Rebrand hate and loathing

Whenever I hear of an established company receiving a rebrand I’m filled with dread, not because of how I might react to the new identity, but because of the tide of negative comments that now seem to follow. So why are some people so quick to make such judgements.

It seems as if there are people out there that like nothing more than to bash a large, publicised rebrand. Almost instantly one is announced the negativity begins, before anyone could possibly familiarise themselves with the new image, critical comments start appearing online.

Maybe the reporting of large sums of money being spent on “rebrands” has affected the perception of them – which is sad as the prices quoted are usually for far more than what’s suggested in the news. Or perhaps it’s that these people hate to see things change; they form bonds with these companies; their brands are familiar and comfortable to them; then suddenly one of these companies has a new identity – how dare they!

However, do they take the time to consider why that company felt the need to change, has its market or consumer changed, does it now need a new image to survive. These people may have liked that company’s brand, but did they use its services or buy its products. It’s all well and good being nostalgic about a brand, but if they have stopped supporting that company, should they really be so quick to critise when it changes.

I can to some degree understand people outside of the design world airing their views so quickly, but I find it curious when fellow designers do too. I would expect them to understand the need for caution, as initial views can quickly change when the full details come to light of why the rebrand was necessary. Sure, we can question the decisions made and how successful we feel the new identity is visually but without knowing the aim, how can success be judged – especially as this can take months or years.

Hopefully I’m not sounding too critical here, of course we should all be free to express our views but at least when we do, let us try to educate with those views. Often I’ve seen comments made in response to a rebrand that serves little purpose, one in particular springs to mind, that being “BIG FAIL”. Sure, it summed up what that person thought of the rebrand, but how did they think it had failed, do they even have reasons or are they just jumping on a negativity bandwagon. And surely to know if something has failed, they need to know what its goals were.

One last point, it shouldn’t be too surprising that there appears to be far more negative comments than good, after all, we are far quicker to complain than we are to praise. So unless that changes, I should just accept that the tide of negative comments will continue.

About the author

Paul Galbraith is a logo and brand identity designer, working with startups, small businesses and entrepreneurs in the UK, USA and beyond.