Someone holding a SanDisk memory card
Someone holding a SanDisk memory card

10 Brands that Need Rebranding

Paul Kiernan

This happens to brands all the time. They have been around for a while, have name recognition, and feel that all things are running well, adequately, so why bother fixing something that ain’t broken? Well, how are you defining broken? Is your brand engaging with a new set of potential customers, a new generation?

There is a famous saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Despite this phrase feeling like it could date back to Teddy Roosevelt, it was coined by Thomas Bertrum Lance in 1977. Lance was the Director of Office Management and the Budget for President Jimmy Carter. Though Lance’s phrase caught on and was a battle cry for government anti-activists, it’s not a good rallying cry for business.

Through this phrase, Lance posits that if something is working adequately, why fix it? In some ways, that makes sense. However, your business, especially with your brand adequately, will not get you noticed, nor will it put you ahead of the pack.

This happens to brands all the time. They have been around for a while, have name recognition, and feel that all things are running well, adequately, so why bother fixing something that ain’t broken? Well, how are you defining broken? How do you define value proposition? Is your brand engaging with a new set of potential customers, a new generation? Does your brand have a strong presence on social media? Is your brand museum-quality, meaning it looks like it belongs in a museum? True, your brand may not be “broken”; it may still attract business, but could it do better, reach further and engage more? If you’re asking these questions, the answer is most likely yes, and the solution very well could be a rebrand.

In this article we will cover:

  • Why Rebrand?
  • What if You Don't Rebrand?
  • 10 Brands that Need Rebranding

Why Rebrand?

We are not advising you just to rebrand willy-nilly. Neither willy nor nilly has ever offered sound advice. A rebranding should come only after a lot of thought and financial examination. Do not take rebranding lightly; it will take time, resources, and dedication. If you’re unsure if you should be thinking about rebranding, briefly, here are five reasons that could help you along in your decision. Ultimately, it's your decision; many brands that rebranded have been very successful.

#1 - New Product on Offer

If you’ve added a new product line or service that meets market demand, this is an excellent time to start thinking seriously about rebranding. A rebrand will support the newly offered product and service and welcome the addition into the brand family. A new member of the family means change, and that change can positively impact your business, and you’ll want the public to know how this new product relates to your current products.

#2 - Change in Mission

Products are the same; however, you’ve changed how you do business, fundamentally changing who you are. This change now means your current mission and brand are out of alignment. This should trigger a rebrand.

#3 - The Marketplace Has Changed, Your Customer Has Changed

When you first started your business, you aimed to attract a particular set of customers; great, that was working. However, the market has changed, a new generation has buying power, and your brand is not attractive to them at all. Maybe you need to highlight characteristics of a brand name. Rebranding can get you in front of the eyes of this new generation and make the current customers feel part of the in-crowd.

#4 - You’re Getting Beat

Simple as that. The competition is killing you. You need a way to stand out and get back to your fighting weight. A rebrand will help that.

#5 - Bad Reputation

Has your business recently been rocked by scandal? Environmental problems, internal fighting, financial scandals? Has your dirty laundry been seen peeling around chyrons on CNN or across banners in Times Square? Suddenly you have very negative associations hanging on your brand. A rebrand can, after time, dispel those negative associations and, if handled well, give your brand a new image and a fresh start.

Those are just five reasons, and once you put your mind to it, you may be able to think of more. But, for now, we’ll leave you with those.

What if You Don’t Rebrand?

If your business meets any of the above five criteria, you genuinely need to give rebranding some serious thought.

What happens if you see the signs and don’t rebrand? Well, as business moves at the speed of business, there are no hard and set facts; however, if your brand is damaged or outdated, the reality is, it may not be a brand for much longer.

It could still limp along for a while, but eventually, it will become irrelevant and then a thing of the past. It will be the ending to the question, “Hey, whatever happened to …?” This could have happened to the Coca-Cola Company after new Coke, but they did quick, smart damage control.

Some major companies with huge brands got to a point where they needed a rebrand, and they were successful. It can be a scary undertaking, but it usually pays off big. Don’t wait; if you’re feeling the urge, seeing the writing on the wall, then get some sharp minds together and contact a company that does rebranding right and see what it can do for your company.

Companies That Need Rebranding

To give you examples and hopefully inspire you, here are ten notable brands that need to consider rebranding seriously:

  1. Avon
  2. SanDisk
  3. Pepsi
  4. Taco Bell
  5. Prudential
  6. eBay
  7. Johnson & Johnson
  8. The Washington Redskins
  9. The Republican Party
  10. Louis C. K.

#1 - Avon

Avon nail polish

“Ding-dong, Avon calling.” That was the line that caught the attention of millions of homemakers. The glamor of Avon parties, door-to-door cosmetics at reasonable prices made them a household name. They were reigning supreme. They offered the high fashion style with the convenience of skipping the mall.

Now that convenience has become a bit of a burden. Online shopping has replaced the doorbell ringing woman with the case of goodies. On top of that, they have were hit with multiple bribery suits back in 2014, which severely dented their glamorous, but wholesome appeal. Once a trendsetter, Avon is now reaching museum status very quickly.

