Talking Rebrands - Part 1: Burgerking

Talking Rebrands - Part 1: Burgerking Burgerking1 2

Burger King

For the first time in twenty years, fast food giant, Burger king decided to take on a rebrand with a revamped logo, packaging, and uniforms. The focal point of the rebrand was the logo and instead of the logo they used through the 2000s, their rebrand looked strikingly similar to the logo Burger King used through the 70s, 80s, and 90s. The goal was “to pay homage to the brand’s heritage with a refined design that’s confident, simple and fun”. The root of the rebrand is centered on their renewed commitment to digital centric expression, improvements to food quality, and environmentally minded decision-making.

The reduction in elements of the logo makes the logo more versatile because it can be displayed at a wider variety of sizes on a wide array of devices. Reducing the complexity and taking out the slant on the old text and asymmetrical blue swoosh give the logo more uses through marketing material. The new typeface maintains its bold weight, with much more rounded and natural-looking edges with hopes of capturing the organic shapes of their ingredients. This is also reflected in their more neutralized color palette. Using more earth tones amplifies the essence of natural ingredients and being environmentally aware.

Their packaging and new advertisements is reminiscent of the minimalist approach that McDonald’s recently took on with their new advertising, but with a more neutral color palette. Replacing the vibrant primary colors with earthy tones captures a new sense of authenticity and creates more brand separation between them and their counterparts. As you observe their new verbiage in their advertisements and slogans on packaging, it is clear that they are trying to be more transparent. “No secrets in our sauce” and “bring napkins, get messy” are simple phrases, but carry a lot of nostalgia and playfulness. This is very important in maintaining relationships with the consumer because it builds on that level of trust and authenticity. The ebb and flow of the typeface mirrors those of rivers or trails and adds to their more proclamation of environmental awareness. 

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This was also reflected in their actions as they played advertisements bringing awareness to climate change and the current state of the horrors within livestock industry. Furthermore, they removed all artificial preservatives from the whopper in February of 2020. Creating visual and physical changes that are completely in accordance is a difficult, but important aspect of rebranding. Mirroring the removal of preservatives from the Whopper through the visual addition of the earth tones and natural-feeling font should prove to be successful over time. This is because the same idea is reinforced through the stimulation of multiple senses for the consumer.

For commercial giants, it seems to be no secret that minimalism will play a role in every big players adaptation to the present. Perhaps this is because as our world is becoming more digital every day, design needs to keep up with the constantly evolving screen sizes that mobile applications and digital ads need to be displayed on. It could also be the recent shifts in social climate that we have seen resulting from the pandemic, black lives matter movement, and massive shift towards going mobile & e-commerce. Regardless, It’s no coincidence that both Burger King & McDonald’s rebrands have drawn comparisons to Apple.

Talking Rebrands - Part 2: Slack

Talking Rebrands - Part 2: Slack Slack1 2

Slack

In the same vein of thought, Slack is a good example of a company that had to adapt to their increasingly digital surroundings with a logo and color palette update. Going digital, means that you need a logo with elements that can be used independently of each other, broken down, and reconstructed. Their original logo had 11 colors in it and while it looks good on white backgrounds, they quickly realized that it is very hard to adapt and does not play well on a variety of surfaces. Slack had to use a different icon for every application and they were all different from the original logo. This doesn’t promote a cohesive brand, and can leave consumers thinking they were all from different companies.

Furthermore, the 18 degree angle that the octothorpe rests on was also highly problematic because the style did not translate to be represented vertically or of much use from a creative perspective. Their new color palette and design were reduced from the original, to maintain some essence of the brand, but ended up amplifying the number of ways that it could be used; true mastery of the less-is-more ideology. The droplets and lozenges (shape elements of new logo) were created so that they can be repurposed into a wider reaching visual identity. For example, here are two of the advertisements they released that would only be successful with the new logo.

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There are no elements in the old logo that could be this easily recognized and ascribed to the company. However, it should be noted that even though the logic for the rebrand all makes sense, that does not guarantee a calm, cool, and collected public acceptance. As a matter of fact, the public immediately rejected their rebrand and received much backlash on social media, drawing comparisons from the google photos pinwheel, the draw-4 uno card, random medical groups, and many other memes. However, with the popularity of social media, companies will just have to accept that perhaps, not everything will be accepted immediately from the jump. Slacks rebrand, was not necessarily wanted, but rather needed. This goes to show that not every rebrand is built out of necessity to capitalize off current trends or adapt with the social landscape. Their rebrand originated from the marketing teams inability to create quality & cohesive material with their old logo. Being able to evolve with the increasingly digital space was just a perk found through the process, but even if we did live in a world of mostly print material, a rebrand was absolutely necessary.

