Quill feather

4 Examples of Rebranding (and what we can learn from them)

Rebranding can be a tricky business. It’s hard to predict how consumers will respond when you change something they’ve grown accustomed to. Sometimes, it pays off big time (see: Dunkin’ Donuts becoming Dunkin’), and sometimes, not so much (we’re looking at you Gap). 

In this blog post, we’ll take a look at four major brands that have undergone the rebranding process, explore how each rebranding effort was approached, and see what worked for them (and what didn’t). Plus, we’ll look at three of Quill’s successful rebranding projects from our portfolio.

Canada Dry Rebrand Review

Canada Dry has been doling out ginger ale greatness since 1904, so it’s safe to say they’ve got major brand equity. When a brand has an established history and a loyal customer following, rebranding can be a tightrope walk. How do you keep hold of the brand equity you’ve built up but still feel like you’re offering a fresh new vibe to remain relevant? 

With over two decades of the same product packaging and visual identity, Canada Dry’s logo design started feeling a little stuck in the early aughts. Think splashy, youthful, and heavy on the bubbly special effects. So the Canada Dry rebrand efforts focused on updating their recognizable brand elements like the shield and crown logo and their signature green to reflect more modern tastes while still nodding to the brand’s legacy.

Ultimately, Canada Dry’s new branding leans into a “modern retro” trend that has flourished across the beverage industry. Since the updated logo is a callback to past eras, it feels subtle and nostalgic while appealing to our current cultural sensibilities.

Burger King Rebrand Review

Burger King also hopped on the retro revival train, updating their brand in 2021 (the first time in over 20 years). Like Canada Dry, their previous logo design and visual elements had a distinctly 2000s look–infused with dimension, motion, and busy energy. Their rebrand sought to retain its brand equity while paying homage to the iconic place the Burger King brand image has held in American culture for decades.

The Burger King rebrand pulls off modern 70s seamlessly, fusing a contemporary mindset with a nostalgic playfulness that appeals to customers across demographics. With flat graphics, a thick, curvy font, and a vibrant and mouth watering color palette, Burger King successfully introduced a full-scale rebrand at every touchpoint—from logo and packaging to marketing materials, employee uniforms, and more.

Kia Rebrand Review

When Kia debuted their new logo and brand identity  in 2021, designers and branding experts were split down the middle on whether it was a stroke of genius or an outright design crime. Some liked this new, more evolved Kia with a sleeker, more stylized logo design and luxury-evoking monochromatic white-on-black color scheme. Some lamented its seeming unreadability, noting that it was nearly unrecognizable as Kia, which they saw as a blow to their brand equity. In fact, one Twitter user noted that over the course of the year following the Kia rebrand, over thirty thousand people a month were searching “KN car” every month, suggesting that people simply had no idea what Kia’s new logo even said!

But what if that was the point?

In the past few decades, Kia’s reputation in the car market began to falter with consumers as it developed a reputation as a budget car—lower tier, somewhat unreliable, with an overall “cheap” look and feel. But Kia has changed a lot in the last 20 years, improving quality, focusing on sustainability and technology, and producing some downright great cars. This meant a change of perspective was required, and dramatically rebranding has started nudging customer perception of the brand in a new direction of attainable luxury.

Beachbody Rebrand Review

The first couple of years of the COVID-19 pandemic reshaped the fitness industry in a big way. People were pivoting to all new ways of working on their fitness, and an increased emphasis on overall wellness and health at any size found a foothold in our cultural landscape. Combine the effects of the pandemic with a cultural backlash against multi-level marketing companies, and Beachbody found themselves with a rapidly decreasing customer base and plummeting stocks.

This prompted a complete Beachbody rebrand, starting from the ground up, and in late 2022, Beachbody shed its old name and officially became BODi. No longer wanting to conjure up images of six packs, toned bikini bellies, and hardcore workouts, Beachbody’s move to BODi seeks to embrace the popular body positivity movement and focus on celebrating fitness for all types of bodies. To go along with their new name, they created a new digital platform and introduced their new #HealthEsteem campaign, which rejects past fitness and diet culture.

Will BODi’s new approach yield the results they are looking for? This one might take some patience. While the fitness industry has shifted gears into a more holistic, body-positive approach to health, BODi has an uphill climb to overcome the negative connotations they have come to be associated with. They will have to work hard to prove their authenticity and show their customers that they aren’t just trying to capitalize on new trends for the sake of their shareholders.

Quill’s approach to rebranding

Like everything we do at Quill, we approach any rebranding process with a strategy-first mindset. There are many reasons you might consider a rebrand, but no matter what the reasons might be, we’ll always start by getting the full scope of your current brand–the history of your company, your competition, customers, visuals, mission, vision, and all of your attributes and features. After we get a good sense of where you’re starting, we figure out how to get you where you want to go! 

Take a look at some of our favorite rebrand projects we’ve worked on. And when you’re ready to talk about how rebranding could help your business, let’s chat!

Pillars Rebrand Strategy

In 2018, the Fox Valley Warming Shelter merged with Homeless Connections and the Housing Partnership of the Fox Cities. The three organizations came together to become Pillars and needed a rebrand that incorporated the mission and spirit of the three organizations merging into one.

Over the course of their existence, these three organizations had individually been a place of support. We knew that these roots would always be the foundation for their collective brand story, and with them now working together, we found that the name Pillars would be fitting. We then created a visual solution that would be approachable, supportive, and strong.

View the full case study for Pillars.

Fork Farms Rebrand Strategy

Fork Farms is a midwest hydroponic farming technology startup that came to Quill Creative Studio wanting to reinvent its brand image to scale with its growing company without losing any brand equity. Guided by their existing brand positioning, the brand strategists and designers at Quill were able to evolve the Fork Farms brand identity, creating a fresh, clean design that flows through every touchpoint.

View the full Fork Farms case study.

The Waters Rebrand Strategy

This historic venue and original home to the Oshkosh Yacht Club had decades of brand equity built, but its current visual identity also was due for a refresh in order to keep up with modern sensibilities. The brand design team at Quill Creative Studio took a minimally invasive approach to refresh The Water’s identity, aiming to give their brand a more sophisticated, contemporary feel without losing the essence of its long legacy in the area.

View the full The Waters case study.

We hope you enjoyed our review and analysis of some recent major rebrands and the sneak peeks we provided into some of the rebranding work that the team at Quill Creative Studio has crafted. The power of reinvention is incredible, for individuals and businesses alike. If these inspiring examples left you ready to start on your own rebranding initiatives, we'd love to talk! Take the first step towards a fresh identity and get in touch to kickstart your own remarkable transformation.