#2 - SanDisk

SanDisk memory card

Once a recognizable name in consumer electronics, SanDisk was skating on the edge of irrelevancy when they decided to sell themselves to Western Digital in 2015. Still, that’s not enough. They are a tech company that doesn’t seem to be aware that tech is ever-evolving. A new logo, colors, the whole branding gamut may help them feel more present day.

#3 - Pepsi

Pepsi machine next to a Coca Cola machine

Once touted as the choice of a new generation, Pepsi is swiftly becoming the choice of a snooze generation. The main problem for Pepsi is the logo.

Pepsi’s current logo has been compared to a pot belly, not a pretty image. The logo also has no relevant connection to the product, and when all is said and done, it is entirely uninspiring.

#4 - Taco Bell

Here’s an image problem with a side order of logo troubles. Taco Bell has long been the late-night, drunk food maven. Stoners and college kids needing to fuel up post-party or pre-party have made Taco Bell their destination of choice. However, their food has a dizzying array of incarnations, and the ingredients are suspect as well. The world is getting more health-conscious, or at least claiming to be, the Bell needs to address this.

And the logo is flat and tells no brand story, gives no hint of character or the company vibe. It’s a bell; what does that even mean?

#5 - Prudential

Simon and Garfunkle sang, “I am a rock, I am an island,” and they were a big hit. Prudential claimed to be strong as the rock of Gibraltar, and at the time, 1875, that was a big hit. So they are as strong as ... a big rock? Wow, that’s strong. I think.

This is another logo problem. If the general public has to google a portion of your logo to understand your business, you have a problem. The namesake rock, Gibraltar, isn’t mentioned in its logo or any of its materials. It seems to have been forgotten. The main thrust of Prudential is their strength through time, but if you have to explain the logo, you have a significant brand weakness.

#6 - eBay

Online shopping is abundant. Your brand needs to stand out. This is another example of how a logo can cause a business to fade into the background.

Ebay’s logo feels like a poor man’s Google. The colors, the font. It lacks the thrill of the buying experience on the site. There is a lack of personality and no hint as to what they do, offer, or how they stand apart from the rest of the online shopping world.

#7 - Johnson & Johnson

This is a company with a scandal problem. In 2019, the company recalled 33,000 bottles of baby powder and talc products due to trace amounts of asbestos. This was bad; however, what made it worse is that studies showed J&J knew about the asbestos problem for roughly 50 years. What followed was over 1000 lawsuits purporting the baby powder and talc caused cancer, and after a four-year-long tap dance, J&J is paying out $100 million to settle those suits.

Johnson & Johnson’s “A family company” image has taken a severe hit, and their response has been clinical, technical, scientific, but not very family or human. They need to get ahead of this scandal, and a rebrand would help that considerably.

#8 - The Washington Football Team (Formerly Redskins)

Washington Redskins stadium

Here’s a major NFL team with a significant image problem. Football is already under fire for its violence, turning a blind eye toward criminals, insane, offensive personalities, and prolonged traumatic head injuries that have led to suicide. The ‘Skins have compounded all that negative press with an obscenely racist team name.

The term Red Skins is a pejorative referencing Native Americans and First Nations in Canada. To these noble tribes, it is insulting and painful. That the team has worn this moniker for so long is pretty unconscionable. The NFL is making headway, and the team has decided to change the name. The current choice, The Washington Football Team, while far less offensive, is simply generic and dull.

#9 - The Republican Party

Supporter or not, everyone can see that the Grand Ol’ Party is having a serious messaging crisis. The infighting, the lack of leadership, direction, and an absent foundation of unified messaging have got this once great party in turmoil.

The party needs rebranding on its message. A cohesion, focus, and unity in thought and voice will right this ship and keep it going strong into the future. And, a rebrand might get a new generation interested in them and help dispel the image of a party run by old white men who are still wondering what happened to all the pay phones.

#10 - Louis C. K.

Yes, a celebrity is a brand. That’s a reality that a lot of celebs just don’t get. Their public image, what they say, think and use, all carry the power of a brand.

If you’re a C.K. fan then, you’re a C.K. fan. You like his brand of humor. He’s innovative, edgy and his TV shows are artistically brilliant. HIs limited series Horace & Pete was nothing short of genius. However, Louis messed up, and he messed up badly.

The #MeToo movement is powerful and accurate. Louis’s career was damaged by it, and although he did admit his mistake and apologized, he has not addressed the situation thoroughly enough to satisfy his potential audience. If he’s going to get back to his artistic heights, he’s got to do something to shake the moniker of “Disgraced Comedian.” His image, his brand could use some help.

Get Help From ThoughtLab

As we said, a rebrand should not be taken lightly. If your brand hits any of the five-plus criteria and a rebrand is in order, Troy, the funny guy with some odd ideas in the mailroom, is not the person you want handling your rebrand.

ThoughtLab is where rebranding is done right. Intelligent, experienced marketers with great writers and innovative ideas will take your brand and give it the proper tune-up. Contact ThoughtLab today for a free consultation and see your brand in a better light.