Talking Rebrands - Part 3: Dominos

Talking Rebrands - Part 3: Dominos Dominos1 1

Domino's Pizza

In my humble opinion, Dominos has had one of the must successful rebrand campaigns in the 21st century. From being laughed at, and nationally recognized as the worst pizza chain in the early 2000s, Dominos decided to take some action around 2010 in launching their “Pizza Turnaround” campaign. They devised an ad that explained the tactics that they used to make their pizza look so much better than it did in person, and even ran national taste tests against pizza hut and papa johns with new recipes. These worked wonders for their perception of being transparent and genuine.

One of every company’s most prominent goals through the branding process is earning the trust of your target audience and this did exactly that. Not only did they launch a better tasting recipe with this campaign, but they secured a 14.3% increase in revenue from it. Seeing those returns in just a sales quarter, this prompted rebranding efforts to revolutionize not only their pizza and packaging, but also the way they provide their service. That’s right, they went on to develop the pizza tracker to give their customers the exact time of their pizza delivery once again bringing the customer experience to the forefront. On top of that, they redesigned their pizza delivery cars to keep the pizzas fresher, and created the concept of Carryout insurance just in case something happens to it before you’re able to enjoy it. Dominos continues to strengthen community relations today through their campaign to fill in local potholes with a fund they’ve created. 

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Back to the physical rebrand though, readability and transcendence across platforms were again 2 motivating factors in the domino rebrand as well. Their original logo is large and clunky, while also difficult to ready because the words are rotated and confined to under half of the original mark. In order to truly have an icon represent their brand, they had to take the word out of the icon itself, and shorten the name to save face. This translates to the Internet much better because their icon or name can now be recognized independently outside of the original logo. Domino’s Pizza chief marketing officer said in a press release, “We’d like to reach the point where we’re recognized as the Nike swoosh or Golden arches”. This adds credibility to the idea that companies are learning from industry leaders and adapting many of their same thought processes throughout their brand adaptation.

Packaging seems like an afterthought in the branding process, when really it should always be in the forefront of the discussion. Dominos knew that their old boxes were unoriginal and bland, so they turned their new logo into their boxes. This helps the new logo get a foothold with Domino’s consumers and also infuses its own bold sense of creativity.

Through self-deprecation and, at times, cringe worthy honesty, dominos has run one of the most successful rebrands of this century. From 2009 to 2017 Dominos more than doubled their revenue and surpassed its competitors in market share, and all they had to do was listen to their consumers. They listened when they were told that their pizza was bad, and they walked the walk by showing their customers how they were going to change and even asking for their help throughout the process.

Talking Rebrands - Part 4: Sears

Talking Rebrands - Part 4: Sears Sears1 2

Sears

When going mobile and developing an app, it is almost completely necessary to have a symbol outside of your company’s name to represent it. However, Adding an icon to the name has not always gone well, as Sears found out in 2019. With sales plummeting in recent years due to rise in e-commerce and further hindered by the coronavirus, they decided to give their 2010 logo a reboot. Emboldening the font, and adding an icon to encapsulate the ideas of “home and heart”. Seems like a good idea from the outside except for one thing: the symbol looked IDENTICAL to the icon that Airbnb adopted in 2014.

In response to the criticism, Sears released a statement explaining their rationale: "The new icon was created to represent both home and heart, this shape also conveys motion through an infinity loop, reminiscent of one getting their arms around both home and life. The rings, like those of a tree trunk, show longevity. With home and heart at the center, the rings radiate and grow to encompass our broad assortment of products and services." In my opinion, any logo that attempts to incorporate an infinity loop is doomed to be cliché, but nevertheless this statement did resolve much of the anger that they plagiarized the logo. Additionally, the emboldening of the typeface was successful in helping the logo work on any screen size because the thin font is tough to read on a small interface.

The final element of their physical rebrand was a new slogan: “making moments matter”. This slogan was intended for their target audience: baby boomers and young families. This makes a lot of sense in accordance with their campaign to shut down some of the large stores, and open up a bunch of smaller stores centered around home + life. Just because it makes sense on paper, doesn’t mean that will directly translate in sales. I believe they should have taken a more customer-centric approach with their rebrand and done more integration with e-commerce. Time will tell if their efforts will prevail, or if they will go under.

