Earlier this month Starbucks unveiled its new logo. The name Starbucks and the word “coffee” has been dropped from the logo in a bold move to enable the Starbucks brand the flexibility to extend its product range beyond coffee. “Even though we have been, and always will be, a coffee company and retailer, it’s possible we’ll have other products with our name on it and no coffee in it,” Chief Executive, Howard Schultz said when explaining the company’s decision.
Whilst a logo or brand name represents only one part of a company’s overall brand it is a powerful tool in building customer loyalty and brand recognition. It is often the first element which your potential customers notice and as they become more familiar with your company, your logo or brand name will provide them with an instant and powerful recognition of your business and the products/services that you offer.
Refreshing your logo, as Starbucks have done, or implementing a full re-brand (involving radical changes to your logo, brand name, image and marketing strategy) provides an opportunity to alter the way your company is perceived, allowing you to reposition your offering.
However, this is not an exercise to be undertaken lightly and must be carefully considered, planned and executed. A successful re-brand involves overhauling a company’s goals, message, and culture.
These three well-known “re-branding disasters” from the professional services sector illustrate how easy it is to get wrong:
When Anderson Consulting split from split with Arthur Anderson the firm rebranded as “Accenture”, supposedly inspired by the phrase “accent on the future”. The Time’s magazine named it as one of the worst name changes and reported that: “The change cost Andersen/Accenture an estimated $100 million to execute and was regarded as one of the worst re-brandings in corporate history.”
When PwC decided to spin off its consulting arm, previously known as “PwC Consulting,” it renamed the business “Monday”. The new name was intended to denote fresh thinking and new beginnings, rather than the unwelcome start of the working week after two days of freedom. The name change invoked a barrage of ridicule and when Monday was subsequently sold to IBM the name was instantly ditched.
In 2001 The Post Office Group, to reflect the fact it provided more than a mail-only service and to adopt a more commercial and international approach to its business, decided to re-brand as Consignia. The reaction from the media and the general public was far from favourable. As the Post Office’s corporate performance started to falter, the name was criticised further and just 16 months after the re-brand Consignia was dropped and the name reverted back to the Post Office.
Starbucks has not gone for a full re-brand, just opted for a less radical logo update.However, its unveiling has already provoked mixed reaction and even backlash from some of its loyal consumers. Only time will tell if this was a good brand decision or if the brand identity has been damaged and ultimately product sales decline. Starbucks will most certainly be hoping not to go down in history as one of the “re-brand disasters!
Have you got any re-branding disasters or success stories which you would like to share? Please post them below.