Why re-brand?

I understand that re-branding is important if your company has some bad stigma associated with it. If you manufactured a product that kills people, like Altria that was a re-brand which was good for business.

However, if your company has never done anything to demand public outrage why re-brand? There really is no point especially if your logo is a classic piece of Americana like Dairy Queen or Pepsi. Was it really necessary for DQ to italicise their logo and add two coloured vector shapes to the top and bottom?

And I don’t think anybody knows what’s going on with this:

Who said: “well we have an internationally recognised logo, let’s change it so people won’t recognise it and it will look like a cheap knock-off.”

“Yes sir we’ll get our best designers on that”.

Perhaps I’m being too harsh maybe there was something seriously wrong with DQ and Pepsi’s logos, maybe they did something demands a re-brand which I am not aware of. If you know please let me know and I will blog a retraction.

For more specifically 2008 re-brands (the DQ logo was 2005) check out Brand New.

2017 Update: I did eventually find out what the Pepsi logo means, the white band is thinner or thicker depending on if it’s diet soda or not.
Several years after I posted this I found this gem which sums up my feelings of the Pepsi logo:

Unfortunately, that’s how I see it.

( I can’t source this image, other then “Lyang” if you know who created it please let me know.)

A further caveat: the longer I design logos the more I bite my tongue when I see logos that repulse me, usually there was a good reason and it’s very difficult for anyone, even the best of the best in the upper echelons of popular design, to take a beloved logo and change it for any reason at all. It’s not an easy job because logos carry a lot more than a brand, they carry our collective experience with the brand. When I think of Tesla, for example, I think of technology, innovation, sustainability, but inevitability I think of that iconic “T” logo, if they ever changed it would drastically effect (at least temporarily) my perception of the brand.  So rebranding is always difficult and dicy,  that said, 12 and 9 years on respectively, I still like the old Dairy Queen and Pepsi logos better.  Perhaps someday, in the near future, I’ll write a more in-depth article on this with years of perspective now behind me.

5 Comments

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  • finally got around to writing this eh? i was kinda expecting it after you spent an entire period searching it and complaining about it haha.

  • ahahahah!
    that first statement about altria actually made me laugh a lot.
    “that was a rebrand that was good for business.”

    i find pepsi’s new logo to be stupid, and ugly.

    good thoughts.

    i can just see people in china going “dangit, they sent us the knock off pepsi instead!”
    (phonetic pronunciations: “danit dey sen us da knowkowf pepsi en-steh!”)

  • Why rebrand? Rebranding probably has the opposite effect of what you’re thinking. There are three reasons that I can think of (off the top of my head) to change you’re logo.
    1. Because of lagging sales you need a quick way to “freshen up” your product. Changing the logo into something that’s still recognizable to the old consumer base, but still attracts new consumers is a cost effective way of stepping up your game (as long as it doesn’t disenchant your base).
    2. You want to keep up with and entice the next generation of 18-24 year olds, the demographic that buys the most. You need to keep it hip.
    3. A new logo is something that you can center an ad campaign on.

  • Thanks for the comment Justin. I understand what your saying, and admittedly I did not represent this side of the argument. I understand why say, Apple might rebrand (the change from the multicolored fruit to the sleek one color), Apple is slick and needs to keep with the times, get the youth into it as you said and it was part of a huge overhaul that worked.
    Everybody drinks Pepsi (most everybody), if people like it they buy it, it’s pretty cheep. Pepsi is an ‘American icon’ (sad I know) it’s been with us a long time, and that logo has been with us for almost as long. So they took that history and did a little ‘pen’ tool vector drag and messed with it. Now it looks ugly and stupid. It makes me think “hey this is some hip new energy drink that will be gone in six months” not hey this is the drink that FDR drank during the war, this is the drink Marilyn Monroe drank filming ‘The Seven Year Itch’.
    I think even the ‘hip’ youth crowd will go for something they recognize and like over something that is new and weird.
    Maybe I’m wrong.