These top three notorious rebrands highlight the various reasons why companies choose to transform their identities. Some organizations, such as American-Italian eatery Olive Garden, needed to bring their brands into the 21st century. Others, like retail giant Old Navy, couldn’t compete with new, more innovative companies who were disrupting the marketplace.
When Gap Inc. was looking to revive its lagging brand Old Navy, it hired Stefan Larsson—the man behind H&M’s American expansion—according to a report in the New York Times. Comedy stars Amy Poehler and Julia Louis-Dreyfus starred in its ads. This makeover proved successful and it helped rake in nearly $6 billion for the company. That’s more than the Gap and Banana Republic brands combined.
It’s not only retail giants who give themselves facelifts; smaller business-to-business companies do it too. Take Toronto-based media analytics company BBM Analytics, for instance. It became Numeris earlier this year. This refreshed identity included a completely new name, logo, website and other communications materials. However, not all rebrands are quite as exhaustive. Others include more subtle tweaks, such as a refreshed logo, a new colour palette or updated messaging.
Without further ado, here are the top three rebrands that changed how you think about these companies.
Back in 2000, Accenture split from Arthur Andersen and it needed its own name and a completely new brand identity. The story goes that the new company held a naming contest; an employee from Oslo, Norway won with Accenture. According to Time magazine, this nonsense, made-up name cost the organization $100 million—it clearly didn’t go over well. However, as Time explains, the infamous Enron scandal erupted one year later and Arthur Andersen accountants were at the centre of it. Now, fifteen years in, the name Accenture is synonymous with a high-calibre, global consulting firm.
Much of our country emerged thanks to the exploits of the fur traders who belonged to the Hudson’s Bay Company, founded in 1640. In 2013, the organizations (which also owns Lord & Taylor, Home Outfitters and Saks Fifth Avenue) rebranded its eponymous department store for the first time since 1965. It underwent a name change—going from The Bay to the more traditional Hudson’s Bay—and got a new logo. Instead of modernizing it, HBC unveiled an updated image that harkened back to the company’s rich heritage. The company also introduced more high fashion and trendy clothing options and refurbished or renovated many of its stores in order to make Hudson’s Bay a shopping destination for all demographics instead of just grandma’s tired old department store.
This ubiquitous New York City drug store chain completely reinvented its image in 2008 thanks to a C-suite filled with Canadians who used to work for Loblaw. Prior to this intervention, aided by Toronto-based consulting firm Jackman, Duane Reade “were the stores New Yorkers loved to hate,” said Chicago retail lawyer Neil Stern to the Globe and Mail. But, with an updated brand, logo, store design and high-quality private label similar to Canada’s President’s Choice, Duane Reade was no longer the dingy, late-night corner store peppering Manhattan streets. In fact, Walgreens scooped the company up for a blockbuster price of $1.1 billion. How’s that for a successful makeover?