Talking Rebrands - Part 5: Coors

Talking Rebrands - Part 5: Coors Coors1 2

Coors

The Coors rebrand is an interesting study because their goal was to evolve the public’s perception of their character as well as visually.  With the ultimate goal of cracking into the top 3 or 4 premium beers on an international scale, removing the “light” from Coors light, and adding the blue mountains were just the beginning of their transformation. Their marketing department acted on the results of studies that showed consumers found their new branding “more distinctive and appealing”. Even though the blue mountain adaptation caught some slack for being similar to Evian, it does give Coors an icon to rely on for their mobile and digital presence.

Malcolm Gladwell once said, “There can be as much value in the blink of an eye as in months of rational analysis”.  While Coors was right to have their marketing department run studies garnering opinions of their new brand, they were also smart to think on a surface level by choosing an Icon that they embedded multiple associations with. On their bottles, Coors created a mountains icon to turn blue when the beer was cold enough to properly enjoy. This is ingenious because now anytime a returning consumer sees the Blue Mountains, it stimulates memories of waiting for the beer to become as “cold as the Rockies”. Now your perception of the company and its brand encapsulates your entire experience of enjoying the beer.

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Another dimension of brand evolution that we have seen during this has been their pivot to marketing to express their values in this move also with the Coors Seltzer mission to save America’s rivers. In today’s climate, being able to evolve for the digital realm, visually reflect positive values, and innovate simultaneously, is about all you can ask for in a rebrand.  Lets take a step back and look at what can be learned from this process. One thing to certainly come back to is having a legitimate reason for the redesign. Simply undertaking a rebrand because you become bored and tired of looking at the same logo is simply not a good idea.  It runs the risks of unnecessary spending, unrecognizability, and public backlash with the disadvantage of not being able to defend it. Be careful not to underestimate the emotional attachment that a consumer may have with an old brand logo. The pros for the rebrand, must outweigh those alone. Brand evolutions should be a gradual process that happens naturally as the culture, environment, and public needs shift over time.

Another common trend, was adapting to the desktop and mobile experience. Maintaining brand standards across screens of all sizes is a hard thing to do. And if your logo wasn’t built with that kind of malleability from the jump then it may be impossible without a rebrand. Every company that has an app needs to be recognizable in the form of an icon, and every company with a website has to have a brand identity that is fluent across the largest computers and smallest phones. Often, in order to achieve this the logo will have to undergo some degree of simplification, while maintaining originality.

2022 SEO Trends

Keeping your company at the top of the list   

Predicting the future is hard, but keeping up with trends and modern technology can certainly help you prepare for what’s next. This is important with regards to every nearly aspect of digital marketing, and especially website maintenance and search engine optimization. Looking forward to this upcoming year it will be important to refine your current process and adapt to the changes going on around us in the digital world. Here are some early observations of what may change in 2021 regarding how we understand and implement proper SEO mechanisms.  

SERP ANALYSIS: We predict that as Google’s algorithms continue to adapt and become more complex, there will be less focus placed on writing a meta description for all pages on a site, but rather more of a focus on SERP (Search Engine Results Pages) / Searcher intent. This is because over time Google’s search engine is becoming increasingly better at truly identifying what a user is searching for. This will favor sites that render & stabilize quickly, and avoid sites that force pop-ups, registrations, & immediate payments. Rather than only focusing on your product, Google is will focus more on what exactly the user is looking for. For companies to best adapt to these aspects of the evolving algorithm more focus should be placed on the on-site journey of organically gathered leads and the keywords on the pages that the most time is spent on.  

BEHAVIORAL ANALYTICS: One of the shifts we are seeing from the Covid-19 pandemic is that a landscape that is constantly changing renders traditional keyword patterns useless. Rather than keyword research, we may see more resources allocated towards first-party user research. This is collected directly from your audience made up of customers, site visitors, and social media impressions. More specifically, data in your CRM, surveys, chat bots, and customer feedback will become more important for optimizing the user’s experience. Strong customer support services, relevant post content, and a highly functional FAQ page will get customers the information they are looking for and boost your SEO.  

**we should put an emphasis on adding more FAQ-esque content to blog posts and media we publish** 

NATURAL LANGUAGE PROCESSING: Keyword frequency and ramping up quantity is becoming more outdated by the day, and quality content that is more in accordance with what users are actually typing into the search engine is moving to the forefront. Increasing and optimizing pages readability will become increasingly more important to create separation from your competitors. In a similar realm of thought, higher quality images will be rewarded with better SEO results. Using images that are at least 1200px wide will boost your ranking on Google discover, because they have a higher click-rate than thumbnails.  

