Brand Design
Digital Marketing
New Coke
Strategic Branding

Rebranding: How to Avoid a “New Coke”

The Tribe
March 31, 2015

It seems like only yesterday that Coca-Cola came out with the greatest (or so they thought) invention of the last century: New Coke.

It really wasn’t all that exciting or all that different from Coke Classic. Sure it was a little sweeter and had a little more bite to it, and some people really enjoyed it. But really, was it a completely ‘new’ Coke? Well, after an extreme public outcry they decided to bring back Coke Classic, and then phased out New Coke altogether.

Coke tried. They really did. They did their research. They performed focus groups; they had mountains of data to go off of saying that this rebranding would be successful. But… It wasn’t. This fumble cost millions of dollars and gave Coke marketing lovers something to joke about for decades.

Is your brand ready for a not-so-catastrophic New Coke, and how can you ensure that you won’t have to bring back your classic recipe?

Why It Failed

Chances are, and I’m just speculating here, that your company isn’t as big as Coca-Cola. Forgive me if I’m wrong, but your company probably hasn’t been around since 1886, either. These facts were really at the heart of Coke’s problem.

The company took a brand that people knew and loved, a brand that was familiar, and completely destroyed it. Sure, they kept their color scheme and name, they retained the same font they were using, too, but they destroyed something much more important: memories.

The memories that people had of sipping cokes with their grandfathers, going down to the drugstore and buying a coke when they were a kid, all gone. Replaced, if you will, by this new, foreign brand of soft drink. But it didn’t have to be this way.

What You Can Do to Avoid a ‘New Coke’

You might not have the immense following that Coke does, but your customers are just as important, and they have memories with you too. Maybe it’s the first time they came into your store: maybe it was the smell, maybe it was the interaction they had with your sales representative, but more than likely, it’s your brand as a whole.

Your brand has been around for X number of years, and you want to make sure that you keep the customer base that you’ve formed over that time. But, when your growth starts to become stagnant, that’s when you might need to think about a rebrand. It doesn’t have to be anything major, at least at first. Maybe start with a new logo or color scheme. Take your old website and give it a facelift. But don’t make every single change at once. When your entire business shifts, your customers notice, and they usually don’t like it. If you can take tiny steps to improve your business and rebrand one step at a time, then your customers will notice in a good way, and they’ll probably start talking about it.

New look, new customers, and a rebranding well-done: your own successful ‘New Coke.’

Do you want to avoid a New Coke fiasco? Sure you do, but you also want your business to live up to its potential. Well, that’s where Tribu comes in. Web site redesign? We can do that. Logo revamp? Consider it done. Click the button below to view some of our previous projects, and then give us a call. We’ll help you get your business into the digital age while sidestepping all those nasty bumps in the road.

After all, digital marketing is our bread and butter.

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