5 examples of successful rebrands and why they worked.

Posted January 3, 2017 in by

Rebranding! It seems to be the go-to solution for a company on the ropes of troubled or boring times. From logos to exciting, creative ways to market a product, it’s pretty easy to get thrown onto the tracks of rebrand road. Hit the brakes. Rebranding is no easy task. You can’t just stick a fancy new logo on some swag bags and hope for the best. Companies often rebrand for no reason, leaving their target market confused and disappointed. But with as often as rebrands go awry, there are some that get it right and see amazing rewards from it. Here’s my top five successful rebranding examples.

Instagram: The Logo Rebrand

Instagram: the home of the “selfie.” It has over 400 million active users who are uploading 80 million photos per day. Needless to say, they are one of the most popular social media channels in the world. So when they took steps toward identifying what Instagram is all about through a rebrand of their logo, it was a little hard for some to let go of the old and embrace the new.

Their redesigned look replaces the original retro-looking camera with a lively, warm gradient and simplified camera outline. Additionally, Instagram’s sister apps— Boomerang, Hyperlapse and Layout—were revamped and have taken on the same colorful gradient look. Ian Spalter, Head of Design for Instagram, describes the new rebrand as a move toward telling the story of their vibrant and diverse community.


Image source: http://www.businessinsider.com/this-is-instagrams-new-logo-2016-5


What Makes It Work:

Instagram uses their logo to visually portray what they represent and how they fit into the community without the need to verbally communicate it.


Land Rover: The Campaign Rebrand

A rebrand doesn’t necessarily mean an entire overhaul. Many times, larger companies will use campaigns as a way to refresh their look. Land Rover took a different approach when they decided to change their visual identity both online and in print. They customized a clean, new typeface, dropped the blue box treatment behind their logo and amped up their photography with rich color images that scream “luxury.”





Image source: http://www.rebrand.com/distinction-jaguar-land-rover

What Makes It Work:

Land Rover was given a subtle yet meaningful facelift and was reborn as a premium SUV brand in a competitive market.


Uber: The Logistics Rebrand

When Uber redesigned their app icon, it left several people wondering what happened to the distinctive U-shaped logo overlaid on a black background. Some critics boldly claimed it was a “rebrand for rebrand sake.” But Uber had bigger plans.

The company wasn’t just taking the logo new places; they wanted to rebrand in a way that would change how users logistically think about Uber. They implemented two separate logos for ride sharers (riders) and drivers (partners) that would allow them to expand their iconography as their services grow. As an internal team, they came up with their new design and wordmark together, applying the five pillars they aspire to be: grounded, populist, inspiring, highly evolved and elevated.


Image source: https://www.wired.com/2016/02/the-inside-story-behind-ubers-colorful-redesign/


What Makes It Work:

Uber didn’t just revamp without purpose. They spent a long time thinking about who they are as a company and how they run their business, developing a look to reflect that evolution.


Pabst Blue Ribbon: The Anti-Rebrand

PBR has had a long-standing reputation as the cheap, simple American swill of the working class. Yet, this exact reputation turned heads and made PBR a new contender among college students and hipsters when “craft beer” became trendy (and pricey), increasing PBR’s sales substantially. This new target market isn’t known for taking well to marketing, so PBR went a little rogue and did something unconventional: They didn’t rebrand. They didn’t develop a marketing strategy.

This defiant attitude was exactly what their target market wanted and loved in the PBR brand, retaining their current customers and attracting more in the process.


Image source: http://pabstblueribbon.com/


What Makes It Work:

PBR’s rebellion earns them a unique and respected brand reputation for standing their ground and being a mighty goldfish swimming in a sea (or pint?) of sharks.


DC Comics: The Heritage Rebrand

Being a bit of a comic nerd, I had to give a shoutout and honorable mention to DC Comics. This year, they rolled out a new logo that a few fans have dubbed “a return of the ’70s” both affectionately and negatively. However you think of it, the new logo streamlines the look of their brand while remaining bold and iconic. It combines a similar font as former typography of the ’70s but adds a chunky, angled look styled within a simplified circle. The uncomplicated look is intended to be used universally, making it more diverse and easy to use on a variety of media. Furthermore, Amit Desai, DC Entertainment Senior Vice President of Marketing and Global Franchise Management, gave the logo his full support, saying, “The launch of the new logo is the perfect tribute to DC’s legacy, exciting future and most importantly, our fans.”

Well, if it’s good enough for Amit, it’s good enough for me.


Image source: http://www.dccomics.com/blog/2016/05/17/dc-entertainment-introduces-new-identity-for-dc-brand


What Makes It Work:

This new DC logo revives a similar font style to those used in the ’70s. Slanted lines, chips and a beefier font add bold interest in a subtle way and streamline the visual, making it easier to use in a variety of settings, like 3-D modeling, favicons and print.



So how can you tell what a successful rebrand is?

The fate of rebranding lies within the judgment of consumers and industry leaders alike. Everyone has varying opinions of what successful and unsuccessful rebrands are. The important thing is to have a reason for doing it. The example brands above all outline a purpose for their rebrands—from changing the way a company fundamentally operates to hitting the mark with their target audience. Before you start down that road, make sure you ask yourself why you need to do it and be sure to check out our branding checklist before getting started or review the 5 key branding elements.

rebranding checklist

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