11 Lessons You Can Learn From the Biggest Rebranding Failures!

History tells us about brands that changed their fortune after they changed their brand image. Apple would be one good example of how an effective rebranding can turn the tables for a business. The company was on the brink of bankruptcy when Steve Jobs stepped in and the rest is history.
When he rejoined the company, the first thing he did was revamping the entire personality of the Apple brand. From its logo to hardware designs, everything was redesigned to give a new creative touch to the brand. The colorful Apple logo was recreated to match it to its new sleek products.
The entire restyling worked wonders for the Apple and it went on to become the most valuable brand in the world. Such is the impact of effective rebranding that can uplift the image of any brand.
A bad rebranding, on the other hand, has opposite effects of what an ingenious rebranding does for your business. It can severely damage your brand identity and badly changes the perception of your business in minds of people.
Nonetheless, it is depressing to see so many businesses messing up with rebranding their image. Tropicana did it with their logo design. Comcast did it with their name and who can forget the costly rebranding of Gap. Despite spending huge investment, all of these rebranding attempts proved to be a dud.
But there are some good lessons you can learn from rebranding blunders of these million-dollar brands. Some of them deserve a mention here:

  • 1. MasterCard


Source: www.fastprint.co.uk/Assets/User/1976-1-mastercard.jpg

Rarely does a company like MasterCard do something as pathetic as it did with its logo design. When the company unveiled its new logo, it looked too complicated to convey any idea. The company had to withdraw the logo from its credit cards and take back the old brand identity.
What is worth noting in the redesign is the extra circle that did not even centered the existing circles which also accentuates the lack of precision in the design. Overall, the redesign was a big disappointing for the users of such a big brand.
Lesson: Something is better kept original or you run the risk of losing your identity.

  • 2. Tropicana


Source: http://www.fastprint.co.uk/Assets/User/1978-3-tropicana.jpg

One of the worst cases of rebranding, the image redesign of Tropicana was a disaster that cost a serious decline in its sales. In 2009, the company underwent the rebranding that was not received well by the public. As a result, the company had to suffer a loss of $140 million in its revenue.
What went wrong in the redesign was the use of custom logo design that was rather insipid and lacks the energy that was visible in its earlier version. The packaging of the product was also somewhat disappointing as it does not go with the brand. Brands must avoid common errors that can result in major setbacks for the organization.
The rebranding proved to be a big failure and Tropicana had to go back to the original branding. The rebranding cost a heavy loss of more than $137 million dollars in just a matter of two months.
Lesson: Never expect your audience to like the rebranding of your business when it comes only in the form of new packaging.

  • 3. SyFy

Source: http://5343-presscdn-0-91.pagely.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/syfy.png

This one is a special mention. Much of the rebranding failure of SyFy owes to its new name that means ‘syphilis’ in slang, and do we need to explain what it means? The company justifies the use of this word as it cannot trademark the word ‘sci-fi’ as it is a genre.
The new design turned out to be a disappointment compared to its old version which used imagery of Saturn that stood true to its name. However, the widespread criticism of the brand did not bother the company and it still continues to use the word in its brand identity.
Lesson: Always research about the etymology of a name when renaming your brand or you will end up making yourself fool.

  • 4. Animal Planet

Source: https://ww.deluxe.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Animal-Planet-Logo-Change.jpg

Animal Planet is a channel for lovers of wildlife. When it changed its logo in 2009, it was widely criticized for lack of imagination. The new logo was a turn-off mainly because of the use of horizontal E that made no sense to the audience.
As compared to the new design, the audience liked the earlier version for its perfect use of design and imagery. In spite of negative feedback, the company continued to use the logo as its brand identity.
Lesson: Always be thoughtful with how you use typography in your logo.

