- A rebrand is not as simple as it seems and sometimes a complete pivot from the plan is necessary.
- Kellogg globally announced a division into three companies, only to change their minds nine months later.
- Barco created a new company with a new business model, so they called us to establish a branding hierarchy, name, and more.
- Change is inevitable, so adjust your plans or get left behind.
You had that brainstorm session…plus a dozen. You finally got everyone on the same page with the same hue of blue and the clever tagline after months (or years) of debate. Everyone had their tasks, committed to the deliverable drop dates, and seemed eager to get to work – but then something changed. It could have been caused by the quarter’s performance, an unexpected merger, a cultural shift, or you’ve discovered new and relevant consumer insight and now you and the team are headed back to the drawing board. Morale is in the dumps and no one wants to restart the extensive process, but the work has got to be done.
Take a look at Kellogg. They have been in the game since 1907. Since that time, the Titanic was built and sunk, two world wars occurred, men were sent to the moon, we found out who shot J.R., and Justin Timberlake brought sexy back. Even though it was past time for a rebranding strategy, Kellogg was met with some resistance when they announced in 2022 they were splitting into three individual companies to reestablish value in the marketplace and create clear avenues of revenue optimization for each product line – cereal, snacks, and plant-based foods. After further research, they pivoted this decision only nine months later, deciding to shift from three to two, putting aside the plant-based company as demand for the product line is not as promising as it originally seemed.
Leading this type of global change comes with its own obstacles. Resilience and communication with your team and consumers are key elements to a successful rebranding. Due to your thoroughness, you spent a significant amount of time on your strategy ensuring that it is ready to share with the world. Despite this, you know there are consumers who are resistant to change or who do not want to understand its reasoning. These consumers are comfortable with the name and design they have trusted throughout their lives, but you know what is best for the company’s future and develop plans to help ease these consumers into the update. There are also times, like with Kellogg, where you finalized and executed the plan, only to have to shift direction only moments or months later due to unforeseen circumstances. In these moments, stay true to your purpose.
Even though Kellogg is a special case given their long-standing presence, the shift to rebrand or even to develop a brand in the first place is a similar experience no matter the size or tenure of the company. As our Co-CEO and Chief Creative Officer Paris Buchanan pointed out, “Many of our clients go into this thinking it is simple and a slam dunk, but it is not. There are many things that you realize during the process that make it necessary to pivot mid-stream.”
For a company looking to expand their product line and create a clear delineation between audiences, Barco Cinema Group is an excellent case study. They needed to figure out how to brand their new venture with China Giant Screen and Appotronics and knew exactly how to proceed. There is a reason we define ourselves as a brand innovation and design studio and not an ad agency. Barco understood this, got on the phone, and called us into action.
Barco has been a technology juggernaut for almost a century, but they knew this new brand needed to stand by itself. They envisioned this company as a thought leader in the solutions-focused space that would shift its marketing strategy toward moviegoers as a B2B2C company. This was a huge transition for the existing team since Barco was committed to the B2B market by selling products for cinema exhibitors.
Evaluating their needs, it became evident to us that this branding switch required a name that set them apart from their legacy work. This new company wanted to develop projectors and audio solutions to influence the theater auditorium experience, so we found significance in the term “iconic” and paired it with “cinema,” thus creating their name – Cinionic.
Due to their trust in us and our work, Cinionic reached out two years after our initial engagement to modify their existing brand guidelines. With an increase in product development and solutions, their marketing strategy had derailed in our absence. To help prevent another regression repeat, we worked with them to simplify their brand hierarchy. A&P even developed a brand framework and decision chart to keep analysis paralysis at bay and give Ciniconic the power to make marketing decisions quickly and efficiently in the future as they continue to expand their offerings.
When you are faced with an opportunity to transform or expand your company, consider these tips when getting started.
- Conduct playground sessions.
- Brainstorm sessions are great with the team, but invite your consumers to the conversation. It is always helpful to learn how others perceive your vision and whether their perception aligns to the targets you are aiming toward. Use this data to structure your ideas and plans during the rebrand, and even consider revisiting with your consumers along the way to double check that the messaging is clear and as intended.
- Pull in legacy elements to ease resistance.
- When we worked with Cinionic, we chose to incorporate the logos of all three companies in the larger Cinionic logo. This was to expand the confidence and trust consumers already had with the existing companies, while introducing them to the new brand. We also pulled the red and white from the original Barco logo to create a teaser campaign. By pulling legacy elements when creating new content, we were able to meet consumers partway and build a connection between the familiar to the new.
- Keep the momentum going and simplify the process.
- Once the rebrand is launched, look for ways to continue to expand this work into future projects. Style guidelines and examples are great assets to share with the team for reference. We suggest scheduling periodic reviews of these guidelines and examples to ensure that everything is still in line with the vision and anything you have learned along the way.
If there is only one guarantee in life, it is that things will change. You have to be willing to adjust and follow where the wind blows, otherwise you will get left behind. Routine and predictability are nice, but complacency can easily settle in and lower expectations. We want you at the top of your game and the top of everyone’s minds.
When you are hit with a change midstream and need experts to carry the load, trust A&P to give you clarity and stability. We can assist any stage of your brand’s development – whether during the initial planning or when a dynamic shift is needed. Change is inevitable, but we can be your constant. Contact us today.
A&P is a brand innovation design studio that uses its collective talent to generate ideas that will increase shareholder wealth for their clients. How? By keeping consumers wanting more. A&P delivers brilliant brand experiences in the physical and digital world every moment of every day. Their work includes consumer insight, brand innovation, creative development, mobile and technology solutions for global brands such as AT&T, Mini USA, Cinionic, The Franklin Institute, Newell Rubbermaid, Tenet Healthcare, and Barco Escape. For more information about A&P, visit them on antonioandparis.com.