3 Company Rebranding Examples You Need To Study

Customers evolve, competition grows, and industries change. It’s easy to find yourself holding onto an antiquated brand that doesn’t stand for what you want or resonate with buyers. If that’s you, make a change. A successful company rebrand can ignite growth and carve out a better future for your company. 

Your brand is not your logo. Your brand is how you’re perceived by customers and potential customers. Branding is the art of shaping that perception. I bring this up because rebranding doesn’t always mean changing your logo. Old Spice, which we dive into below, is a perfect example of a complete rebrand that didn’t involve a logo change. What rebranding does always involve is a fresh approach to shaping the perception you want as a business. 

Let’s look at three examples of rebrands that illustrate these points. These three brands took the leap and completely changed their brand positioning to rise back to the top of their market. You can use these three examples to evaluate your company’s position and see if a rebrand will help you correct course and find growth. 

Old Spice Rebrand

Old Spice dominated men’s deodorant for decades. Then Axe came along and started kicking their ass with an edgie brand and ads targeted at young guys. Old Spice could have kept trucking along with the same old brand positioning while their brand slowly died, but they didn’t. Proctor & Gamble got aggressive and repositioned the Old Spice brand. 

The interesting part of the Old Spice rebrand is that they didn’t change their logo. Instead, they changed their brand positioning, packaging, advertising, website, and everything around the logo. This was a brilliant move that allowed Old Spice to take on an entirely new personality that appealed to younger guys while maintaining a connection to their history and legacy. 

Landor, Wieden & Kennedy, and Citizen Relations all contributed to the rebirth of the Old Spice brand. The results speak for themselves. As Landor’s case study on the project proclaims, Old Spice’s business has grown by double digits every year since the new positioning went to market. 

Wendy’s Kids’ Meal Rebrand 

Wendy's Kids' Meal Rebrand

You probably remember being a kid and going to McDonald’s, Burger King, or Wendy’s to get a kids’ meal. All three lived off of movie and television show licenses. The bag/box, toy, and all of the marketing revolved around whatever license they paid to use because it would win kids over and convince them to come to their restaurant. 

This model works great for McDonald’s and their Happy Meals because they can afford to bid more and win the top-tier licenses. Burger King historically came in right behind McDonald’s sweeping up any remaining desirable licenses. This left Wendy’s pitching Shrek from 7 years ago while McDonald’s was showcasing something timely and hot like Baby Yoda. 

The other problem was that the Wendy’s Kids’ Meal lacked any type of identity because of this licensing strategy. Their logo was hidden on their own bag and the entire program didn’t stand for anything. Parents and kids didn’t have a compelling reason to choose Wendy’s. 

We looked at this (yes, I led the rebrand for Wendy’s Kids’ Meal so I can speak directly to the strategy) and saw an opportunity to go in a fresh direction. I pitched the idea of cutting ties with movie and show licensing and doubling down on building a meaningful Wendy’s Kids’ Meal brand. We did indeed cut licensing, designed a fresh new logo and packaging, and worked with Strottman (the company that creates the toy program) to reshape the entire Wendy’s Kids’ Meal experience around creativity and play.  

Even though my original content ideas for the Whippersackers (a ravenous band of cute aliens constantly getting in trouble) and Little Red (an interpretation of a teen Wendy and her friends) got cut, the program has been a huge success. Dropping licensing was a radical idea at the time, but it has paid off in lowered costs and increased awareness and recognition of the Wendy’s Kids’ Meal program. 

Domino’s Rebrand 

Patrick Doyle took over as CEO for Domino’s in 2010. After explosive growth in the ’80s and ’90s, the company was struggling to stay relevant. The share price was down to $8.76 per share and their pizza had become a late-night joke. The breaking point came during focus groups where customers slapped them across the face with comments like, 

“Totally void of flavor.”

“The crust tastes like cardboard.”

“Worst pizza I ever had.”

“The sauce tastes like ketchup.”

That’s brutal. It’s hard to repeatedly hear those kinds of remarks from customers. As Mr. Doyle states in the video above, Domino’s had to make a choice. They could get sad and hide from the feedback, or they could face it head-on and make measurable changes. 

Domino’s chose the latter. We often think of rebranding examples where a company changed its logo, website, packaging, and marketing. I love this example because Domino’s came right out and took ownership of their poor product. In fact, they rebuilt the product from scratch and then followed up with a visual identity refresh, packaging updates, website overhaul, technology changes, and obviously a fresh new marketing approach. 

Domino’s share price (as of this writing) is sitting at $376.49 which is a dramatic leap from the $8.76 I mentioned prior to their rebrand. If you had any doubt about the power of a rebrand before reading that fact, this should pretty much kill those doubts. And even if you get nothing else out of this article, remember that everything starts with your product. 

Change or Fold 

Old Spice adapted to a challenger competitor to reclaim their spot at the top. Wendy’s made the hard decision to cut big name movie and cartoon licensing for their Kids’ Meal program when everyone else was doubling down on expensive licenses. Domino’s listened to brutal criticism from customers and reinvented their product. Let these three companies be an example. You can sit around and hope things magically get better, or you can take action and force your situation to improve. 

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