  • 5. Gap

Source: http://c.fastcompany.net/multisite_files/fastcompany/imagecache/inline-large/inline/2012/10/3002109-inline-inline-5-latest-victims-famous-logo-rebrands.jpg

When Gap revealed its new logo in 2010, no one would have imagined it to be so unimaginative. The new logo lacks any creativity and it took the company a good $1 million dollar for the entire rebranding. In spite of spending a huge budget on the redesign, the result was a complete disaster.
The classic stretchy Serifs were replaced by Helvetica, while a gradient box was added in the background. The new redesign was badly responded by the masses and the company had to revert to their original logo within a week but it was too late to compensate the damage of $100 million dollars.
Lesson: You cannot buy creativity with money.

  • 6. Pepsi

Source: http://www.bevreview.com/wp-content/image_pepsilogochange1.gif

A million-dollar brand that is recognizable even from a thousand miles, the Pepsi’s logo is another example of how money corrupts creativity. In a bid to get a better logo design, the company spends around $1 million dollars but it could not translate into something as big as the Pepsi. Much of the criticism was drawn to the wider white stripe that did not mean anything for the audience.
According to the design team of the project, the stripe was widened to make it look like a smiley but it failed to create the desired effect on the audience. Considering the history of logo remakes of the Pepsi, it is the least favorite attempt which cost them a hefty price of $1 million dollars.
Lesson: Check the point number 4.

  • 7. London Olympic 2012

London Olympics 2012

Source: http://www.imagemme.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/olympics4601.jpg

In an attempt to make it more contemporary and modern, the organizers of London Olympic did a redesign with classic Olympic logo. The result was a poorly-made design that created a massive public outrage. The redesign was a result of a huge budget of $800,000.
Lesson: Don’t try hard to make your brand identity look contemporary or you will make it bizarre.

  • 8. MySpace


Source: http://www.underconsideration.com/brandnew/archives/myspace_logo.gif

MySpace lets down its audience when it revealed its new logo design in 2010. What once was a thoughtful logo design became a symbol of mediocrity. As expected, the redesign was soon dismissed by the audience and the company had to go back to its original logo. MySpace was not sure about the reasons to total makeover of logo design. A thoughtless idea and poor use of symbol resulted in the failure of its logo.
Lesson: There is a fine line between creativity and absurdness.

  • 9. Capital One

Capital One

Source: http://my-smashing.smashingapps.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/capital-one.jpg

One of the largest financial institutions in America, Capital One decided to revamp its logo design in 2008. However, it was a turn-off as there was nothing new in its new design except for the swoosh mark and that too was used earlier in a number of brands, including the famous Nike Inc.
The audience was quick to notice the resemblance and gave it the thumbs down. In spite of negative reviews of the public, the company stuck with the new logo and it is still using it as its corporate identity.
Lesson: To stand out in the crowd, you need to come across as unique and original.

  • 10. Xfinity (Comcast)


Source: http://www.lobstersandligatures.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/comcast-to-xfinity.jpg

When Comcast changed its name to Xfinity, everyone thought of it as a face-saving strategy to hide its bad reputation. However, it could not save them from negative feedback of the people who thought the name is too weird to mean anything.
Time magazine described the rename in its list of worst name changes in the business world and we completely agree with them.
Lesson: Changing name only changes some letters and not the personality of your brand.

  • 11. Kraft


Source: http://www.whyletz.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Kraft-Rebrand-Before-and-After.jpg

The renowned face of the food industry, the logo redesign of Kraft is another example of how a thoughtless attempt can result in a complete devastation of the brand identity. Created in 2009, the logo redesign was just not impressive for the public.
It was criticized by the public for the use of Tekton fonts and smiley. Though the company tried to make it better by flipping the side of the star and changing the color of smiley, it could not manage to impress the audience. Finally, Kraft decided to take back its original logo after a period of six months.
Lesson: Never be casual with your brand identity. Research first and then execute.
The above-mentioned 11 rebranding blunders can give you important lessons on how blundering with a redesign can put your brand image at risk and what to consider before customizing your business logo design. Remember that an effective rebranding is a result of careful research, planning, and creativity. Keep these lessons in mind the next time you plan to redesign your brand. Wishing you all the luck for your next rebranding campaign!

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