Rebranding: The Good, Bad and Ugly

Companies rebrand themselves for a number of different reasons.  Sometimes the new look demonstrates how old and stale the old brand was, but everyone was used to it so no one noticed.  Another reason might be to create a retail spike in sales.  There's a right way and a wrong way to rebrand.  Sometimes it's a dramatic change, and other times it's a subtle change like what UPS did a few years back. I thought it would good to compare some recent rebranding efforts to see the difference.

The Good - Discovery Channel


When you look at the older Discovery Channel brand it now appears to be dated.  Technically there's not really anything old looking about it, but it's just been around for over a decade.  The font is fine but the 3-D globe hovering over it could be seen as and older looking treatment.

The new Discovery brand appears more modern.  The drama between the larger 'Discovery' and the smaller 'channel' creates a nice visual interest.  And the globe has been integrated in a way that makes the 'D' look like it's coming out of the earth.  Visually it tells me the Discovery brand encompasses the entire earth, which is true.  My one criticism about the font is although it's a beautiful font, it looks like it reads, "Disoovery".

The Bad - Pepsi


I don't know what motivated Pepsi to rebrand.  Maybe it's to capture the momentum and recognition from Obama's branding during the election.  Maybe sales were lagging.  What I do know is that their competitor, Coca-Cola has one of the strongest and most timeless brands in the world.

The new look is one that is still confusing to me.  I still recognize the brand from the combination of colors, but I still can't figure out what the new circular shape is supposed to represent.  And what's with the blurry type on the Sierra Mist can?  Pepsi had just rebranded themselves about ten years ago, which, for a company that's been around as long as Pepsi, that's pretty recent.  I see it as unnecessary and disorienting.  It appears to be a brand disconnect.

The Ugly - Walmart


Talk about the mother of all terrible redesigns!  What is the new logo supposed to be?  My first impression was it looked like the icon you see on the iPhone when it's processing data.  Or maybe a power button on a cheaply made electronic device you get a flea market.  The font has a friendly look taking away some of the sharp edges of the old logo.

Walmart is an enormous company with huge brand equity.  To me it seems to have lessened the brand strength.  If the goal was to create a new Walmart look after years of bad press about working conditions, I get it.  The new brand does appear friendlier, but it also appears more vanilla.  Now that it's been around a while, the new branding hasn't grown on me, but I'm not a Walmart customer either so my opinion might be worth nothing.

If a company (or any entity) is going to rebrand, do it for the right reason and do it the right way.  Your logo is an outward sign of an inward belief.