Expert Speak: The Do's & Don'ts of rebranding...

Sneha Medda
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Iconic brands such as Nokia and Castrol announced a complete rebranding, including a revamped logo. In the past brands such as Tropicana and Air India too rejigged their identity. However, not all of these changes were received well. We take a look at what makes the cut.

Many brands have recently chosen to give their brands a new look, sometimes to resonate better and sometimes to catch up with the changing consumer behaviour. 

Recently, Nokia had a makeover after donning their iconic look for six decades. Similarly, an Indian yesteryear beverage, Campa Cola made its way back to the shelves in an entirely new avatar. 

Social Samosa talks to experts to understand rebranding in this day and age - what is it that the brands are trying to achieve and how does it impact the end consumer?

The Nokia Chapter

Companies often anticipate that rebranding will boost their brand awareness, give them a new identity, and put them in a more competitive position in the market. 

Earlier this year, the iconic brand Nokia went ahead and changed their brand logo to a much more futuristic, sleeker and more digitally-savvy look. Nokia’s change garnered mixed reactions from the audience and industry folks too. 


Kiran Khadke, Creative lead & Co-Founder of  Hyper Connect Asia told Social Samosa, “I really like the new Nokia identity. It’s in sync with their shift in the Business Technology (B2B) space. The fonts, colours and the entire brand ecosystem help build a narrative around digital transformation.” 

On the other hand, Priyanka Mestry Soni, National Design Head, Kinnect feels they could have retained a few things from the original logo like the typeface style since it had a good recall visually. 

She further added, “It’s definitely cleaner but I am not a big fan of the new font and I am also finding a legibility challenge here, as the letter ‘N’ and ‘K’ cannot be read quite easily.”

Changing a legacy brand’s look comes with its own challenges. Typography, colour scheme and scalability play an important role when it comes to audience retention and consumers usually connect with the look and memory of a brand’s colours and font. 

“Ultimately, the goals of a rebranding exercise should align with the brand's overall business objectives. The brand's purpose and values should guide the rebranding process to ensure it resonates with its audience and creates a meaningful connection,” says Suraja Kishore, CEO- BBDO India

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Connecting Past & Future

Many times, while rebranding, brands retain some elements of their past self. In most circumstances, a brand can preserve a sense of continuity and familiarity with its current audience by keeping some aspects of the old identity while simultaneously showing them that the company is changing and staying current. 

A similar situation occurred when in 2012, Domino’s got rid of the word ‘Pizza’ from their logo, retaining their colours and shapes. This rebranding that broke the stagnant nature of the brand’s image also proved helpful in regaining consumers. Their revenue doubled since the rebranding, jumping to $2.7 billion in 2017 from $1.4 billion in 2009. 

Similarly, earlier this year, Castrol went through a rebranding process with the aim to broaden appeal with a more diverse customer base. Although the brand changed its avatar for a wider brand appeal, it maintained the brand’s iconic red, green and white colours that connect with their legacy. 

"Our refreshed brand identity reflects our commitment to investing in the future and creating new opportunities for growth and success," said Nicola Buck, CMO - Castrol in a statement released to the press. 


Sharing why it is important to retain traces of the past, Shashwat Das, Founder - Almond Branding says, “While brands should try to look more contemporary and dynamic, they should always build on the heritage of the previous identity." 

At the same time, a rebranding exercise also gives a brand the chance to stand out from its rivals, get rid of unnecessary baggage, and appeal to new audiences. In these circumstances, it might be more crucial to depart from the past and develop a novel, distinctive image that accurately reflects the brand's new course. 

“Revival or rejuvenation of a brand is a result of lagging behind the fast-changing customer expectations. When the updations get delayed over time, the brand faces irrelevance and there's a need for revival," shares Ashish Mishra, CEO - Interbrand, India & South Asia with Social Samosa.

A similar instance occurred when Hero invested a hefty INR 100 crore to shed its Honda tag and come out as a newer and edgier brand for their consumers. 

More recently, Campa Cola, the iconic Indian beverage brand resurfaced with an entirely new look with the aim to revive nostalgia within Gen X and Gen Y, along with creating chatter among the youth as well. 


All these revamps had business goals at their centre. 

Priyanka points out, “If your business model has completely changed then you obviously need to have an identity that does communicate the same and visually align with how the brand wants the customer to perceive it.”

The Do's & Don'ts

Changing aspects of a brand’s image or logo can be an extremely tricky road to walk on. Previously, brands like Tropicana and Air India missed the spot and failed to retain their footing with the audience post a makeover, leading the brand to undo their changes. 

For the unacquainted, in 2020, Tropicana initiated a rebranding initiative. The new packaging did away with the straw and added a glass of orange juice. The cap of the tetra pack was also given a look and feel of the fruit.

According to a report by The Branding Journal, Peter Arnell, director of the creative agency Arnell that led the rebranding, said, “We thought it would be important to take this brand and bring it or evolve it into a more current or modern state.”


However, post the rebranding, Tropicana's sales dropped by a whopping 20%, which is estimated to be a loss of 30 million dollars.

Kiran believes that a brand is more than just its logo and there are so many factors that are linked to the success of its evolution in the right direction. He suggests brands keep the following checkpoints in mind when rebranding in order to avoid any mishaps: 

  • Listen to your believers because ultimately a brand is an intangible feeling in your consumer’s mind. 
  • Avoid a jerk and handle the change delicately. Any change needs to be transitioned gradually.
  • The functionality of the logo is the key and never miss the category cues. 

Other experts we spoke to believe that when it comes to rebranding, the consumer experience is the most important aspect to consider. Apart from this, understanding the brand’s core reason for a change is a crucial step as well. 

The Logos of Tomorrow

With every aspect of the world turning to a digital and fast-paced life, logos of the future would likely reflect this look as well. With minimalism, ‘soft’ aesthetic, moving animation and other aspects doing rounds, experts view these as the next step for brand logos. 

Suraja Kishore thinks that with technological advancements, logos can be expected to become more immersive and responsive which will offer a more engaging brand experience for consumers. 

Brands like Netflix and Coca-Cola have used moving animation in their logos to better connect with their audience. Gen-Z and the coming generation connect with a more animated and responsive brand logo, and brands of today are attempting to serve this exact audience group. 


Talking about what he thinks logos of tomorrow would look like, Ashish Mishra says, “Logos will dissolve into experiences. To an extent that the recognition may shift from Visual and verbal assets to experiential and behavioural. Luxury and iconic brands are useful to look at as beacon brands for the industry.”

Rebranding is a way for a brand to adapt and evolve with the changing times and better serve their diverse audience base. Brand identities are becoming more flexible in order to be able to incorporate ideas, and trends and stay prevalent. To carry out a smoother transition, brands are attempting to have a gradual shift without their audience feeling the jerk. 

Experts advise doing a thorough examination of the brand's present circumstances, objectives, and target market to form the foundation of their future rebranding exercises. 

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