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From Quill to QWERTY: The Write Stuff on Rebranding

The Art and Science of Rebranding: Navigating Pros, Cons, and Potential Pitfalls

Branding is more than just a logo or color scheme. It’s a reflection of a company’s history, values, and identity. At its core, branding can also be an art form, much like cursive writing. As rightly pointed out,

“Cursive is a beautiful art. The word calligraphy is derived from two Greek words: kalli, which means beautiful; and graphia, which means writing. Cursive has the added benefit of being both artistic and highly personal, allowing people to express their individuality and creativity. It adds voice to our designs that is timeless and historic, but also intimate, formal, and sophisticated.”

Throughout history, the beauty of cursive and script writing has found its way into the branding of many iconic companies. “Did you know that the original Coca-Cola logo was written in an early form of American cursive called the Spencerian method? Many of us take for granted the cursive we see advertised every day in logos like Ford, Hallmark, and Walgreens.” And even in today’s digitized age, where you might expect sleek and modern designs to dominate, web and technology companies such as Dribbble, Vimeo, Pinterest, and Instagram proudly showcase cursive in their logos.

However, the decision to evolve and perhaps move away from such time-honored designs is a challenging one. Let’s delve into the complex world of rebranding, looking at its pros, cons, and potential pitfalls, particularly in the context of Johnson & Johnson’s recent switch from cursive to print.

The Pros of Rebranding

1. Relevance to the Modern Consumer: As society changes, it’s crucial for brands to mirror these evolutions. Johnson & Johnson’s switch acknowledges the declining prevalence of cursive in schools, aiming to make their brand more legible to newer generations.

2. Differentiating from Competitors: Over time, brands might converge in their aesthetics. Rebranding provides a chance to stand out and create a unique identity.

3. Reflecting Growth and Evolution: Companies that expand or pivot from their initial vision can use rebranding to better represent their current ethos and offerings.

The Cons of Rebranding

1. Risk of Alienating Loyal Customers: Brands form emotional bonds with their consumers. A drastic change can sever that bond, leaving long-time supporters feeling lost.

2. Financial Implications: A rebrand isn’t merely about a logo. It encompasses changes in promotional materials, signage, packaging, online presence, and more, all carrying significant costs.

3. Potential Brand Confusion: A marked shift can sow confusion if it’s not effectively communicated to the audience.

Potential Pitfalls

1. Losing Brand Equity: Thoughtless rebranding might erode the trust and value a brand has cultivated over the years.

2. Inadequate Research: Diving into rebranding without a deep understanding of market dynamics, target demographics, or cultural considerations can lead to mistakes.

3. Poor Execution: Good intentions can fall flat with subpar execution, turning a rebranding move into a public relations disaster.

Navigating the Rebranding Maze

How does one strike a balance between staying true to the brand’s roots and embracing the new?

Engage in Comprehensive Market Research: Look beyond immediate trends. Anticipate shifts in culture, technology, and industry.

Test Before You Leap: Trial the new branding elements with select audiences. Gauge reactions and be ready to refine based on feedback.

Communicate the ‘Why’: Contextualize the change. Share the story and reason behind the rebrand, much like Johnson & Johnson’s explanation about the evolution of cursive.

In a world where branding aesthetics span the historic charm of cursive to the sleek contours of modern design, rebranding is a meticulous endeavor. When approached with care, thought, and authenticity, it can infuse a brand with renewed vitality, ensuring its success in a constantly changing marketplace.

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