Corporate rebranding occurs when the future of one’s business no longer matches that of the past, and customer and stakeholder perceptions haven’t shifted to meet this new expectation. There are many factors affecting the decision for a company to undergo a complete rebrand. This includes immediate and progressive changes facing the internal and external environment.
Let’s get one thing clear: corporate rebranding cannot be accomplished by picking a new favorite color. Ultimately, visual branding is meaningless unless it reflects the updated brand vision. The brand vision should align with company values, goals and its mission. There must be a clear process for discovering the root of the need to change and developing a strategy around the new vision.
Why Consider Corporate Rebranding?
A rebrand is no small feat. Businesses often decide to refresh their identity during a major shift influenced by internal and external factors:
- Undergoing a merger or acquisition
- Entering a new market
- Feeling pressure from new market entrants
- Launching a new product or service
- Experiencing a change in leadership and/or investors
In other cases, it becomes apparent that a brand has been neglected for a long time when corporate goals no longer align with brand strategy. Employees become disengaged, and culture wanes. It can be a challenge to attract top talent with ineffective branding.
The most obvious signal to rebrand can be the loss of customer interest when a value proposition weakens. Changing customer needs, macro forces and trends shaping the competitive landscape, losing relevance and/or discovering opportunities through new technologies are all examples of gradual and impactful factors that can generate the necessity for a rebrand.
Finally, a well-executed rebrand should be disruptive and “all in”, developed from the inside out. Thus gaining stakeholder buy-in is crucial for the brand to reflect the changing business strategy. There is always a reason for a rebrand; from reinventing the way a company fundamentally operates to resonating with one’s target market.
GOOGLE: A new logo with a purpose
One month after Google announced that it was restructuring its organization in a major way on August 10, 2015, the search engine giant revealed its updated branding. The new logo remains a wordmark, using a simpler sans-serif typeface known as Product Sans. The new look appears more modern, approachable and youthful. This update represents a succession of change and strategic decision-making that has long been taking place throughout the company.
Google became a wholly owned subsidiary of Alphabet, the holding company to Google’s vast array of operations. The intention behind Alphabet was to allow the many previous subsidiaries of Google Inc. to have independence and their own brands. Larry Page and Sergey Brin have had a vision from the beginning: to revolutionize. The co-founders strive to continuously innovate and to steer Google away from the path to becoming a conventional company.
Divide and Conquer
By separating projects that are not directly related to Google’s traditional internet related business, the CEO and President of Alphabet can now enjoy greater flexibility to innovate, scale and keep investors happy. This includes Alphabet’s drone delivery, urban innovation, geopolitical technology, medical devices, longevity research, smart home appliances, fibre-optic cable, driverless car operations, and more. As a result, Google can now focus on being Google.
To this day, Google is still Alphabet’s biggest asset, including the core web search business, and products such as Chrome, Android, Pixel, Google Home and Google Play which are led by CEO Sundar Pichai, and its subsidiary YouTube, which is led by Susan Wojcicki. The core mission of Google is still to organize the world’s information. However, new opportunities in technology have arrived, and users are engaging with Google on various platforms. The new logo allows for integration across phones, tablets, TVs, smartwatches, and cars, in addition to desktop computers. Therefore, Google is meeting this new multi-device reality with updated branding.
The organizational change of Google Inc. to Alphabet Inc. aligns with the overarching business goals for all of the parent company’s individual projects. Consequently, Google’s latest logo is a product of its new brand vision as a subsidiary of Alphabet, which reflects the values and mission of its core business, independent of the goals of the many other businesses under Alphabet’s umbrella.