Rebranding mistakes and how to avoid them

In a previous post we looked at 3 questions to answer before rebranding:

  1. Has anything changed within the company?
  2. Has anything changed with your target audience?
  3. Has anything changed within your industry?

Answering these three questions is fundamental to deciding whether or not you really need to rebrand your company. The reason? Because rebranding is not just thinking up some new colours, changing your packaging or designing a fancy new logo.

Your brand is not just what you believe it to be, it is what the consumer perceives it to be. It is this distinction that can cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost sales and in goodwill. Rebranding, if it is done badly and for the wrong reasons, can take you years to rectify.

Even if you decide that rebranding is appropriate (because of an affirmative answer to one of the 3 reasons above), you can still have egg on your face. Take a look at how these two big brands quickly changed tack and reverted back to their old branding:

The Gap

In 2010, The Gap decided to rebrand. Maybe you noticed or maybe you didn’t, but a lot of people did notice and they were not happy campers. Apparently, sales had been down and The Gap assumed (wrongly) that a fresh coat of paint, so to speak, would fix all of its woes and bring them into the black again. Clearly The Gap got this one wrong because due to customer backlash, they reverted back to their old logo within a week.


Image sourced from www.

The lesson here is that The Gap did not do their research. We will never know what really made them rebrand, but referring back to our 3 questions, the only one that makes sense is that their sales were down. Unfortunately, rebranding is not a quick fix for plummeting sales.

Pizza Hut

In mid-2009, Pizza Hut decided to change its logo and branding from Pizza Hut to The Hut. Below you can see the early or original logo with red roof and Pizza Hut (middle below), which was changed to The Hut (on the left). This change was in response to a mix of factors - an older clientele (over 35 years of age), the popularity of texting and using abbreviated names, and to a more mobile audience.

Even though Pizza Hut appeared to have rebranded, because of a change in their target audience (question 2), they couldn’t have performed adequate research, because they quickly reverted back to their original design.


Proposed logo. Sourced from

Early logo. Sourced from

2014 logo. Sourced from


As with The Gap, customers didn’t take well to this rebranding effort, causing them to publish a press release stating that this was just a marketing effort, not a permanent name change. As an aside, the current logo on their Australian websites is the one seen on the right, where they have entirely removed the Pizza Hut logo and now rely totally on the red roof.

The reason for this current logo is unclear, maybe they believe that they are such a huge brand that their name is unnecessary. Whatever their reason, let’s hope they have done their research.

So the lesson here is to first, be sure that you do need to rebrand and second, to consult a rebranding specialist and ask their opinion as well.

If you want help with branding or rebranding for your business, feel free to contact us at our Northern Beaches studio in Sydney.

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If you have a project/idea that you would like us to work on, you want information about the studio and its activities, or to arrange a portfolio showing, please contact us.
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