Is rebranding a new trend?
As we move on from the pandemic, we see a surge of brands choosing to actively rebrand as they feel the need to update and secure their positioning in the recovering market. Is this becoming a trend for businesses to get ahead?
While rebranding is an opportunity to accelerate growth and energise your business, it must be done correctly and requires thoughtful research, especially when it comes to brand name considerations.
Your new brand name needs to be memorable and meaningful; it should serve as the beginning of a new chapter in your corporate story.
We have seen brands losing their way and caving into pressure, rebranding to shed racist stereotypes. While this is well-intentioned, it could also backfire for the brand.
For example, the makers of Coon cheese bowed to public pressure and renamed their 85-year-old long standing brand, in response to growing criticism that the name had racist connotations. The name “Coon” came from the original cheese pioneer Edward William Coon, who patented his cheese-making method known as ‘cooning’ in 1926.
While rebranding to “Cheer” may seem less offensive, there was an outpouring of criticism on social media after the new name was announced, commenting there was no issue with the name to begin with, being named after its founder.
- “Absolutely bulls..t. I won’t ever call it that.”
- “I’m an Aussie and our Coon cheese is getting a name change to cheer cheese – another Aussie icon name gone.”
- “How ridiculous. It may well be a racist slur, but was the gentleman’s surname. Cheer cheese? I mean, really?”
- One person described it as “cancel culture at its best”
Anthony Albanese said while the name did not “eulogise a racist term”, the company had made the decision in its own interests. Popular breakfast show hosts from Sunrise commented they weren’t sold on the name Cheer – mainly because of its confusing pronunciation.
One year on, many customers still refer to the product as “Coon Cheese”, with one online poll resulting in 80% of users voting “No” to the name change. Time will tell whether it was a worthwhile change, however, this illustrates the importance of careful consideration when renaming iconic brands.
Now you might be thinking, that a simplified name should do the trick. There is certainly a trend of shortening everything today with our overstimulated world of digital information overload and a shorter attention span. Even rapper Kayne West has simplified his name to “Ye”. Think about the way the younger generation message each other, with the use of emojis and acronyms.
Unless you’re a brand giant such as IBM, UPS or HP, rebranding your name into an acronym can be risky. Let’s look at “WW” as an example.
Weight Watchers have been known as, well, Weight Watchers indeed. So, when they decided to rebrand the name to “WW” (US / UK), it left customers rather confused.
While “Wellness that Works” can still stand for WW and is a well-meaning step towards an image focusing on health rather than the more sensitive word – ‘weight’, it is no surprise that customers continue to refer to the original Weight Watchers, which was working fine.
Many customers have commented on the obvious problem. Similar to the Aunt Jemima mishap, the name is difficult to say and pronounce:
- Terrible name. Weight watchers is easier on the tongue than saying “WW”
- I get the overall objective —- but saying “doubleU doubleU” or “double doubleU” instead of saying “weight watchers” is going to make people frustrated and lose weight by running to Jenny Craig
- Okay, let’s be honest here. That new #WeightWatchers rebrand is ridiculous. They don’t actually expect people to call it #WW do they? Or did they just think nobody would say the name of the company out loud? “DOUBLE YOU DOUBLE YOU” 🤦♂️ #RebrandFail
Rebrand and Reconnect
As you can see, rebranding is no simple feat. Businesses have spent thousands and even millions on a rebrand to only see it backfire, as consumers become more fickle in a post-pandemic market. Never estimate the emotional bond your customers already have with your brand name and logo, and tread on the path of rebranding carefully. The key is to reconnect with your customers so that they will embrace the new you.
Need a hand with rebranding? Here at Brand for Brands, we work with brands to present a vision that your audience can identify with. We help you create a brand that sells itself.
Get in touch today.