Why Do Companies Rebrand?

History and evolution of Apple logo rebrands

Nowadyas, we’re starting to several companies rebranding. Several companies from various industries have changed up their logo and advertising, 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 brands change their logo? Especially when the logo or design doesn’t seem to be bothering anyone before.

In this article, we’re going to try to understand why brands rebrand and how they do it, to better understand the purpose behind brand rebranding.

What Does Rebranding Mean?

Kia logo rebrand in comparison with the old one

Rebranding is when a company significantly changes its brand message or goals. This can be a major change such as changing their logo or packaging e.g. Burger King, McDonald’s or it could be something minor such as tweaking the brand slogan a bit. One such example is KIA changing its 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 its 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 gets 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 its existing products or services for future events (long-term benefits.)

Here are some reasons for proactive branding:

Future Growth

This is when the company might be shifting its products and/or services to other countries to attract a target a different segment of the market and have an “international appeal”.

To appeal to the masses, they may have to rebrand accordingly.

A New Line of Business

If a company is starting up a new line of products and/or services it may have to rebrand accordingly so that people are aware of the intentions of the brand.

There was once a time when 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.

Targeting a Different Audience

The company might want to shift its target audience from families to teenagers or from the elderly to kids. To ensure that the brand captures the attention of the audience a rebrand might be necessary. This doesn’t always mean you’d 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 commercial with Isaiah Mustafa sitting on horse holding a bottle of deodorant
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 used 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 book
Yellow Pages changed its name to “YTP” and shifted to digital

Reactive Rebranding

As the name suggests, reactive rebranding refers to a company “reacting” to a particular situation and issuing a rebrand. These are usually done under the following circumstances:

Legal Issues

It could be that a company’s newly revealed logo shows similarity to another existing brand which can cause a legal dispute. The company that suspects another business to be copying their brand image could 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 preliminary research conducted.

comparison of the similarity between the Starbucks and Starpreya logo
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.

Joint logo rebranding of ConocoPhillips
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 a bad reputation due to a past event and to make up for it they might issue a rebrand to counter all the bad publicity.

blackhawks logo
Quebec First Nations Chief offended by Blackhawks Logo


Rebranding is a 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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