September 20, 2017

Brand Successes and Failures… and What You Can Learn

Great brands don’t happen by accident…

Your brand’s purpose is to immediately offer a positive impression of your business to customers and stakeholders, and is perhaps the most powerful way to differentiate your company from the competition. By expressing your company’s unique personality, effective branding is the best way to attract the clients you want.

Starbucks is a perfect example of a brand success story, evolving from its beginnings as a small coffee bean store in Seattle to a global powerhouse. Their philosophy from the beginning has been to give customers a relaxing and enjoyable experience. They also built their brand on out-of-the-box thinking, avoiding traditional advertising. The most top-of-mind representation of the Starbucks brand is their iconic green and white logo, arguably one of the most popular and recognizable logo marks of the 21st century.

Splendor Says: SUCCESS

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz got his start after college as a coffee salesman, and he noticed the sales uptick with Starbucks in Seattle and got involved. Starbucks originally just sold coffee beans, but after becoming head of sales and taking a trip to Italy, Schultz realized that the coffee company had to capitalize on the community feel and create Starbucks coffee bars with an interesting, worldly sign to attract customers. Their logo features a mermaid that captures the seafaring history of Seattle; as told by Starbucks, “She is a storyteller, carrying the lore of Starbucks ahead, and remembering our past.” They created a great environment for employees and a world-class healthcare package, and they haven’t looked back since.

Creating a brand that works

Step 1: Think Culture

Great brands start from the inside, like we saw with Starbucks, and building a great corporate culture can really jumpstart a company’s branding success. Starbucks has a great logo that lures people in, but their great service delivers on the brand’s promise. And, they value their employees and reward them with above average pay and healthcare.

Step 2: Define a Niche

To ensure that your brand takes root and succeeds, you need to identify a position for your brand in the marketplace. You need a clear identity, and strong footing in the marketplace to attract customers and clients to your brand. Think about what sets you apart and focus on communicating that through your brand.

Step 3: Commitment

Staying consistent with your brand means customers will see a uniform message and image wherever the brand appears. Everything your customer sees has the ability to make an impression. Full commitment to your brand builds strength and reinforces your position.

How did these brands do?

McDonald's rebrand

This new packaging is a big shift from the brand’s previous looks, and coincided with a shift towards healthier menu offerings. The designs feature colors that almost sound like the names of new McDonald’s smoothies or burgers: Passionate Purple, Optimistic Orange, Ocean Fresh Blue, Zesty Lime and Magical Magenta. Bold, minimal lettering creates a dynamic and contemporary look, and means less ink printed for less environmental impact.

Splendor Says: SUCCESS



hershey logo

The global confectionary producer, with over 80 individual brands worldwide, revamped their logo with the goal of capturing Hershey’s rich legacy and their global reach. Featuring a custom font and minimal look, the new logo is now clearly a corporate mark, but received widespread criticism for looking like the poo emoji.

Splendor Says: FAIL




In February 2016, millions of Uber users around the world turned on their smartphones to find a completely different icon. Over the years, Uber has felt the intense competition from the likes of Lyft and Grab, and has struggled to maintain trust among customers. After several now-abandoned icon based logos, the company has turned to a more simple wordmark as part of their attempt to humanize the brand – after a fatal crash by a self-driving Uber car back in 2020.

Splendor Says: TBD



kraft rebrand

Kraft rebranded in 2009 with a new logo design meant to signify “deliciousness” and a “colorful flavor burst.” The logo has a generic feel, however, and left consumers missing the iconic stamp of the original Kraft logo.

Splendor Says: FAIL



kodak branding

Established in 1888, Kodak is gradually returning to the consumer market, and rebranded for the first time in a decade. They opted to bring back their logo from 1971, a red K on a yellow background and vertically-aligned type. Their new look capitalizes on nostalgia, and feels fresh yet classic.

Splendor Says: SUCCESS



pizza hut rebrand

Pizza Hut
In 2009, in order to resonate with the new “texting generation,” Pizza Hut shortened its name to “The Hut”. Unlike KFC or IHOP, however, their new name drew confusion from consumers as it wasn’t a commonly used abbreviation, and felt somewhat forced.

Splendor Says: FAIL



Old Spice
Old Spice was known as a “old person’s deodorant” but an incredibly effective rebrand helped them resonate with a younger audience of guys who want to smell great, but don’t take themselves too seriously. This campaign engaged their audience via entertaining videos, rather than a hard sell. Old Spice dominates in online and social media campaigns, and we can’t wait to see what they come out with next.

Splendor Says: SUCCESS

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