With Instagram redesigning its logo and Budweiser temporarily changing its name to America, now is a good time to look at the challenges that companies face when rebranding.
It can be a challenging decision to make as to whether a rebrand is right for your company. Timing, cost and brand recognition are all factors that come into play.
For established brands, whose logos were conceived in a non-digital age the challenge becomes even bigger.
As the term ‘brand’ becomes more prominent in English football, our favourite clubs are also forced to deal with the change to a digital age.
In 2002 Arsenal was one of the first high profile clubs to make the decision to drastically change its crest (essentially its logo… if you’re a football fan you’ll know that it hurt to type that) to be not only easily identified in matters of copyright, but also to be digital friendly.
The previous crest’s Latin motto would have been unreadable when scaled down to a smartphone, and the background detail would be superfluous.
Another loss is the Borough of Islington coat of arms, which again would cause issues when scaled down. The typeface and colours also changed to be web-friendly.
Ultimately the move was necessary for a business whose popularity was increasing and needed to keep up with the digital age.
This trend known as ‘undesigning’ has become increasingly prominent, with Google’s latest redesign drawing the most attention.
Also there’s the sarcastic beast of social media to tackle. When Airbnb revealed its new redesigned logo, the internet dusted off its lapels and took the podium.
— Shaun Pendergast (@ShaunPendy) July 16, 2014
How many people in AirBNB meetings didn’t tell their bosses the new logo looks like testicles? All of them, right? pic.twitter.com/2e9b1PpyeN
— Kate Stayman-London (@_ksl) July 16, 2014
However it seemed the person running their social accounts got the green light to take it in good humour.
— Airbnb (@Airbnb) July 16, 2014
Not to mention Instagram’s latest overhaul of its logo – perhaps a move taken to distract from its algorithm changes.
Really impressed with all the time and effort that went into redesigning the Instagram logo. pic.twitter.com/E0uTdT66uh
— Madison M. K. (@4evrmalone) May 11, 2016
Although the changes may seem innocuous, they’re mostly rooted in the ethos of constantly evolving to improve user experience. If there’s one thing that’s certain, it’s that even small changes can be scary.
But what if you’re changing more than a logo or a name? I recently spoke to a company that’s changing its entire ethos.
Falcon Social was a social media tool, allowing for easy management over several accounts.
But the company has now transformed to Falcon.io – a fully integrated customer experience platform, with the mantra ‘Meet your customers’.
Rebranding is never simple, especially for an established business in a crowded marketplace.
We asked Falcon.io founder Ulrik Bo Larsen a few questions about the challenges that he faced when making the transition.
Q. What were the key factors in deciding to rebrand?
As a company, our success has always stemmed from our ability to adapt quickly in a constantly changing industry.
We started out as a social media management tool in 2010, because back then, the industry needed a unified platform that could handle community management, content management, listening and analytics from one place.
But social is not just one channel anymore, it has fast become something that touches the entire marketing department.
Marketers don’t just need social media management, they need to be able to see the entire customer journey, from identifying customers interests, to engaging with relevant content, to 1:1 contact through to the ultimate goal, which is brand advocacy.
Social data fuels this visibility, but it’s ultimately about delivering an outstanding customer experience across all the possible digital touch points.
We noticed that the industry is crying out for a tool that delivers this visibility seamlessly, and so we evolved.
The Falcon platform still has all the social media management elements as before, but we’ve added more unique capabilities to take us beyond social, into customer experience management.
Naturally, you can’t market yourself as a CX platform with the word social tattooed to your forehead, so we’ve rebranded to Falcon.io.
Q. Which were the biggest challenges you faced during the process?
The biggest challenge with this launch was the timeline.
Three months ago, I told the company that our task for the quarter was to launch a new brand that would change the way the industry sees marketing.
I told them that we were going to roll out a new platform, brand identity, and market positioning - in just three months. At the time the task seemed daunting for me and the Falcon team.
But not only did we succeed, we helped some of the world’s most influential brands – Carlsberg, Tiger and Change Lingerie – come on board with our vision for the future of marketing.
The new platform has been a huge hit with clients, analysts and press, and this is only the beginning.
Q. Are you worried about the SEO impact for the company?
No. It’s true that rebranding always brings the risk of losing an already established SEO position; transitioning from one domain to another is no small task.
However, we see the potential for SEO success with our new positioning far outweighing any short-term effects.
We’ve spent the last year carefully developing a nuanced SEO strategy to limit any potential hits to our ranking.
The great thing about our particular rebrand story is that we now have a bigger field to play in regarding SEO.
Moving beyond the social media management niche into the broader field of customer experience opens up much wider opportunities for our SEO strategy, and this means that Falcon.io’s SEO strength will surpass anything we’ve been able to achieve before.
Q. What advice would you give to any other companies who are growing quickly and are thinking about rebranding?
Aggressive growth and adapting quickly is all about hiring the right talent.
The first thing we did following our Series B funding last year was scale the team – we hired 160 people in 2015.
Hiring a strong management team is particularly important for scaling. This team were the driving force behind our rebranding success.
Ultimately the process of changing aspects of your brand can be laborious and risky, but at some point it may be necessary to make the change.
Whether it be brand ethos, a shift from traditional marketing to digital or any other factor – there will always be a compelling reason to adapt to a changing landscape.