Leaders of Change: Lessons from 2018’s Best Rebrands

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Published on September 21, 2018, at 3:20 p.m.
by Anna Claire Toxey.

It’s no secret that changing a brand can oftentimes be controversial. While some view it as an opportunity for renewal and growth, others see it as a company losing touch with its long-held identity.

From large-scale rebrands to smaller visual identity transformations, 2018 has seen many companies embarking on a journey of change and has shown us that in order to lead in the world of rebranding you must consider the following criteria:

via rawpixel on Unsplash

Know your target audience.
It is imperative for a company to understand its target audience and keep it at the focus of rebranding efforts. After all, if the rebrand isn’t aimed at pleasing existing customers, then is it really even worth the time and effort? Although the rebranding process provides a chance for a company to diversify its target audience and reach new people, it is important to remember that loyal customers should be heard and accommodated through the changes.

Uber, a popular ride-sharing service, has long received backlash for its infamous U-shaped logo that was deemed inappropriate by many. In recent weeks, the company made it clear that its audience’s concern was at the forefront of its reasoning for a logo redesign.

As a result, the company devised its own typeface and a new wordmark logo in hopes that it would not only strengthen its visual identity, but would also resolve consumer dissatisfaction. By doing so, Uber ensured that customers knew their voices were heard and that they were welcomed as proponents of change within the company.

Stay true to yourself.
Just as people are known for the morals and values they hold, a company is also characterized by the core values it promotes. It is essential that a company stays true to its purpose and maintains elements of its old identity throughout the changes that take place.

Earlier this year, Subway launched its “Make It What You Want” campaign with the intention of reminding the world of its commitment to providing a personalized experience to every customer. Since this was the first large rebrand the company implemented in more than two decades, it focused on returning to the basics and promoting itself as the healthy and budget-friendly fast food chain Americans have always loved.

The simple, yet strategic campaign approach reminded companies that sometimes a successful rebrand is as easy as remembering where you came from.

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via Štefan Štefančík on Unsplash

It’s all or nothing.
A rebrand should always be two things: strategic and comprehensive.

Implementing change without a purpose is worthless for companies and usually leads to failure. However, when change is propelled by clearly defined goals and carried out by all departments of an organization, a high level of success usually follows.

Ogilvy, a worldwide integrated communications firm, demonstrated exactly what a well-executed, comprehensive rebrand looks like with the reveal of its global rebrand this summer. The company rolled out a fresh, new visual identity and executed a complete restructuring. By bringing all of its business sub-units under the one “Ogilvy” name, the company not only enhanced what it is able to offer clients, but it also created a more favorable working environment for employees.

Although this process was a large undertaking, Ogilvy’s success with a comprehensive internal and external rebrand proved that, when implementing substantial changes, a company needs to have an ‘all or nothing’ mentality. Going halfway with your efforts won’t get you anywhere in rebranding.

While every company is unique, there will always be certain aspects that remain important in every rebrand. The decision to rebrand a company is a high-stakes risk, but learning lessons from the leaders who have gone before you can roll the dice in a company’s favor.

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