Companies that rebranded… and what they look like now


Blog Article

Although we know we are incredibly innovative and leaders here at Honcho… we’ll take our hat off and admit that we’re not the first digital marketing agency to rebrand and refresh, and certainly not the first brand in the UK to get a new look. As digital ever evolves and so does design, it’s only natural for brands to push themselves to be better, adapt to their audience and change their direction.

Some have gone horribly wrong. Some have been the best unexpected digital PR stunts. But we’re not here to poke fun… let’s take a look at some of the most memorable and well done rebrands in marketing history that are a result of excellent brand management.

John Lewis and Waitrose Partnership

Arguably one of the biggest rebrands of 2018, John Lewis and Waitrose’s latest rebrand saw the addition of “& Partners” by its parent company. The idea was to create consistency and more prominent connection between Waitrose, John Lewis and the John Lewis Partnership, and highlight the company’s employee-owned shareholder structure with the new “& Partners”.

Blue Ribbon Sports to Nike

Nike didn’t always produce trainers. When it started out as Blue Ribbon Sports in 1964, it was a distributor. When it later started making its own shoes, it refreshed its brand name to reflect this new direction, and opted for “Nike”; which is the Greek goddess of victory. An apt name now that it is a retail leader!

Mastercard’s new logo

Not a complete rebrand, but a big step for the company as it revealed a new identity at the start of this year, which saw it drop its name from its logo, leaving only its iconic red and yellow circles overlapping. It’s a bold move for any brand to lose a name from the logo, as you’re relying on your audience to completely recognise you. Kudos to Mastercard for pulling it off.

Mastercard Logo Change | Outreach and Digital PR | Honcho

Jif to Cif

Apparently changed for the confusion and European struggle in pronunciation, this household cleaning brand spent £2m to change the one letter back in 2000. Many British households still confuse it… most still opt for calling it “the Jif/Cif stuff”!

GAP’s logo change… and back

The fashion retailer has been iconic since 1969. Naturally over time, the company wanted to evolve and change its look. In October 2010 it did exactly that, opting for a new logo. Unfortunately its audience wasn’t quite ready or keen on the change, but rather than call this a rebrand fail, what we need to recognise here is how GAP placed importance on its customers and responded, by changing the logo back just three days later. Despite the investment and costs involved, GAP recognised that it was better to listen to its audience’s needs.

Gap Logo Switch | Outreach and Digital PR | Honcho

Backrub to Google

Did you know Google wasn’t always called Google? Don’t worry, most don’t! First called Backrub, the search engine’s original name was intended to reflect the way it analysed backlinks to understand a website’s importance or relevance. It lasted less than a year before becoming Google as we know it now.

Backrub to Google | Outreach and Digital PR | Honcho

Amazon; the biggest online retailer

In 1994 when the internet sales company was founded, Jeff Bezos chose Relentless.com, but needed to rebrand and change the name to further reflect the company’s direction and mission following his friends’ advice. Amazon was chosen to convey its size – being the largest river in the world – and because A helped when websites used to be listed alphabetically. A very suitable name considering it now monopolises the online retail space.

Citroën’s split with DS

In 2014, this French car manufacturer announced that its DS brand is to be separate from its parent company and take two separate routes. DS-badged cars were to major on style, sophistication and luxurious interiors, as opposed to its sister brand Citroën, which offered affordable, practical models. DS has gone from strength to strength since to establish itself with a unique identity.

A word of advice: no rebrand is ever easy. The best ones are those that have been a natural evolution of a logo or company name, and the even better ones are those that carry meaning and fully represent the brand. Rebrands that consumers “get” are the ones that are effective in communicating the brand’s mission; which is why it is so important to understand your customers and get your tone of voice just right.

What are the best or most memorable rebrands you’ve seen? Share your thoughts with us on Twitter.

Other news…

Read more about Honcho’s rebrand from iThinkMedia here.

Find out how you should kit out your office during a rebrand here.

How important is employee culture in forming a brand identity? Find out here.