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5 successful rebranding efforts

5 successful rebranding efforts Alexis Caffrey
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Even the most successful brands need a little remodeling now and then. Some go with a simple logo redesign or a new slogan. But others need something a little more drastic: a total brand makeover. 


Big changes come with big risks. You want to be fresh and creative, but you don't want to lose sight of what's at the core of your brand. If you're thinking about a major reinvention, take a look at these brands that did it right.


McDonald's


Out with the old:
For years, McDonald's positioned itself as a representation of everything great about American including delicious food, carefree fun, speed, convenience, and affordability. And that worked -- for a while.


But then, America became more health-conscious and McDonald's lost some of its appeal. People blamed the brand for rising obesity rates and criticized it for using chemicals in its food (remember the pink slime fiasco?). McDonald's came to represent everything bad about American culture, from McMansions to McJobs. 


Making its customers fat? Not the kind of image a restaurant wants.


In with the new:
In response to criticism, McDonald's focused on making its food more nutritious and their brand more authentic. Instead of emphasizing super-sized burgers and greasy fries, McDonald's added healthier foods, including salads, low-fat yogurt, fruit and egg whites.


And McDonald's is taking it even further -- all the way to the source of its food. A 2012 commercial series called "Meet the Farmers" showcased fresh McDonald's ingredients -- and the (fictional) local farmers that produce them. 


McDonald's new, wholesome, and authentic image helped the fast food chain get back on top.


5 successful rebranding efforts

Old Spice


Out with the old:
Old Spice has been around for a while (its first product was released in 1937). And the brand has always had a traditional vibe, using colonial themes and nautical images as its trademark. 


But there's a fine line between traditional and outdated and Old Spice failed to move into the 21st century. Its old-fashioned brand just wasn't cutting it, especially in competition with younger, more modern brands like Axe.


In with the new:
Old Spice realized it had to make some changes -- and it started with modernizing. Pop culture icons from LL Cool J to Ray Lewis appeared in commercials and utilizing social media to get fans to interact online.


But what really put Old Spice ahead was its 2010 parody ad campaign, "The Man Your Man Could Smell Like." The commercials showed shirtless football player Isaiah Mustafah in exotic situations -- including atop a white horse and dancing in a grass skirt --  to appeal to a younger demographic (and their wives and girlfriends).


5 successful rebranding efforts


Verizon


Out with the old:
Everyone remembers Verizon's old "Test Guy" commercials -- the ones that showed a bespectacled Verizon employee testing phone service across the country with the phrase, "Can you hear me now?"


The commercials highlighted one of Verizon's biggest advantages -- wireless reliability. And "Test Guy" helped Verizon grow their net customers by 25 percent in just two years. But even the best advertising campaigns have an expiration date and network reliability became less of a selling point in the age of smartphones.


In with the new:
Verizon needed to adapt to keep up with the always-improving tech world. And it did it the right way by expanding itself while staying true to the quality it's known for.


Verizon shifted away from just wireless and began to focus on internet, TV, and phone service. They found success with the 2006 launch of FiOS, a fiber-optic communication system for the home. Jumping on new fiber-optic technology put Verizon ahead, allowing them to provide better – and faster – services than any other provider.


5 successful rebranding efforts

Target


Out with the old:
Target used to be on par with other discount superstores like Wal-Mart and Kmart. They had low prices, sure, but they were also low on quality and style. To appeal to a new customer base -- and to stay relevant -- Target needed a major overhaul.


In with the new:
To set itself apart, Target created its own class of luxe-but-affordable merchandise. The brand partnered with upscale designers and retailers like Isaac Mizrahi, Zac Posen, and Neiman Marcus to provide high-end clothing and home décor. They even updated its own generic food brands with the premium Archer Farms and Simply Balanced lines. 


And Target's advertising is moving in the same direction, emphasizing quality instead of affordability. Its minimalist commercials are high-fashion and hip  -- even when its advertising something as ordinary as light bulbs. And to go along with that minimalism, they even removed the brand name from their logo.


5 successful rebranding efforts


Myspace


Out with the old:
Myspace was the coolest thing to hit the internet…in 2004. The social media giant was ranked as the Web's most-visited site in 2006, and hit its peak with 75.9 million users in 2008.


But the internet works in mysterious ways -- the social media site fell off the map around 2010. Users defected almost as quickly as they had come. And Myspace was sold in 2011 for $35 million -- just 6 percent of what original buyers had paid in 2005.


In with the new:
Myspace was forced out of the social media market by newer, better sites like Facebook and Twitter. To make a comeback, the site had to do something totally different. Earlier this year, Myspace did just that. With back up from pop star Justin Timberlake, the new and improved Myspace launched in June.


Now, it's an entertainment-focused social media site -- more like Spotify than Facebook. On the new Myspace, users can listen to their favorite music and explore new media.  Up-and-coming artists (writers, filmmakers, and more) can publish their work and grow their fan bases.


5 successful rebranding efforts



Alexis Caffrey is a freelance writer.


On Twitter? Follow iMedia Connection at @iMediaTweet.

Alexis Caffrey is a freelance writer with a focus on technology, new media, and design. In a former life she was a graphic designer based out of New York, NY. She actively (some would say obsessively) follows entertainment news and pop culture.

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