CORE WEB VITALS AND PAGE EXPERIENCE OPTIMIZATION: With a heavier focus on user experience for SEO in 2021, it would be foolish to continue overlooking page experience metrics. There will be a shift towards utilizing tools such as Crux API & Lighthouse to identify what aspects of your page has the most influence on the users experience. There will be a shift towards creating with features such as scroll trigger animations or high quality media to better engage users.  

LONG FORM CONTENT: Publishing longer content not only links more keywords to your site but when you appeal to Google’s E-A-T guidelines, you will be outranking your competitors in no time. E.A.T is an acronym for Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness (or Page Quality), and it boils down to creating content that your audience loves. This is much easier to do when your blogs are closer to 2,000 – 3,000 words rather than 1,000. It is important to keep the content digestible so we would further recommend breaking it down with subheadings. Reevaluating your target audience and observing trends relevant in that focus group and industry is crucial for creating content your base will read.  

LINKS & LONG-TAIL KEYWORDS: There will always be rumors of backlinks being a figment of the past but as of this year, Google still sure seems to care a lot about them. To further coincide with Google’s acclaimed E-A-T guidelines, including more links to relevant websites and citing sources is always a good thing. The hard part is getting other sites to link to yours, so a bit of industry research will go a long way for those regards. Perhaps guest writing blogs for companies adjacent to yours is a good starting point. Long tail keywords are becoming increasingly more important too because of their high conversion rate and the fact that almost half of the searches on Google are local. Increases in voice search queries are also longer and more conversationally driven, so making use of conversational content would also be a good thing to be mindful of. A good source of long-tail keywords is Google suggestions and it’s variations.  

In general, the trends are shifting more from industry relevant SEO to consumer centric SEO and will come to benefit the best user experiences and most relevant information. Make small incremental changes to your SEO management and develop process plans that lay out an efficient system. No need to tear down the old process, but rather shift the balance in where you spend your time making updates and changes. 

Talking Rebrands - An Introduction

Brands are required to constantly evolve in order to keep up with the times. There can be many motivating factors that lead a brand to evolve such as social influences, current trends, adapting with technology, or simply just becoming too outdated over time. Great brands understand that it is important to balance the company’s core identity with the customers’ wants and needs. This is particularly difficult because a consumer is constantly having conscious and subconscious reactions when experiencing your brand. However, in terms of changes the brand needs to make, you don’t even always need a complete overhaul, but rather a modification or update. These are called brand-extensions, and this is what most large companies will do over time to preserve the essence of what they have represented in the past, while keeping up with the times.

For example, in 1994, Starbucks’ decided to begin selling their Frappuccinos in other stores such as convenient stores and grocery stores. This would quickly become  a good example of a positive brand stretch because Starbucks began competing in a market outside of its own walls. They did this to reach a larger audience and prove to the market that it can create the best tasting product anywhere, not just in their physical locations. Typically when companies do something like this, they run the risk of diluting their brand. If you expand to a new market and aren’t the top dog there, it hurts your companies reputation in every market that it currently exists in. On the other hand, not growing at all is the negative outcome on the other side of the spectrum because you can never be too stagnant in an economy that’s constantly growing and evolving.

Whether you realize it or not, there are different preconceived standards for companies based on their size and niche in the market. In general, smaller companies are thought of as having more conscientious, environmentally friendly, and humanitarian brands. While this seems like a disadvantage to the big players, I can assure you there is no need to worry on their behalf. They have the advantage of more revenue, which allows you to do things that smaller companies cannot. For example, Starbucks had the resources to offer more benefits for its employees or run more advertisements than a local coffee shop could ever do. Let’s not forget that consumers aren’t the only ones to focus on when building a brand, because how employees are treated play a large role in the public perception of the company too. Starbucks gained a lot of positive reputation when they pivoted on this point and created a culture and environment that’s better for their employees.

The lesson to be learned from this is that we should strive to view brands more dynamically, as if it is a living part of the company; constantly evolving with the culture and growing with your values. While striving for this is important “Research suggests that what we think of as free will is largely an illusion: much of the time, we are simply operating on automatic pilot, and the way we think and act – and how well we think and act on the spur of the moment – are a lot more susceptible to outside influences than we realize.” (Malcolm Gladwell, Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking). In short, whether you actively think about brand or not, your brain is always creating preconceptions about what you view and hear about a brand regardless. Now let’s now go through some of the more recent rebrands to dissect why certain decisions were made and infer what it means for everybody moving forward.

