Only Time Will Tell

VerbFactory is currently working on several branding and re-branding projects, so we’ve been doing a lot of research on how new corporate names and logos play out in the court of public opinion. A few recent examples stick out for us and provide a bit of a roadmap on how these sorts of things go down in the real world.

Most folks don’t love rebranding for the simple reason that change can be a bit disorienting, but over time people (usually) come to accept new brands. The trick is getting past the transition period so that consumers can get used to a new identity.

Exhibit A is Comcast, which in 2010 rebadged many of its services under the Xfinity name. Their reward: less than a month later TIME magazine called the move one of the “10 worst corporate name changes” of all time. Quite a few of the company’s marketing folks probably lost sleep over the slam, but they stuck to their guns and two years later no one thinks twice about the Xfinity name. That’s because Comcast Xfinity believed in its choice and backed it up long enough for the change to take root.

Read more about Comcast —> Xfinity

Not all companies do that. Gap is a prime example of what happens when a company loses its nerve after initial negative feedback. In 2010 the company rolled out an updated version of its logo and got slammed in the blogosphere and on social media sites – and within a week scrapped the re-branding. A WEEK!!! People may have parodied the new logo (which in VerbFactory’s opinion was actually an improvement), but we’re willing to bet that within a month the noise would have died down, and within six months everyone would have been used to the new badge. In the process, Gap ended up wasting a lot of money, time and effort with nothing to show for it.

Read more about Gap’s re-branding issues

Creating a new identity should never be taken lightly, but in many cases it’s a necessary part of extending a brand (you probably wouldn’t visit the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company to buy cat food, but you’d go to A&P without thinking twice). If you do decide to make a change, you need to give it enough time to resonate with your existing customers and build awareness among potential new ones. Pulling the plug early is not only shortsighted, but can also harm your brand.


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