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Why Do Companies Rebrand?

In 2021 we saw a number of rebrands so far, from fast food companies such as Burger King to more Social corporations such as Pfizer. You might also notice how the newer designs look more modern due to the rising flat design trend.

So, why do they do it? Especially when the logo or design doesn’t seem to be bothering anyone before.

What is Rebranding?

Basically, rebranding is when a company significantly changes it’s brand message or goals. This can be a major change such as changing their logo or packaging e.g. Burger King, McDonalds or it could be something minor such as tweaking the brand slogan a bit e.g. KIA changing it’s brand slogan, “Power to Surprise” to “Movement that Inspires.”

Rebranding is a high risk high reward kind of thing because if the rebranding is successful it can help the business achieve it’s newly set aims and objectives but if some employees or customers don’t come to terms with the new rebrand that can cause a big problem.

Rebranding is expensive so the last thing businesses want is for their new rebrand to not appeal to their newly established audience.

Why do Companies Rebrand?

Rebranding can be done on two scales either only the product/service they’re promoting get’s rebranded or the whole company, which is known as a corporate rebrand.

The reasons for which businesses rebrand can be divided into 2 parts, Proactive & Reactive.

Proactive Rebranding

Proactive rebranding is when a company may rebrand it’s existing products or services for future events (long-term benefits.)

The reasons for proactive rebranding is;

  • Future Growth. This is when the company might be shifting it’s products and/or services to other countries (International Growth) and in order to have an “international appeal” they might rebrand accordingly to their audiences.
  • New line of business. If a company is starting up a new line of products and/or services they may have to rebrand accordingly so that people are aware of the intentions of the brand. There was once a time where Apple was known as Apple Computers but in 2007, Steve Jobs, at Macworld Expo, stated “We have the Mac, iPod, Apple TV and iPhone. Only one of them is a computer, so we’re changing the name.” And thus, “Computers” was dropped from the name.
The 2007 Apple logo
  • Targeting a different audience. The company might want to shift it’s target audience from families to teenagers or the elderly from kids. To ensure that the brand captures the attention of the audience a rebrand might be necessary. This doesn’t mean that you might have to change the appeal of the brand. Old Spice, the famous men’s deodorant brand, was actually designed for women. In order to change their target audience to men they worked with NFL player Isaiah Mustafa, known as the Old Spice Guy, who was a fun, masculine and attractive guy to show that the deodorant is especially aimed at men.
The Old Spice Guy
  • Changes in Trends or Relevancy. A brand might rebrand to stay relevant in modern times. This is especially true for brands that use to operate on traditional mediums but due to the rise in digital technology have shifted online. To make this change a rebrand is necessary.
Yellow pages changed it’s name to “YTP” and shifted to digital

Reactive Rebranding

As the name suggests reactive rebranding is when a company “reacts” to a situation and issues a rebrand. These are usually done under the following circumstances:

  • Legal Issues. It could be that the new rebrand might show similarity to another existing brand which might file a lawsuit against the company due to copyright and trademark policies. This is why rebranding is often an exhausting process with a vast amount of research conducted.
The Starbucks and Starpreya Logo are very similar to each other (Source: business insider)
  • Merger or Takeover. When a brand merges or takes over another brand it may require a rebrand to spread awareness of their new form. This is also true for existing mergers that break apart into individual companies.
ConocoPhillips was created when Conoco and Philips joined hands
  • Negative publicity. Sometimes a brand might be represented by an offensive symbol or maybe the company might gain bad reputation due to a past event and in order to make up for it they might issue a rebrand to counter all the bad publicity.
Quebec First Nations Chief offended by Blackhawks Logo


Rebranding is an important and extremely vital move for companies as not having a successful rebrand can be expensive. Companies rebrand either for a future purpose or by reacting to a situation or event.

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