If you want to know how rebranding can be a sharp descent to utter failure, just ask Uber--or rather, the many who clobbered the transportation company’s rebranding efforts.
“The majority of Uber’s audience will see the new brand and have an emotional reaction to it,” says founder and creative director of Koto James Greenfield on Creative Review. “Stripping away my experience and looking to my gut, I saw the identity for a large technology company brought to life in a film or computer game set in the future. Why? I’m not exactly sure, but that’s my honest reaction and I feel this rebrand will, in the long term, have no positive effects for Uber, which for me is a crying shame and some seriously wasted potential.”
Adds Northwestern Universityprofessor Alexander Chernev: “The primary function of a logo is to identify the brand, differentiate it from the competition, and create meaningful associations in the minds of its customers. The new Uber icon falls short on all these criteria.”
In the Philippines, a major telecommunications company has similarly been widely panned. SMART, and its sister company PLDT, launched their new logos recently, much to the chagrin of graphic designers and netizens alike.
(The displeasure over the redesign was so intense, we at Freelancer.com couldn’t help but launch our own fun contest to crowdsource help for PLDT and SMART from designers around the world.)
Admittedly, rebranding your company can be a hit and miss, and a logo redesign can’t magic away public relations disasters. With these things in mind, we’ve created a few pointers to remind yourself on how to rebrand your business properly:
Know the Rules (So You Can Break Them)
As Picasso once said: “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist”.
Redesigning your logo (or hiring someone to do it for you)? Understand what makes great design by knowing good design elements by heart: lines, colors, shapes, and texture evoke various feelings and emotions when properly (or improperly) combined.
Sometimes, you need to go back to the basics first.
Understand Your Market (But Listen to Your Gut)
Michael Schulson, in an Aeon article, argues: “In the fraught and unpredictable world in which we live...total certainty and perfect reward – are delusional. That’s not to say that we shouldn’t try to increase knowledge and reward success. It’s just that, until we reach that utopia, we might want to come to terms with the reality of our situation, which is that our lives are dominated by uncertainty, biases, subjective judgments and the vagaries of chance.”
What’s the point in quoting him, you ask?
There is value in researching about your market, but note that the creative process gets diluted once you try to please everyone. Understand what your market wants by all means, but only to distill that into an emotion which you can apply into your strategy.
Look Back, then Look Ahead
Sometimes it could be very tempting to totally repackage yourself and start from scratch (we’re looking at you, Altria.) However, it’s very rare that a company needs to let go of its provenance just to keep up with the zeitgeist.
“It’s important that you take stock of where your company is positioned before implementing any rebranding. Companies that are rebranding need an intimate understanding of their heritage, and what aspects of the old image actually do work and are worth honoring. You also need an objective direction that your company is moving towards. Specific awareness of the company’s past and present throughout the rebranding process will help you find the delicate balance between continuing to satisfy the existing loyal customer base while helping new customers to view the company in a different light,” advises the people from naming & branding agency A Hundred Monkeys.
Draw Inspiration from Design Trends
Don’t go at it alone. Why not hire someone to help you with rebranding your company today?