4 Rebranding Lessons from Companies Who Learned the Hard Way

You may have heard the expression “Content is King.” Most recently, entrepreneur, investor and social media expert Gary Vaynerchuk also declared, “Marketing is Queen and runs the household.” So what about branding? Branding boosts your corporate identity, creates emotional connections and associations with the market and represents your company’s core values. We’re inclined to argue that Branding is everything to your business, so if Content is King, then Branding is the Kingdom. You can’t have authoritative, interesting content without a well-defined brand to serve it.

We see businesses suffer from poorly defined brands, which fail to accurately depict what their company is all about. One of the main problems we find happening to SMBs is that general consumer behavior has transformed—and will continue to evolve, but some businesses have yet to adapt their branding to meet the needs of this generation’s consumers.

A good reason to reinvent your brand would be simply because it’s out-of-date, but there are a number of other situations out there that you may have not considered. Take a look at why some businesses rebranded or are planning to rebrand below and see if you can relate.


Scenario: Your company needs to shed negative media attention or associations with the brand.

Internet Explorer Sturggles

Photo Source: Comixed.com

Real Case: After much speculation and discussion, Microsoft announced in 2014 that they decided to rebrand Internet Explorer with the launch of Windows 10.

Why: With a 20-year run, Internet Explorer was a trailblazer before browsers like Firefox and Chrome entered with faster loading times and cleaner interfaces. Microsoft struggled to slough off its negative reputation as the weak browser among its counterparts. They even tried to release a series of comedic campaigns with the release of Windows 6, but they were ultimately ineffective.

Lesson to be Learned: If your brand’s shortcomings have proliferated to the point of internet memes and overall negative perception from your audience, it’s time to take action on what you can do to rebuild your brand as a strong competitor.
Source: TechCrunch


Scenario: Your business has launched a new product or service line.

Real Case: WWE rebranded itself with a new logo to demonstrate its expanded digital presence.

Why? According to WWE chief brand manager Stephanie McMahon, “It just didn’t represent the way the network was forward-thinking about how we distribute not only our content, but the entire business.”

Lesson to be Learned: If your added product or service opens opportunities for a new audience and perception of your businesses, consider rebranding to reinforce the newfound interest in your business.

Source: Variety.com

WWE logo rebrand


Scenario: Your business seeks to target a new target audience.

Real Case: In November 2014, Pizza Hut launched a whole fresh line of pizza crust choices and toppings to appeal to a new generation of consumers.

Why? Executives found sales dropped for two years consecutively and realized that the problem was that their target audience developed eccentric flavour profiles and desired more customization on their pizzas.

Lesson to be Learned: If your target audience isn’t responding as favourably as they used to, survey your consumers on their interests and perceptions of the brand and use the information to tweak your brand.

Source: USAToday.com

Pizza Hut

Pizza Hut’s rebranded itself with the tagline, “The Flavor of Now” to introduce its additional topping and flavour options for a whole new generation of pizza eaters.


Scenario: Your business’s services and or/products are no longer desired.

Real Case: In the early 2000s, media discussion on the global obesity, particularly in North America sparked a healthy eating revolution and plummeted sales for fast food chains. As one of the most well-known fast food restaurants, McDonald’s was pitted at the centre of the dissent. They responded with an “Our Food. Your Questions.” campaign, which directly responded to customer questions about their food and preparation processes through their website and YouTube videos. They also restructured their menu to include healthier dining options and revamped interiors for a more comfortable dining experience.

Why? High profiled documentaries like “Super Size Me” and “Fast Food Nation” resulted in much speculation on the integrity of McDonald’s food preparation and products. They recognized that their customer loyalty would cease if they did not respond with transparency and an overhaul of their menu options.

Lesson to be Learned: When your customer base is threatened and your good/or services are no longer desired, redesign your brand with personable interactions to restore respect and trust in your customer relationships.

Source: Inc.com

Mcdonalds Questions

McDonald’s “Our Food. Your Questions” campaign is found on their website, social media and subway posters.


If you’re not sure if you fall into any of these categories, but you’re still considering rebranding, think about the overall experience you wish to provide for your consumers, from how your customer service completes interactions with clients to how your brand is perceived by others who are less familiar with what you do.

Need a Quick Check on If Your Brand is Serving Your Business?

  • It begins and ends with your mission and core values.
  • Illustrated effectively through your logo, website, digital presence and stationary.
  • Practised through the actions of your employees and in your marketing content.

Still not sure if you’ve established all areas of your business to truly define what you and your business do? Let’s chat! Leave us a comment below and we’ll help you get started.



  1. Excellent points, Mike! Really well done. The key to every aspect of business is the quality of the relationship – and your connecting branding to the relationship to the product is spot on! Looking forward to more of your wisdom.

    1. Thanks Andrew!
      The McDonalds case study is something more brands should learn from when facing scrutiny. Relationships with customers is only as strong as the foundation it was built on.
      Transparency and adaptability are the first 2 pillars of that solid foundation.

      Keep up the great logo work!

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