Definition of rebranding
Our definition of rebranding: Rebranding is the process of updating, revising, or recreating an existing brand.
Definition of rebranding from other sources around the web
“The process of taking an existing brand and reworking the brand into something different and better than before” – The Write Cure
“When a brand owner revisits the brand with the purpose of updating or revising it, based on internal or external circumstances” – Brand Real
“A marketing strategy that involves changing an existing brand image or creating a new one” – Belov Digital Agency
“The process of changing the way an existing company or product is seen by the public” – Skidmore Studio
“The act of updating or revising a brand” – OVO
“The process of changing the corporate image of an organisation” – The Economic Times
“A marketing strategy in which a new name, term, symbol, design, concept or combination thereof is created for an established brand with the intention of developing a new, differentiated identity in the minds of consumers, investors, competitors, and other stakeholders” – Wikipedia
Famous (and infamous) examples of rebranding
- BP: In 2000, British Petroleum (BP) rebranded with a green logo and new tagline (or new name): “beyond petroleum.” After oil spills in 2006 and 2010, however, this rebrand was seen as disingenuous and came to epitomize “greenwashing.”
- Dunkin’: Wanting to be known for more than just sweet treats, Dunkin’ dropped “Donuts” from their name in 2018.
- Gap: The apparel retailer tried to change their logo in 2010, but the public’s strong negative reaction led them to revert to the previous logo just one week later.
- Old Spice: Without changing its name or logo, Old Spice rebranded as a brand with a quirky, funny brand voice—mostly through a series of ads featuring “the man your man could smell like.”
- Pepsi: This rebrand included a new logo, new packaging, and a widely mocked strategy document by Pepsi’s agency, Arnell.
- Starbucks: Long before Dunkin’ dropped “Donuts,” Starbucks dropped “Coffee”—along with a new, simplified logo—in 2011.
- Tropicana: The orange juice brand learned the hard way that consumers were attached to their packaging. Like Gap, they backtracked on the rebrand after a few weeks of public backlash.
Rebranding usually involves a name change, an updated visual identity (including the logo), a package redesign, or some combination of the three. However, as evidenced by Old Spice (see above), rebranding can also refer to changes in the brand’s meaning, personality, or positioning. Some rebrands are subtle, such as the removal of “Coffee” from the Starbucks name, while others are more dramatic, like BP’s. This distinction is sometimes described by branding professionals as “evolution” (subtle) versus “revolution” (dramatic).
Visit the branding glossary for definitions of other branding terms. This Definition page will be updated periodically with new content. Please share any suggested additions in the comments section.
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