Is a Brand ever too big to, well, “Re-Brand”?

We’re seeing major manufacturers reinvent themselves all over the car business. Chrysler, for instance, has certainly done a major image change in recent years; new commercials, new look to their vehicles and even an evolution of their iconic logo.

Outside of the automotive world, major organizations are also looking to refresh. A rebrand is a definite gamble, but there seems to be huge rewards if done well. If a mark no longer truly symbolizes what an organization provides or stands for, the risk might just be worth it.

But, when is something too iconic to be worth changing? When does brand recognition overcome the importance of refreshing the organization’s look? You might remember the slight catastrophe Gap underwent in October 2010.

Social media went bananas when Gap introduced their new logo. The outrage was so widespread Gap killed the new logo 4 days later only to return to their original. Creative professionals have argued that the changes seemed unfounded, not well conceived and really not symbolic of what Gap stands for as a company. But it wasn’t just creative professionals who were the critics; anyone with a set of eyeballs and a social media account could weigh in. Was the new logo really THAT BAD? Was a tiny square gradient and three letters of Helvetica really making thousands of twitter accounts…well, fly off the handle? Forgive the bad pun.

So maybe the changes weren’t that great, and the outcome really didn’t symbolize Gap the way it should. But what if a company does do it right? What I’m defining right as is a generally appealing logo that seems to fit the company. Well, it doesn’t get much bigger than Microsoft, and last week they took the rebrand reveal leap.

The logo is simple and fresh and doesn’t seem too complicated. But when you take a look at the company’s previous logos and products this new look really lends itself to the existing brand.

The rebrand seemed to be done right, and there was still a considerable amount of negative chatter on social media. Inevitably there will always be some naysayers who simply don’t like change. Creative is fortunately AND unfortunately not an exact science, and personal preference will always come into play.

Does an organization ever get to a point where a rebrand just isn’t worth it? Even if Gap had done everything right, people are so attached to the existing brand no solution might have been good enough.

I never want to discourage pushing the envelope when it comes to designing the best possible brand. In many cases it’s exactly what an organization needs to refresh and get itself back on the map. A certain amount of criticism should be expected now that anyone can easily express their opinion to all their followers, friends and subscribers. However, what I do hope is that designers and marketers are encouraged to do a good introspective look when large corporations ask them to change up the most recognizable portion of their image.

Sources: Under Consideration, Brands of the world, AdAge




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