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 example, Aunt Jemima has been a much-loved brand for its range of breakfast food products in the US. While rebranding to “Pearl Milling Company” may seem less offensive than “Aunt Jemima”, the new name is long, hard to say or remember, and most certainly not evocative of pancakes – their most popular product.
This new name, (based on the original mill that created the flour for the pancake mix) ticks the box for meaningfulness. However, customers have yet to familiarise themselves with this ‘new brand’, receiving an overwhelming amount of negative votes at -72% (positive votes subtracting the % of negative votes).
One year on, customers still refer to the products as “Aunt Jemima”. To illustrate the difficulty in using this rebranded name, imagine saying this to your partner:
“Hey, can you grab a packet of Aunt Jemima pancake mix at the shops? Thanks!”
“Hey, can you grab a packet of Pearl Milling Company pancake mix at the shops? Thanks!”
You get the idea.
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.