Increase customer loyalty with brand authenticity

Fast service doesn't always earn you the top spot on a customer's VIP list. With endless content running on social media, TV, radio and, Internet searches, consumers are experts in discerning real from fake. Authenticity - a personal touch - is the top strategy that keeps customers loyal to your brand.

Authenticity is king
In a Stackla study, 1,590 consumers were surveyed, and 90 percent said authenticity is important when deciding which brands they like and support. Sixty-seven percent said it was important for brands to provide personalized experiences.

Authenticity is about truth, integrity, passion and purpose. It should be the foundation for any strategy to connect with your customers. This action is more than a mission statement. It is an action plan for how you want customers to see YOU and your product or services. Of course, a great deal is still important, but today’s customers want to know what you value and how those beliefs are woven in the fabric of your organization.

Use your story to connect with customers
One of the first steps in authenticity is storytelling. How does your service or product impact customers directly? What problems does it solve? What is the passion driving your team each day to give 100 percent to customer service? Don’t be afraid to get personal. It’s a story that you own and separates your business from competitors. The authenticity will shine through because the message is focused on your “why.”

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Make it easy for customers to engage
Some of the most popular brands not only personalize their messaging but engage with customers. Social media platforms and email campaigns offer opportunities to connect with customers about their personal experiences with your business.

That VIP customer experience also includes the tools available to respond to questions. Is it easy to access your team in the office, after hours, or on social media? Remember, customers want a fast response, millennials in particular. Thanks to online shopping giants like Amazon and Zappos with rapid, personalized response systems, customers expect the same level of communication from all businesses. Research from McKinsey & Co reports 25 percent of customers will move on from a company after one bad experience.

Whether you choose to receive responses by email or phone or both, be sure messages are checked daily to ensure customer questions are addressed promptly. That also includes social media and Google reviews.

Ready to elevate your brand? Schedule a meeting with Fuel VM to discuss our approach to customer engagement.

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A good font helps your brand stand out. Choose wisely.

First impressions are everything. With your website and other marketing materials, it starts with a great font. Use a curvy font like Lucinda Handwriting and information might be hard to read. Go with Arial and you might seem unoriginal. Fonts are serious business. In fact, one study suggests there could be an ideological meaning behind the style you like best. Yes, you heard that right.

Whether you go bold or curvy, make sure your font choice fits the personality of your brand, is easy to read and looks great on any platform (mobile, desktop, billboard, or any custom swag you want to create later).

The Choices Can be Overwhelming

Be prepared. There are hundreds of fonts out there. To help those who are unfamiliar with the twist and turns of letters, there’s a great guide from G2 Learning Hub about typography. This guide breaks down the four categories of font types: Serif, Sans Serif, Script and Decorative. And, even those have multiple categories!

If you want to cut to the chase and find out what’s popular, online resources like LogoMaker provide a list of the 10 most popular fonts used for logos.

For those who want to be unique and stand out among competitors, an experienced designer (we have a few at Fuel VM) is the best option. Even if you hire an agency or freelancer to do the heavy lifting and create that perfect logo and style for your brand, it helps to understand typography. You will appreciate why that specific font was chosen for your brand – and have enough information to reject the choice if you disagree.

Our Picks

Because of the high volume of websites and branding projects our designers at Fuel VM tackle each day, fonts are part of the fun that comes with creating. Two of our designers share their most popular font choice right now.

A good font helps your brand stand out. Choose wisely. Poppins

Poppins font is popping!

Sloan, a designer at Fuel VM, calls this font her new Helvetica. It’s super clean, modern, and easy to read. Poppins looks great in any format and comes in various styles.

A good font helps your brand stand out. Choose wisely. Open Sans

Wide open to Open Sans

Open Sans is a standard font for websites. Cassi, a designer at Fuel VM, considers the style a great go-to font for marketing materials. The classy, elegant style of Open Sans looks great on desktop and mobile layouts.

Digging Didot 

A good font helps your brand stand out. Choose wisely. didot

Taylor, a designer at Fuel VM, likes Didot. He says it's a font that has withstood the test of time and even adapted to it. It is a hairline serif but somehow maintains legibility. Didot is able to preserve elegance and keep up with the modern trends through minimal modifications. Headlining many of our fashion magazines today, this elegant, hairline serif will remain a favorite.

Let’s make some magic together. Partner with Fuel VM for your next design or branding project.