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5 Common Fears About Company Rebranding (and How To Overcome Them!)

There’s no way around it: Company rebranding is a massive project with equally massive consequences – one way or another. Some companies experience intense, rapid growth after a rebrand while others attempt rebrands that nearly destroy their business.

CEO in a blue suit is afraid of falling from a paper aircraft

These outrageous failures can leave you with massive fears about rebranding. If BP, Uber, and Tropicana can have rebrands go wrong, how do you know it won’t happen to you next?

The most common fears about rebranding show up as a series of “what-ifs.” When you overcome these, you can embrace your rebranding journey with open arms.


The “what-ifs” of company rebranding

All the anxious “what-ifs” you’ll encounter in rebranding come down to one question: What if you can’t make this rebrand a success?

Success in company rebranding starts by exploring why you want to rebrand in the first place.

Why do companies rebrand?

Maybe you’re dealing with a suddenly fierce competitor eating up your market share. Maybe your company is going in a different direction under new leadership, or following a merger. Or maybe you’re trying to distance yourself from something that had a negative impact on your brand.

Use your reason for rebranding to guide research into your customers, your competitors, and your company itself. To ensure you’re on the right track, let’s take a look at the most common fears around rebranding – and how to overcome them.


5 common fears about company rebranding 

It’s normal to have fears around rebranding, but they shouldn’t stop you from moving forward. Here are the most common fears, and a game plan for overcoming them.

1. What if your company isn’t recognizable after the rebrand?

You launch your rebrand to find that all chatter about your company suddenly stops. Even your repeat buyers slow down. Your rebrand went too far, and your company isn’t even recognizable anymore. It’s like you’re starting over, like no one even knows you exist.

That’s an extreme example, but it’s also a common fear – and for good reason. In 2009, Tropicana decided to overhaul their brand. They ditched the classic, recognizable orange and straw, for a simpler (read: blander) look.

Tropicana failed rebranding example

Not only did their customers dislike the new branding, some didn’t even recognize it! Tropicana was mistaken for a generic or cheap brand, and they saw a 20% drop in sales.

Overcome fears about being recognized by evolving, not overhauling

A brand that genuinely needs a complete overhaul is an anomaly. Company rebranding has to take your current brand equity into account. And there’s simply no reason to throw away your brand equity chasing the latest trend.

Think of your brand like a house. You don’t need to strip it to the studs to do a renovation. If your brand has “good bones,” don’t demolish it. Figure out what your brand means to people and what they do love about it before you start from scratch.

You can evolve your brand effectively, and a skilled rebranding agency will help with that. When it comes to something as important as your brand, there’s no need to go it alone. Call in the experts and let them draw a direct line from your brand’s past to its future.

2. What if you lose customers?

You launch a rebrand to win back a market that’s drifting in your competitors’ favor… only to send more of your customers away. You lose customers due to the rebrand, and then you have to make a decision: Do you bring the old brand back and hope the customers come back with it?

The stress of a rebrand doing exactly the opposite of what you need is terrifying. But it definitely happens. In fact, it’s impossible to find just one example of a rebrand causing a company to lose customers. Every failed company rebranding causes lower sales, and a loss of customers (even if it’s only for a little while).

Overcome fears about losing customers by diving into research

Failed rebrands damage customers’ trust. It’s as simple as that.

Cable company Comcast rebranded to “Xfinity” in an attempt to get away from their reputation of poor customer service. The problem was, they didn’t actually change the way customer service functioned. The rebrand alone did nothing to increase customer trust or boost the brand’s reputation.

Comcast - Xfinity logo after rebranding

Other rebrands fail simply because they don’t connect with customers. Take Tropicana. They didn’t figure out that customers loved their classic red and white striped straw sticking out of an orange until it was too late. Without consumer research, the rebranding operates on the preferences of the board, not the buyer. Don’t guess at what your customers want. Ask them, then listen. Your company rebranding efforts will be all the better for it.

3. What if it ends up costing more than it brings in?

You hire an agency. You sink money into packaging and signage and website redesign. You make this company rebranding project a huge line item in the budget. And when you finally reveal it to the world, it costs you money.

That’s what happened to Gap in 2010. They sunk an estimated $100 million dollars into a “rebrand.” Only two problems: They didn’t actually rebrand, and their customers hated the new logo so much, they changed it back in just 6 days.

