The Hows and Whys of (Not) Changing a Brand

People always ask me how long a brand should be around before it’s safe to change brand elements like corporate colors, logo shape or the company name.

And, brand changes – or upgrades – do happen. Some of the brands that consumers are familiar with have gone through considerable changes, for example, Citibank.

The old Citibank logo looked like this:

Old Citibank Logo

And, now it’s looks like this:

New Citibank Logo

Granted, this was done to manage their merger with Traveler’s, because Traveler’s logo is a red umbrella, but their logo changed nonetheless.

Travelers Logo

In most circumstances, it’s probably not a good idea to mess around with the three main brand elements unless, of course, any one of those elements is just awful – like a bad name that’s dated or just should be changed.

It’s really important that you not mess around with the company name because mostly people relate to a company’s name more than anything, but sometimes you have to.

An example of a smart name change is Consolidated Foods. That name was just too general. Who is this company? What do they do? Who’s their market? The name was just bland.

Consolidated Foods changed their name to Sara Lee and now it’s a very recognizable brand name. Soon after the name changed to Sara Lee, the company rose to the become one of Fortune Magazine’s most-admired companies in the food industry.

The company CEO at the time, John Bryan, made the comment that people invest in and buy the stock of companies that they believe can become the best. He remarked that the company itself is the same, the only difference is the name. In other words, the company did not change, implement any new management or Six Sigma strategies or anything like that – they just changed the name. And that name, Sara Lee, has proven to have a very positive image with consumers.

If at all possible, stick with the brand you have, upgrade it if need be, but try not to remove all recognizable bran elements unless there is no other choice.

One comment

  1. Rocky Cipriano on March 4, 2009 at 6:39 AM said:

    You’re welcome. I’m glad you found it helpful.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Marketing with a Local Touch

Serving the Greater New York Metro Area Including the Counties of Westchester, Rockland, Putnam and the Bronx; along with Fairfield County, CT.