Rebranding: A significant marketing tactic

Rebranding as the marketing strategy

Aditi Ohri, Director of Operations, and Strategy, Emporio Marketing shares rebranding case studies – one that worked and one that didn’t to help understand the marketing concept better.

A disconnect with the audience, a lack of clarity in brand ethos, an absence of a brand voice. Sound familiar? Then you might want to consider rebranding!

Marketing perhaps is one of the most necessary aspects for any brand that offers a product or service. But often, despite a significant budget, the marketing strategy applied just doesn’t convert leads. Sure, this could be because of a lack of proper planning or execution; but have you considered an underlying cause?

Also read: 5 digital marketing trends for festive season 2019

Sometimes, despite a sound marketing strategy, it is a brand’s overall image that is the cause of concern. Be it a disconnect with the brand’s product, or a lack of clarity when communicating with audiences (in terms of the brand itself or the product), failure can often be credited to plain and simple miscommunication. This is where rebranding comes in.

What Is Rebranding?

Rebranding is the process of changing the corporate image of an organization. It is a marketing strategy of giving a new name, symbol, or change in design for an already-established brand. The idea behind rebranding is to create a different, new and better identity for a brand, that may help the brand’s purpose or its products, be clearer. Or it may simply be to set the brand apart from the competition. Majorly, two types of rebranding exists:

  • Proactive rebranding is when a company recognizes that there is an opportunity to grow, innovate, tap into new businesses or customers, and to reconnect with its users, and makes changes to the brand image accordingly.
  • Reactive rebranding is done in a situation when the existing brand has been discontinued or changed. Possible reasons for such an action could be mergers & acquisitions, legal issues, or partnerships.

Does Rebranding Work?

Of course, it does! (Where a rebranding strategy is warranted). But it’s not just overhauling your image that matters. A successful rebranding strategy is also about how you market it (and yourself) following a rebranding effort. Naturally, a brand will already have considered their existing customers and target audience during the rebrand. But what is equally important is how the change is communicated once it is complete. Changing product offerings, logo or name are big shifts in the way a company is positioned. Failure to adequately communicate these changes could end up doing more damage than good.

A Rebranding Strategy that Worked (And one that Didn’t)

There are many reasons an organization or a municipality would rebrand – and many ways to tackle it. With the right processes and the right mindset, a rebrand can be the crux of a business’s needs to improve future marketing endeavors. Understanding the key pieces to a corporate rebrand is imperative to developing a successful message to your audience. To iterate this, given below as an example is a famous rebranding effort that was successful, and one that wasn’t.

Success Story: Old Spice

Thanks to a proactive design team and former NFL player Isaiah Mustafa, Old Spice suddenly became a new (Old) Spice. When the first rebrand commercial launched, the 70-year-old brand’s ad campaign generated tens of millions of online views and a new catch-phrase: “I’m on a horse.”

The company’s efforts worked when sales of Old Spice Body Wash rose 11 percent over 12 months in 2010, and sales continued to gain momentum, according to BrandWeek.

Mustafa returned in the first of three new commercials promoting Old Spice’s latest redesigned collection of sprays, body washes and deodorants as a “scent vacation” in exotic locales

Verdict: A clever ad plus a smart use of social media can produce a fresh identity, even for a brand that many associates with their grandfather’s deodorant.

Failure Feat: GAP

Back in October 2010, GAP rolled out one of the worst logo redesigns of modern times. The new logo stuck for 2 days before the criticism and consumer protests caused GAP to revert back to the old logo.

Design professionals at the time blamed the brand’s arrogance, impatience and lack of market research. Rest assured that the hammer on GAP’s rebranding fell hard.

The failure of GAP’s rebranding was a combination of the design’s distasteful execution, combined with a lack of understanding from the brand’s part. Using Helvetica font and the blue gradient square that seemingly filled no purpose (from a design perspective) and didn’t do the brand any good.

Verdict: It only goes to show that when modernizing your logo, one should keep the successful elements of the old design because consumers have already made strong connections with them. The successful element of the old logo was their serif font as it gave the company a unique personality.


Identifying why a company wants to rebrand is imperative to determine the type of rebrand that will best achieve its goals. Rebranding can redefine the entire brand identity or simply refresh it. But understanding what message the company would like to communicate is vital. Otherwise, an expensive and detailed effort could very well crash and burn, despite its positive motivations.

This piece is authored by Aditi Ohri, Director of Operations, and Strategy at Emporio Marketing Pvt.Ltd.