What Motivated These Companies to Rebrand During COVID-19?

COVID-19 disrupted everyone’s lives and prompted businesses to restructure – while some had to change their business strategies, others were forced to pivot and diversify to stay in the game.

But some businesses took a different tack: rebranding in the midst of the pandemic. Rebranding is generally not the first strategy considered when execs need to steer their companies back on track – but it’s one the Mutant design team often advocates for.  So when we noticed all this branding, we asked questions like, “Why did they rebrand?” and “How would a brand refresh help them navigate through the pandemic?”

Rebranding in such turbulent times is a big move. Let’s look at three businesses that  it did and the key lessons we can learn from them:

The Self-Discovery of Burger King

Image credit: Designboom

Okay, Burger King revealed its fresh (retro?) look in January 2021,but the work most likely began in the middle of 2020. Though the fast-food chain has never stopped releasing head-turning ads over the past 20 years, its visual identity has suffered since the last rebrand. In our opinion, it was outdated, unmemorable, and unappetizing. So, yes – it was time to rebrand before it lost top-of-mind awareness  from its increasingly visually-driven audience. 

The question is, “why now?”

Here’s what the brand and its agency said about their rebranding exercise:
“For Burger King’s first global rebrand in more than two decades, we set out to make the brand feel less synthetic and artificial, and more real, crave-able and tasty. We were inspired by the brand’s original logo and how it has grown to have an iconic place in culture. The new logo pays homage to the brand’s heritage with a refined design that’s confident, simple and fun.”

This retro-inspired visual identity is a stroke of genius; the logo and brand typeface are so lovably chunky and the revised colour palette evokes a juicy and delicious burger. We could almost taste a Whopper when we looked at the new design. In a time when we interact with screens more than ever before, there’s no doubt that Burger King made the right choice.

Go Daddy Gets with the Times

Image credit: Creative Bloq

Go Daddy had its fair share of controversy in its early years, most notably for their suggestive commercials. There was a time when “sex sells” was an acceptable way of generating interest for businesses, but times have changed for the better – and Go Daddy needed to change its brand messaging or risk being canceled. And change it did.

In 2020, GoDaddy unveiled its new look and voice. According to the company’s own tweet, “Our new logo, the GO, is all about empowering you—the everyday entrepreneur—to do what you love. Go after your dreams and make ’em real, knowing we’re here to help every step of the way.”

Visually, GoDaddy’s new look may not be groundbreaking, but the shift in the brand messaging is a fine example of a holistic rebrand: from a loud, shouty web domain provider that made unsavoury impressions to a brand seeking to empower “everyday entrepreneurs”. Some might say GoDaddy lost its quirk and personality, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Everyone grows up.

Julie’s Shot in a Rapidly Digitised World

Image credit: The Drum

Let’s look at a brand closer to home. Julie’s is a 35 year-old biscuit brand from Malaysia, and whether you like their biscuits or not, it’s considered a household name in its home country. So it’s safe to assume that everyone noticed the makeover. The question is, why?

According to its brand director (the son of the brand’s founder), the pandemic spurred the brand to futureproof itself by going digital. The result of this rebranding exercise resulted in a total makeover and a reorganisation of their product portfolio. 

Visually-speaking, Julie’s was long overdue for a facelift. We believe that the new look is more digital-friendly and appealing to the younger generation, and we’re excited to see how a legacy brand like Julie’s will leverage a new look to achieve  brand vitality that will help it stay present in local households.

Now that the global pandemic is slowing, you may be wondering, “is this the right time to rebrand?” The answer is simply, “it depends”. Did you rediscover what made your brand so lovable during the pandemic? Have recent events caused you to reevaluate the marketing direction that worked in the past? Did your company experience an organisational change that brought along a new set of goals and values? If your answer to any of these questions is “yes”, then yes, you should consider rebranding.

At Mutant, we can do more than just giving brands a makeover. Our team can help you troubleshoot your brand and find out what connects with your audience. Drop us an email at [email protected] to learn what we can do to help.

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