out there and see why it happened and at what cost:

Tropicana is a well-known brand popular for their straw sticking out of an orange. The logo implies that Tropicana’s juice is fresh, undiluted and direct from the orange. In an attempt to make their brand look more “down to earth,” the company simplified the packaging and logo. The new message focused on that the juice was freshly squeezed, accompanied by the campaign “a squeeze is natural” displaying families hugging.

The problem was that people didn’t recognize the new Tropicana brand. When sales went down with around 20%, Tropicana realized their brand was in trouble and reverted to their original branding by the end of the next month, throwing away their $35 million investment into the rebranding campaign.

The Gap is a pretty solid logo to change. And the company discovered the hard way just exactly how much their customers connected with the classic “GAP” over the navy square. When Gap decided to uncover their new logo and rebrand their company, they changed it without any warning. The second that navy square became a tiny thing in the corner, customers lashed out and demanded a change.

It took the company only 6 days respond to the criticism and go back to their original design. The Gap rebrand was estimated to have cost them $100 million for what people regarded as a WordArt blunder.

Unlike rival brand Coca-Cola, Pepsi has always struggled with its brand identity, but the most recent change is probably the worst rebranding campaign the company has made thus far. In 2008, Pepsi released the latest iteration of its logo, rotating the circular icon and incorporating a “cheeky smile” into the design. The smile was invariably invisible to most people.

Although they’ve spent $1 million on just a new logo, it’s nowhere near iconic as their last one. Their overall rebranding expenses are said to be $1.2 billion over 3 years.

Royal Mail
In January 2001, Royal Mail (the UK’s biggest mail carrier) announced a new company name and brand: Consignia. Most people did not even understand the meaning of the new brand name and the design definitely did not appeal to anyone. To consign, means indeed “To give over to the care of another; entrust” or “To deliver (merchandise, for example) for custody or sale”. In theory, the name fits the description of the company perfectly. In practice however, people didn’t like it. Mike Verdin of BBC News called the new name “A duffer. A howling waste of money.”

Living with the name for one year, the company reverted back to Royal Mail and mostly everything was forgiven and forgotten about Consignia. The Consignia name cost £1.5 million to launch in January 2001. A little over a year later, it cost the company £1 million to rebrand themselves again as Royal Mail.

Animal Planet
Animal Planet is without a doubt one of the most popular TV stations across the globe. One of the main reasons why this TV station had become iconic in the first place (apart from their incredible animal-related content) was their simple yet memorable logo.
The original logo was simply adorable — a picture of the globe, with simple font and silhouette of the elephant, had served as a perfect representation of the brand for years. The logo was memorable, and the audience had an emotional connection with the company logo.

For the second logo, Animal Planet gave a brief to the designer in which they asked him to create a logo that embodies visceral emotions that denote the animal kingdom. The logo was meant to tap into the instincts that drive both humans and animals- fear, hunger, survival, nurture, and pleasure. The horizontal M of the logo was meant to serve as a unique element of the logo, on the contrary, it failed to impress as it didn’t make any sense.
The logo lost its touch due to the absence of the planet which used to be the primary and unique element of the logo design. The 3rd and most recent version of the logo is a blue emblem which has attempted to bring the original identity back with the well-known elephant of the network’s first logo.

There are plenty of reasons that a company may be in need of a rebrand. Now, if you have decided that it’s time to refresh your image, please keep in mind that giving the customers something new does not always mean they will fall in love with it.

Rebranding is a powerful yet tricky tool to execute. When done properly, the rebranding investment can help your business reach out more to your target audience, embrace a new direction, build consumer buy-in and drive sales. When done wrong, rebranding can, in the best-case scenario, go unnoticed and have no impact. The worst-case scenario on the other hand, presents diving profits and alienating clients, so choose wisely!

Your weekly dose of logo-knowledge was brought to you by: HIBRIDIUM

Hibridium is a freshly freelancer turned to brand project, aiming to offer, as already stated, “more than design”. What is more than design ? Tailor made ideas and concepts, based on our customer’s insights and our own experience.
Hibridium lives in a Hybrid world, a mixture of digital marketing fairy tales, custom graphic designed dragons, printing materials for the bear in the forest, and brand identity in shining armor.
Check out more on Facebook!