By Josh Silver and Jason Dean

The human eye is seduced by color, shape, and contrast. Knowing this, marketers employ specific methods to draw the consumer’s attention to their product. The intended emotional response can range from heightened excitement to calming reassurance. How does a company distinguish its product when everywhere we turn, we are inundated by visual stimuli competing for attention in today’s marketplace?

Branding–a company’s most important product that’s not for sale–is how businesses communicate the particulars of their identity. You’ve heard the saying, “I never forget a face.” Branding is the face of a company: It’s a first impression that should leave a lasting impression. The visual quality of a brand can mean the difference between a successful product and a forgotten one.

Some companies may opt to “rebrand” at some point, for various reasons. Rebranding can provide a dynamic visual shift that is designed to jumpstart a product or highlight a shift in focus or direction. This can be a dicey proposition, however, as consumers have been known to resist, and even reject, change when they become attached to the familiar nuances of “their” product’s packaging.

When a company rebrands a product or service, the change is often a subtle retooling meant to modernize a look that is considered dated. In some cases, a product’s facelift may not be limited to updating a font or catch-phrase. Sun-Maid Raisins, Ivory Soap, and Gerber Baby Food all updated decades-old packaging by photographing a new model in essentially thPepsi, Obama, graphic design, pictures, gravity, magnetism,  Americae same pose as its previous incarnation, to achieve an idealized visual effect that suggested “today” rather than “yesteryear.”

A recent case of rebranding achieved political and pop culture attention when PepsiCo revamped its packaging with a look that was vaguely reminiscent of the circular Obama logo from the 2008 election campaign. (Interestingly, this liberal-minded writer developed a taste for Pepsi around the time this particular design change was implemented.) Pepsi’s attempt at a regional rebranding got a less-than-ideal response in one recent instance when a can design sold in Arab countries seemed to pay homage to the 9/11 attacks.

Occasionally, an organization will opt for a visual change that is a complete dos equis, most interesting man in the world, XX, brand mascot, beards, graphic designdeparture from the previous logo, graphical representation, or slogan. The U.S. Mint recently did away with its old colors, logo, and  in its rebranding; the new gold and silver carry more monetary “weight” and acknowledge a world market that is no longer beholden to red, white & blue dollars and cents.

In the age of the viral video, some rebranding can swirl up its own heat: Old Spice re-energized its 70-year-old image with highly watchable ads starring former NFL’er Isaiah Mustafa; Dos Equis’ Most Interesting Man in the World has propelled a truly ordinary beer into an extraordinarily compelling brand.

What are some other rebrands that got it right, got it wrong, or knocked it out of the park?

About Beit T'Shuvah

Beit T’Shuvah is a residential addiction treatment center, congregation, and an educational institute where life is celebrated and every soul matters.
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