When Branding Goes Wrong Or If Rebranding Fails: Avoid These Mistakes

Why is brand identity essential for the success of your business? Let us answer this question with an example. If you have opened a small business, say, an energy drink. If your brand does not have an identity of its own, how will people recognize you or differentiate your business from other energy drink manufacturing companies?

Branding is not just about creating an attractive website, or a super trending campaign. It is an extension of your corporate identity and building loyalty among your customers.

Everybody will have their share of mistakes; even remarkable and established companies have made branding mistakes they later regretted and rectified. But if you’re a new brand, how will you know the right path? It is what it is—learn from the mistakes. Here, I’ve compiled a list of examples of a few branding mistakes from famous companies so that you don’t repeat similar errors.

Big Examples Of Top Failed Rebrands

London 2012 Olympics Logo Gone Wrong

London 2012 Olympics Logo Gone Wrong

A logo constitutes a significant part of the identity a business aims to establish. Maintaining a logo over the years can cultivate intense trust with the audience. However, in the 2012 London Olympics logo, the branding agency sought to redesign, rejecting the traditional rings in an attempt to “make people reconsider the Olympics, to think about them in a different way.” Unfortunately, it turned out to be an utter disaster. The logo was widely disagreed upon and considered disrespectful to London and the Olympics. The substantial criticism was centered on a key issue: people found it overly jazzy with abstract jagged shapes representing the numbers 2012, lacking any connection to London or the prestigious game.

Tropicana Orange Juice

Tropicana Orange Juice

The global juice giant Tropicana made a packaging update for their North American market to modernize the look and feel of Tropicana juice. In 2009, the company spent $35 million on the campaign, which turned out to be another big flat failure. The rebranding involved streamlining the brand mark and moving away from the image of an orange with a straw in it, instead opting to showcase just the glass of juice on the juice box cover. The change aimed to attract health-conscious consumers, but loyal customers felt that the brand makeover looked and felt cheapened. Many of them had an emotional connection with the straw-pierced orange. Tropicana ended up alienating its market, experiencing a 20% drop in sales. The company learned from their mistake and eventually reverted to the original packaging design.

Burger King

Burger King

In 2013, Burger King was eager to attract health-conscious eaters to their restaurants and introduced “Satisfries” – a new low-calorie French fry option. Satisfries boasted 30% fewer calories, but due to its difficult-to-pronounce name and higher price, it failed to attract any significant customer base. The key issue was that the people coming to the restaurant were not seeking healthier food options, but affordable fast food rendering the introduction of low-calorie fries largely irrelevant. Burger King also launched an edgy campaign with the hashtag ‘WTFF’ which stood for “What The French Fry,” but it did not resonate as expected. Consequently, most chains stopped selling this product less than a year after its introduction



The most famous soft drink, Coca-Cola, introduced a new formula in 1985 that turned into a legendary disaster. Feeling the pressure of losing market share to Pepsi, particularly with the success of Diet Coke, they made a momentous decision to abandon the old drink and introduce a new-flavored Coke. However, loyal Coke customers reacted strongly. They complained not only about the new taste but also the new marketing campaign. With sales struggling after 79 days, the company decided to accept the failure and reintroduce the old flavor. When the company hired a psychologist to listen to some of the complaints, they discovered that the callers sounded like they’d just lost a family member. Messing with the tradition of people’s memories of their youth and the classic taste proved to be a bad move for Coca-Cola.



When you hear this word, you likely associate it with dental hygiene products for your teeth. Our brains are wired to make this connection. However, did you know that in 1982, the business introduced Colgate Kitchen Entrees, a frozen food product chain? The reasoning behind this move was simple: the association of teeth-cleaning products with food. But can you accept the fact that the toothpaste giant was also involved in selling frozen food? Many customers couldn’t build trust in this new venture, and they experienced a steep decline in profits after introducing this failed endeavor.

Pepsi – Rebranding Logo Design


One of the biggest players in the soft drink industry, PepsiCo, is known for brand makeover once every decade. In the last rebrand in 2008, Pepsi released a new iteration of its iconic emblem. The old logo, with red, white, and blue, is etched in our minds, instantly reminding us of Pepsi. However, in the new emblem, they rotated the circular icon, and the white stripe is tilted upwards with the intention to resemble a cheeky smile. The new emblem cost around $1 million and stands as one of the best examples of how redesigning can take a wrong turn, even for a big company like Pepsi.

