April 25, 2017

The Practice of the Rebrand is Here to Stay

Submitted by Kelly Glass

If you keep a close eye on marketing, you know that rebranding has been a prominent strategy over the last two years. From all the evidence we've seen, rebranding is not just a recent trend. Likewise, with so many different types of businesses retooling their marketing strategies, it's pretty clear also that this approach is not going away.

Rebrand to Reboot?

During the economic crisis of 2008, several major companies, particularly in the banking and financial sector, took a beating. Longtime players Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns hurt their brands as well as those of firms with which they did business. They also wrecked client investment portfolios and eventually ceased to exist altogether. During the same time period, the insurance giant AIG lost billions too. AIG ended up slyly renaming part of its operation, while mega soccer club Manchester United — who had signed onto a long-term deal to wear the AIG logo on their game shirts, got stuck wearing the damaged brand's logo for the following year.

Few have written about it specifically, but 2008's downturn and the global economy's subsequent return may have — over the last several years — fueled a marketing boom and rallied people's taste for rebranding. Last year alone, companies across the varied industries such as beverages, sports, social media and heavy industry reworked design and marketing strategies to reach new customers.

Certainly some of the biggest rebrands have been necessitated by mergers and acquisitions, with Kraft Heinz one of the most notable. Part of the mega-merger, odd as it may be, saw Kraft Heinz strive to keep the reputations of major food products like Kraft Mac and Cheese completely unaffected in terms of customer perceptions (despite recipe changes). Meanwhile, digital outfits Uber, Instagram, Zocdoc and Grubhub all got people talking about their rebrands at a much louder volume.

Big Brands, Little Brands

In 2016 alone, both major corporate brands as well as non-profit institutions in the arts, healthcare and education launched large scale efforts to reposition their companies or recast what exactly it is that they do for their customers. Results weren't just about new logos or slicker taglines.

Firms like drug store retailer CVS recast their in-store health services as CVS Health. While letting their customers know that CVS stores aren't just for picking up aspirin or shampoo. They aim to become a better known provider of non-hospital outpatient health services.

Meanwhile, British company Jaguar Land Rover ramped up their sales efforts on a number of new vehicles, showing how important marketing collateral, technical documentation and sales literature is. In their 2016 branding, the automaker fine-tuned the details of everything from crisp fonts and brand marks to logo placement.

But the momentum of the rebrand isn’t limited to the business world. Cities and small towns, states and counties, tourist and business commerce groups and even libraries have rebranded. Their aim is to garner the same kind of brand recognition with their own target audiences that big companies achieve with theirs. Even entire countries have sought to rebrand, mainly to reel in tourists. Besides the usual hotspots of Mexico and the Caribbean, countries including Paraguay and the Philippines have launched new efforts to reach travelers.

Let's keep in mind, however, that it's not just a new product or a need to build or restore a reputation that makes organizations think about rebranding. Nor does it require a merger of companies, or a change in ownership and company direction.

Take Hollandia Produce (a lettuce grower based in Carpinteria, California), which has been in business since 1970. In order to better tout their lines of fresh lettuce products in a growing market, they decided to go with a “modern, natural look” and rename their brand as Pete's Living Greens. The firm's head hints that their rebrand comes too, with a more personal touch.

"After much time spent listening to our consumers . . . we came to the conclusion that our mission and motivation could be better displayed with an easily recognizable name,” said CEO John Cochran, "While our commitment to quality and providing customers with the freshest, most flavorful greens possible will remain the same, we are excited to communicate our message with a new look.”

What to Do with Rebrands

One of the best parts about rebrands is that it gives companies the ability to reach out to customers in a more deliberate way. Whether you want to shape a new identity for your company or to help your customers place their brands in every one of their clients’ hands, Idea Custom Solutions can help. If you are a promotional products distributor that works with small and medium-sized businesses, make sure to talk to us about our Custom Creative services so that we can help you better serve your customers and, in turn, win new ones.


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