Wednesday, January 15, 2020

2019 Was the Year of #REBRANDING

Was your brand in the news during 2019? If not, don’t despair. There were many other brands that made headlines during 2019. 

Here’s a recap of 15 brands that either rebranded, changed their logo, or changed their name during 2019.

*MasterCard dropped its name from its logo and became a wordless logo like Apple and Target. (January)

*Dunkin’ unveiled new packaging. (January)

*ComedyCentral unveiled a new logo. (January)

*Slack unveiled a new logo. (January)

*Hickory Farms unveiled its rebrand with a new logo, website, and packaging. According to CEO Diane Pearse, “At Hickory Farms, we’re in the business of connecting people. We aspire to make food gifting effortless because we know that making connections through food is a meaningful intersection in our busy, fast-paced lives. 2019 marks an important year for Hickory Farms as our brand evolves with a modern look and feel that appeals to a broader audience with choices for every occasion.” (January)

*Pizza Hut changed its name to “Pizza Hut Hut” with signage and a pop-up store in Atlanta to celebrate its sponsorship of Super Bowl 53. (February)

*Stratosphere Hotel in Las Vegas changed its name to The Strat. (February)

*Marriott International announced a new logo for Sheraton. (March)

*Mars rebranded with a new logo and tagline: Tomorrow starts today. (March)

*IKEA launched a new logo as part of its move toward digital sales. (April)

*Sears launched a new tagline and logo to create a new image in the wake of negative publicity surrounding its bankruptcy filing and wave of store closings. (May)

*Several brands changed their logos to recognize pride month: IBM, American Airlines, US Weekly, New York Public Library, The Gap, Levi’s, Banana Republic. (June)

*Jamba Juice changed its name and logo to Jamba to reflect its emphasis on its expanded product line and wellness, not just juice. (June)

*Mimi’s Cafe changed its name to Mimi’s Bistro & Bakery. According to Tiffany McClain, the chain’s director of marketing, “We spent two years researching where we’ve been and what we could do to strengthen the brand in the future and strengthen our connection to France...Adding “bistro” to the chain’s name reflects a French feel, with a nod toward relaxation, while “bakery” emphasizes the restaurant’s grab-and-go offerings.” (July)

*Yahoo rebranded with a new logo. (September)

*Wharton Digital Press changed its name to Wharton School Press to better emphasize the book publishing arm of the Wharton School. According to Dean Geoffrey Garrett, “We’re very excited about this new direction, which emphasizes the school’s continued commitment to publishing important books.” (October)

With all these changes, one wonders if brands that don’t make changes have staying power. Do logos need to be refreshed every so often? Do brand names need to change every so often? How do these changes impact brand equity and customer recognition? These are important questions to consider before making any strategic branding changes.

What brand change stood out to you during 2019? Please chime in.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Top 10 Marketing Highlights of 2019

With 2019 now history, it's time for my annual “Top 10” marketing highlights post – incredible that this is my 10th post featuring annual marketing highlights. 

What do you remember from the 2019 marketing reel? Which were duds? What stood out as marketing innovation, and what will go down in history that was as memorable as Apple’s 1984 Super Bowl ad? Without further ado, let’s get to it! What campaigns were great?

With a nod and thank you to David Letterman for the format, here's my list:


In April, Budweiser unveiled a “Jackie Robinson” bottle to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the baseball legend’s birth and used the hashtag #ThisBudsForJackie in its promotions.


In April, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex launched an Instagram account as their sole social media channel. According to their first post, “Welcome to our official Instagram; we look forward to sharing the work that drives us, the causes we support, important announcements, and the opportunity to shine a light on key issues.” The first post was liked by nearly 1.3 million viewers; and the account has attracted nearly 10 million followers.


In May, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex introduced the world to their first child, a son named Archie Harrison, the seventh in line to the British Throne. Imagine all the items with his name and likeness on sale in Britain!


The Walt Disney Company partnered with the Make-A-Wish Foundation to raise money due to the release of its Aladdin movie and granting of wishes in the film, released in May.


For a limited time, Taco Bell opened a hotel and resort in Palm Springs, California. At “The Bell,” guests could buy Taco Bell-themed apparel and plan Taco Bell-themed weddings.


In a press release by Oreo, the cookie brand confirmed that limited-edition Marshmallow Moon Oreos would hit store shelves in honor of the 50th anniversary of the historic Apollo lunar landing. Each pack of Marshmallow Moon Oreos featured three custom cookie designs inspired by the moon landing, including an astronaut floating in zero gravity, a rocket ship blasting off, and a crescent moon next to three stars. The best part? The cookie packaging actually glowed in the dark!


CBS Evening News introduced its new anchor, Norah O’Donnell, on July 15, with both a new logo and new introductory music. O'Donnell explained that her evening broadcasts would place an emphasis on fair and unbiased news combined with a focus on the 2020 presidential election. In Fall 2019, her studio moved from New York to Washington, D.C.


Frontier Airlines was proud to be America's greenest airline dedicated to #sustainability, and on August 13, anyone with the surname Green or Greene could fly free.


Mattel, the company that created Barbie, introduced a line of gender-neutral dolls called Creatable World. “The doll can be a boy, a girl, neither or both, and Mattel, which calls this the world’s first gender-neutral doll, is hoping its launch on September 25 redefines who gets to play with a toy traditionally deemed taboo for half the world’s kids,” according to TIME magazine.

And NUMBER 1 on my 2019 Marketing Highlights List:

Drum roll please...

A sign of the times: Starbucks announced in July that it would stop selling newspapers - and remove newspaper racks - at its coffee shops in Fall 2019. The company began selling The New York Times in stores nearly 20 years ago and added The Wall Street Journal and USA Today in 2010. Following the announcement, Starbucks offered digital access through its free in-store Wi-Fi at all company-operated locations in the U.S. for a limited time for the following pubs: The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The Seattle Times, Chicago Tribune, The Baltimore Sun, Orlando Sentinel, and New York Daily News. 

In a post on Starbucks' Blog: “This is just the beginning. We will continue to listen and learn from our customers, looking for new opportunities to deliver news, content and experiences that are relevant to our customers, inspiring to our partners and meaningful to our communities.”

What would you add to this list? Here's to 2020 and another year of marketing highlights. Happy New Year!

Image Credit: BigStock photo.