Common Mistakes To Avoid: Branding Fails

With the above examples, I hope you now know what can actually make a great brand drastically lose in the marketing game if not done properly. So here are a few things to keep in mind for your own brand when stepping into rebranding works.

1. Forgetting To Communicate With Your Target Audience

The business that you have is intended for the people it belongs to. You will lose the time and effort you put into making a business work if it does not effectively convey your vision.  Your visual identity should connect with the audience; they should be able to receive the message you want to deliver. So always make sure to think in the shoes of your customers, it’s their perception that matters.

The best part is to let your audience know who you are. Try by verbalizing your company’s vision, purpose, values, and mission. This way, you can realign your business’ core principles with your brand identity, and it will reflect in your visual identity.

Why do you think people stress the importance of having a great logo as an important aspect of the business? The best step is to unveil a new one if you’re planning to redo the whole branding. The emphasis on having a great emblem lies in its role as a key visual element representing a brand’s identity. Moving forward with a new brand mark that retains similarities to the existing one helps maintain the core values established with potential customers. The final version of the logo should be an important element, in the overall aspects of a brand.

Take the case of the popular fashion brand “GAP.” The clothing powerhouse GAP’s attempt to transform its standard brand mark into something more modern featuring Helvetica lettering over a small blue box. However, this change failed to capture the interest of its customers and ended up costing GAP 100 million to revert the logo back to the original.

3. Creating A Limited Visual Identity For A Great Brand

Like I’ve said before, having a proper visual identity is a great way to to be recognizable for a long term. Before going with a visual theme, understanding your audience is a key step. Analyzing your customer’s interests, and expectations can help you get started on how to create a spectacular visual identity.

Don’t make the visual theme to be unappealing. You don’t need to give the freelance designers a comprehensive guide, but the basic guidelines are sufficient to making something attractive, and perfect, which includes:

  • Typography and Fonts
  • Photography
  •  Logo
  • Hierarchy
  • Colors
  • Iconography
  • Illustration
  •   Video
  • Interactive elements
  • Web design

4. Choosing The Wrong Color

The right color choice is very crucial while branding as it resonates with your brand image and values. Colors denote various human emotions, and the use of the correct color will generate and trigger the right kind of emotions in the audience.

(Source: Google Images)

When you have to infuse the brand design with brand strategy, you need to pick the right color palette that complements your brand message. Brighter colors resonate with energy and power, while lighter shades and pastel hues give a modern and fresh look. Therefore, choose a color that brings life to your brand image.

5. Poor Typography

One of the most important parts of a design is Typography. You can make your brand stand out if you choose the right font and size. Investing in a good font for your logo can either convey the brand message or hinder your brand experience. If things are cluttered, overwhelming, and indecipherable, it results in a poor and unsatisfied user experience.

To ensure that the typography is readable, you should carefully select the correct font pairing for your platform. The most common font pairing is Times New Roman, 12 pt in Bold, which is used by popular brands and is easy to understand.

6. Imitating The Competitors

Why are you branding your business? Your purpose is to stand out among your adversaries. This is another common mistake that designers make is to replicate the adversaries’ design. If your top rival in the market is launching a new product or has designed a new logo, you are vulnerable to falling into the trap of doing the same. Also, if you and your adversaries share the same language, it can confuse the audience.

Final Thoughts

By focusing on the essential design elements, you can improve your overall branding and also render a consistent set of experiences and expectations to your audience. Even a slight mistake in your branding by designers can disrupt your efforts in a different direction.

If you catch your designers making the above-mentioned branding mistakes, you can rectify them before they start impacting your brand image. To become a strong brand, you have to start with a proper plan of how to stand out from the rest and be visible to your audience.  I would love to hear if this article has helped you in any way.

Would you like to avoid these pitfalls in general? Take a look at our unlimited graphic design service, where our team is masterfully trained to create graphics for just about any project you could imagine.

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