Gap failed rebranding example

Rebranding is about so much more than a logo and font. It’s the whole look and feel of your customer experience. Branding is about who you are and what you stand for. Gap’s rebrand failed because there was no personality to it. The new brand had no heart, soul, or history. Customers that were used to the classic logo were confused and unhappy– who was this new company?

Overcome fears about cost by solidifying your strategy

Gap didn’t roll out their brand update over time. There was no announcement, no campaign, no build up or even warning that they were planning to rebrand. To their customers, at least, it looked like Gap literally changed overnight.

People don’t like to be caught off guard. And when it comes to brand loyalty, this is doubly true. Your customers are looking for consistency, so rebranding needs to be done in stages. Creating a launch plan is a key part of any rebranding checklist. Your company rebranding deserves building excitement, not shock and a sudden drop in sales.

4. What if employees leave due to the rebrand?

Attracting and retaining talent is hard for most companies. Branding can help, and company rebranding may even be done in an effort to bring top talent into the fold. But what if you rebrand and end up losing employees instead of attracting them?

While exact numbers are hard to pin down, that may be exactly what’s happening at Meta (formerly Facebook). Their rebrand attracted negative attention from both outside the company and inside it.

In 2018, Facebook claimed the #1 spot on Glassdoor’s list of Best Places to Work. In 2022, after their rebrand to Meta, they fell to #47. And since Glassdoor operates on feedback from current employees, it’s safe to say they’ve had quite a fall from grace.

2018 Facebook Glassdoor Review vs 2022 Meta Glassdoor Review

Overcome fears about losing talent by including your employees in the rebrand

Branding should never, ever happen in a vacuum. We’ve talked about customer research, but your research shouldn’t stop there. Include your employees in the conversation. Why did they choose to work for your company? Why are they passionate about your brand? Or, if they’re not passionate, why not?

Your company rebranding project is about creating company culture as much as anything else. When your employees align with your brand, they’re significantly more likely to stay with your company, rate you as a good place to work, and spread the news about your brand.

And in today’s digital landscape, positive word of mouth from your employees is some of the most powerful marketing out there. Make sure your rebrand is aligned with your values internally and externally, keeping your employees and stakeholders involved throughout the process.

5. What if the rebrand is weaponized against you?

Your competitors are as excited about your rebrand as you are. Within days of your launch, people start to tear your new brand apart. They Tweet about it, they make memes about it, and you’re suddenly a laughingstock.

“They’re under new management and it’s barely the same company.” “I heard the old place closed down and this is some new thing.” “They’re trying to cover up a scandal.” 

If your rebranding is not strategic and thoughtful, it could easily be used against you. So how do you prevent it?

Overcome fears about your brand being weaponized: Research, strategize, and take a stand

There are three phases to overcoming the fear of a rebrand being weaponized.

First, research. Research your customers, your competitors, and the market as a whole. Otherwise, you might make the mistake Mercedes-Benz did. They attempted to launch their brand in China as “Bensi,” only to learn that in Mandarin, that word means “rush to die.”

Second, strategize. You want to give people a chance to adjust, but you also want to give yourself a chance to unpack the brand with your audience. What does the new brand mean? Why are you moving in this direction? And why now?

Finally, make a clear action plan for bringing your new brand to the world. Customers should love and trust your brand, even if a rebranding is in order. To make clear you aren’t trying to break with the past but rather evolve it, a step by step launch strategy is critical. There are tons of creative ways to bring employees, customers, and stakeholders into the new brand, but you must be thoughtful about how it’s done.

Rebranding can be risky, but it’s also hugely rewarding. If you’re rebranding to align your company with its true mission, you’re on the right track. When your brand reflects your core values, you have nothing to worry about.

Flux LA Agency Rebranding IDEA Method

Flux Company Rebranding IDEA Method


Evolve and excel with company rebranding

Brands aren’t meant to last forever. Companies grow and shift and change. And even if the company remains more or less the same, the culture changes. The key to successful company rebranding is holding onto your roots while expanding into the future.

Bringing your company into the future is important work – so don’t let fear hold you back from it. If you want some guidance along the way, our branding agency in Los Angeles is here to help.

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