In early 2023, Pepsi shocked the public by rebranding its lemon lime soda Sierra Mist as Starry. Though the move raised eyebrows and spawned jokes, the success of the company’s rebranding strategy remains to be seen. Rebranding is always tricky and opens you up to the wrong kind of attention. So, if you’re considering it for your business, how do you ensure you get the right reactions?
Companies rebrand for many reasons. Many do so after flagging sales to revitalize interest or reach a new market. Others rebrand to reflect a significant change in the business, like an acquisition or considerable shift in products or services. Rebranding is also a tried and-true method for companies to move on from bad publicity.
But rebranding is more than renaming your business — in fact, you don’t necessarily need to rename your business at all. Rebranding is more than a new company name, updated logo, or website. It’s about your business’s identity and overall strategy for the future.
Since rebranding is not a quick fix, every business owner should evaluate their reasons for wanting to rebrand before making the leap. Simply “feeling” like it’s time for a change is not enough.
Don’t Be ‘Starry’-Eyed About Your Strategy
Ask what you’re hoping to accomplish, then consider whether you need to rebrand to achieve it. Your brand may just need a “facelift” with a tweaked logo, new company colors, or a refreshed social media presence.
If you’re committed to rebranding, do it with clear eyes and an awareness of how your efforts could go wrong. One famous example was Tropicana (also owned by PepsiCo) in 2009. The company replaced its instantly recognizable image of a straw in an orange with a generic picture of a glass of orange juice. Consumers felt it cheapened the product — and some even had trouble finding it. Tropicana quickly switched back to its old packaging, but it was a $50 million mistake.
Rebranding is a balancing act between refreshing your image and retaining the elements that made your company successful in the first place. Business leaders should strongly consider hiring a rebranding expert who understands the risks before beginning an overhaul. It’s essential to understand your current customer base and target market. Otherwise, you could alienate both — and all your money, time, and effort could fall flat.