A company’s brand, logo and name is typically found on things like calendars, pencils and printed mugs, and it’s the face that the company presents to the world. As important as branding is, you’d think that companies would be more careful when building or rebuilding their brand—but many recent attempts have been nothing short of utter failure. Below, you’ll see some examples of branding gone wrong.
The Sci Fi Channel
When the Sci Fi channel premiered its new name, we think they forgot to look it up first. If they’d looked on a site like Urban Dictionary, they would have found out that “syfy”—their new name—is a slang term for the STD syphilis. The company said they changed the name so they could trademark it, and because it resembled text-speak. The public’s response was, not surprisingly, almost completely negative.
The PepsiCo subsidiary may have been just trying to revamp a classic, but they should have left well
enough alone. When they debuted their new cartons in the beginning of 2009, the backlash was so strong you could almost feel it. People called the new packaging “stupid”, “ugly”, and “generic”. After over a month of phone calls, social media lambasting and emails, Tropicana returned to the old carton design.
As electronics stores go, Radio Shack is probably one of the oldest—making its rebranding attempt that much more of a failure. Briefly known as “The Shack”, it was the company’s way of trying to be hip and stay relevant. Radio Shack almost threw away decades of accrued brand value here, but it didn’t last for long.
Here’s another example of a well-established company trying (and failing) to connect with younger, hipper customers. Sure, their “swoosh” was hip—back in the late 90s! The addition to the brand didn’t really add anything, it didn’t tell customers anything new about Capital One, and it had already been done countless times.
After their reputation took a serious hit due to some human-rights violations, the Blackwater company tried
to reinvent itself. They chose the name “Xe” because it had no prior meaning or negative connotations, but a mere name change wasn’t enough to erase the public’s memory of what had happened. It’s still commonly referred to as Blackwater, and still struggling to land new contracting jobs.
Necessity may be the mother of invention, but the rebranding attempts on this list (plus many more we don’t have time to mention) were totally unnecessary. The companies listed above pinned their hopes for success on their new names and images, but only ended up doing even more damage to their credibility and reputation.
About the author: Crispin Jones writes for UK Print Price, experts in promotional printed items and promotional gifts. Find out more: www.ukprintprice.com/