10 Really Dumb Rebranding Efforts

Last Updated Apr 12, 2010 3:15 PM EDT

If you've ever been involved in a successful rebranding effort, you know that it's more about changing reality within the company than it is about changing customer perception of the company. If not, you're likely to end up right back where you started.

Having led several companies through rebranding processes, I can definitely back that up. When internal behavior changed, it worked. When internal behavior didn't change, it failed -- through no fault of mine, of course.

Business Insider recently named 10 major rebranding disasters per Rob Frankel of award-winning branding agency Method. As they put it, "A successful rebranding involves overhauling a company's goals, message, and culture -- not just changing a name or a logo." Amen, brother.

Most of their top 10 are good examples of rebranding failures. A couple, however, not so much. I'm guessing they had 7 or 8 and struggled to get to 10. Anyway, here's my take on:

10 Really Dumb Rebranding EffortsTropicana Rebranding Disaster

  1. The SciFi channel gets an STD. According to urbandictionary.com, Syfy - the SciFi channel's new name - is slang for syphilis in several languages. Another brilliant move by NBC Universal.
  2. Tropicana's generic OJ cartons. The old carton with the straw coming out of the orange was cool; the new one looks like generic OJ. After a customer uprising, London Olympics LogoPepsiCo switched back.
  3. London's nutty Olympic logo. Wow, charging $800K for something that silly looking should be a crime.
  4. Radio Shack is now, "The Shack." As Frankel says, "Why would anyone throw away decades of brand value -- just to try to be cool for a few minutes?" Really.
  5. Capital One goes Nike. Copying Nike with a decade-old "swoosh" is amateurish, Capital One Logoto say the least.
  6. Andersen Consulting becomes Accenture. A meaningless name that cost the company a reported $100 million to execute. Not to mention the enigmatic tag line that makes no sense for a consulting firm: "High performance. Delivered."
  7. Blackwater goes dark. After killing 17 civilians in Iraq, the private security firm seems to have opted for obscurity with a meaningless name, Xe. If that makes sense to me, does that mean I'm weird?
  8. Pepsi new logo Pepsi plays Pacman. A 10 year-old could have drawn Pepsi's new logo for a buck instead of the million or so the company reportedly paid. It's supposed to be a smile, but it looks more like a red, white, and blue Pacman to me.
  9. Comcast gives you amnesia. The Xfinity name change in 11 U.S. markets is supposed to help consumers forget its high prices and poor customer service. Just wondering, do they think Californian's have bad memories?
  10. Aol. With a period. I don't know; I sort of like the goldfish. And the change New Aol Logosignals a changed company. But is it ... a changed company? Come to think of it, it's AOL. Who cares?
Any other rebranding disasters you've witnessed lately?

Here's the original post by Bianca Male on Business Insider.

Images: Tropicana via Flickr; London Olympics via Flickr; Capital One; Pepsi; AOL