Ghastly Gaffes to Avoid When Rebranding (or Co-Branding)
October 31.2013
Archived under: Marketing,  Design 

Much like the most ghoulish zombie, brands can have an afterlife. Take Old Spice, for example. Prior to 2009, you may have bought the after-shave for your 80-year-old grandfather, but for your brother or boyfriend? It wouldn't even have been a consideration.

Old Spice was a well-known brand, but its customer base was aging, and it needed new life – fast. With a clever ad campaign and smart use of social media, Old Spice is enjoying a very profitable afterlife. But rebranding isn't any easy task. There are many brands that have tried and failed. Let's learn from them and avoid these 5 ghastly gaffes.

1. Assuming Your Brand Will Turn into a Pumpkin

Never, ever change just for the sake of changing. If Cinderella wasn't 100% sure that her coach would turn into a pumpkin at midnight, she may have danced the night away with her prince-to-be and avoided a bunch of drama. But Cinderella knew better. She knew that if she didn't take action, she'd lose everything.

 Many brands end up in this exact situation. Some KNOW they're dealing with an outdated logo, design or concept. They KNOW that if they don't act fast, they're likely to lose their audience. But if your brand is going strong without any changes at all, it's probably not a good idea to rock the boat. Gap execs learned this the hard way by taking it upon themselves to change their logo without so much as a focus group. What did they find out? Well, when all was said and done, their new logo was the pumpkin, and the old one remained a coach. Customers were outraged that the brand turned its back on the iconic symbol they knew and loved. And they weren't shy about voicing it, either.

2. Modeling a Campaign After The Hurt Locker

In 2007, Turner Broadcasting tried something truly out of the box. And yes, it was a year before The Hurt Locker, but you'll see where we're going with this in a moment. The broadcasting company launched a guerilla marketing campaign to promote a new cartoon, and instead of all of the buzz and glory they expected, they were met with $2 million in fines. The public didn't get their “innovative” campaign. In fact, post people suspected the LED signs were actual bombs.

The point is this: Whether rebranding, co-branding or just trying to grab your audience's attention, consider all angles. Could your efforts be considered a literal bomb? How about a figurative one?

3. Becoming Two-Faced

Batman's rival Two Face was a maniacally evil paradox; a great character. A split personality doesn't work quite as well with rebranding, though. Just ask Quickster.

Who, you ask? Exactly.

In 2011, Netflix attempted to split its brand in two. Quickster was to be the digital marketing arm of the business, and Netflix would remain as a mail-order rental service. But Quickster didn't do anything but confuse the audience. And it was a very short lived brand extension.