Thursday, January 25, 2024

2023 Was the Year of #BrandIdentity Changes


Was your brand in the news during 2023? If not, don’t despair. There were many other brands that made headlines during 2023.

Here’s a recap of interesting brands that either rebranded, changed their logo, changed their name, co-branded, formed an interesting partnership, created a unique hashtag to match a campaign, changed iconic packaging, or in some other way made branding news during 2023. What stood out as memorable to YOU?


1. Museums began to re-brand ancient Egyptian remains. According to CNN, "They are among the most popular exhibits in museums worldwide, with a name so resonant, that blockbuster films have been built on it. But some museums in Britain are now using words other than 'mummy' to describe their displays of ancient Egyptian human remains. Instead, they are adopting terms such as "mummified person" or the individual's name to emphasize that they were one living people." Who says words and language don't have power? (January)

2. In January 2023, a little-known football player made news. After the nation watched Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin collapse on the field during a Monday Night Football game between Buffalo and Cincinnati, everyone held their breath. In an unprecedented sight, players on both teams kneeled and prayed together. Broadcasters were speechless, fans on the stands and watching on television knew something terrible had happened, and the game eventually was stopped. Hamlin recovered, but while everyone waited for news, all teams changed their Twitter profiles to Damar's name and number, and the hashtag #PrayersforDamar trended. Fans made donations to show their support, and the amount raised was $9 million. This event was even bigger than the Super Bowl. (January)

3. Queen Elizabeth's fourth child and third son, Edward, received a new title from his brother, King Charles III: the title of Duke of Edinburgh - which had been his father's title. (March)

4. In less than four months, Damar Hamlin was fully cleared to return to football. During his recovery, he visited Congress to advocate for better access to automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in schools. His survival is widely credited to the rapid use of CPR a defibrillator on the field. Damar became an ambassador for heart health and a symbol of a united nation. (April)

5. Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced the "Keep it Fresh" marketing campaign for Michigan. The campaign's goal was to show that her state offered businesses an opportunity for growth, visitors a "Fresh Take" on life, and people a home to build a rewarding life and career. (April)

6. King Charles III officially became the British monarch due to his coronation. It was anticipated that his wife would be known as Queen Consort, however, her official title became Queen Camilla. (May)

7. Johnson & Johnson's Kenvue spinoff hit the IPO market; formerly the Consumer Healthcare Division and proprietor of brands such as Band-Aid, Tylenol, Listerine, Neutrogena, and more. (May)

8. During the summer, a new name was coined from the two titles of much-anticipated movies, BARBIE and OPPENHEIMER. According to Wikipedia, "BARBENHEIMER was a cultural phenomenon preceding and surrounding the simultaneous theatrical release of two films, Barbie and Oppenheimer, in July and August of 2023. The word is a portmanteau of the films' titles. The strong contrast between Barbie, a fantasy comedy by Greta Gerwig about the fashion doll Barbie, and Oppenheimer, an epic biographical thriller by Christopher Nolan about physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer, scientific director of the Manhattan Project, prompted a comedic response from Internet users, including memes and merchandise. Polygon described the two films as "extreme opposites," and Variety called the phenomenon "the movie event of the year." Due to the marketing buzz for both, movie-goers purchased tickets to attend both movies on the same day, something not seen with such interest in the past. (July)

9. The Twitter brand continued to evolve under the ownership of Elon Musk, and in July, the social platform's name became a single letter, X. Also, users no longer Tweeted, but instead, posted. Unfortunately, most media professionals continued to refer to the platform as "X, formerly Twitter." (July)

10. Two new terms appeared following the tragic implosion of the Titan submersible: extreme travel and dark travel. (July)

11. In a year known unofficially as the "the year of the strike," President Joe Biden joined striking auto workers on the picket line. (September)

12. By law, support animals are allowed in hotels, restaurants, shops, and more, however, "Support Alligator Wally" was denied entry into the Philadelphia Phillies baseball stadium. (September)

13. A survey by VISIT SWEDEN, a tourist agency, found that 50 percent of respondents could not tell the difference between Sweden and Switzerland, therefore, both countries decided to make a joint PSA to showcase their differences. (November)

14. The Trump International Hotel Waikiki announced that it would join Hilton and no longer have the former President's name attached to it. In February 2024, the 38-floor hotel will be called the Wakea Waikiki Beach, as part of the Hilton LXR collection of high-end resorts. (November)

15. US Steel, once the world's largest corporation, agreed to sell itself to a Japanese company. (December)

16. A painting of Oprah Winfrey was unveiled at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery. (December)


1. Nokia refreshed its logo to remind the world that it is no longer a phone company. The new logo built on the heritage of the old logo but made it contemporary and digital to reflect the new brand identity. (February)

2. Pepsi launched a new logo. (April)

3. LG refreshed its logo and will continue to use its tagline of "Life's Good." (April)

4. Smirnoff, the world's number one vodka brand, launched new positioning by championing its global campaign called "WE DO WE," to celebrate "the magic of WE that's created when different people, ingredients, and flavors come together." (June)

5. Following the Twitter rebrand to X, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) used the rebrand as a force for good in a memorable post: "Protect our wildlife, before it's too late" and included the evolution of the Twitter birds (from 2006,2007, 2009, 2010, and 2012) and ended with the letter X. (August)

6. Johnson & Johnson changed its logo. (September)

7. The NHL banned pride tape from being placed on hockey sticks, which set off a backlash from players and fans. (October)


1. Online giant, Amazon, shuttered its philanthropic arm, AmazonSmile. Customers could no longer designate a charity to receive a small portion of sales. (February)

2. Toblerone bars, which are sold in over 100 countries, can no longer be called Swiss chocolate because the brand's US owner moved some production out of Switzerland. Therefore, the Matterhorn mountain has been removed from its packaging. (March)

3. A Harriet Tubman Monument replaced a Christopher Columbus Statue in New Jersey. (March)

4. The World Health Organization (WHO) announced the end of the global Covid health emergency three years after it was first declared. (May)

5. Want to travel to the European Union? A new Europe visa will be required in 2025, called the ETIAS. (July)

6. During all the hype leading up to the Barbie movie and after the movie's release, the color pink led a cultural rally cry for women's empowerment. In addition, the large use of the color in the movie's set designs led to a global shortage of Rosco's signature shade. (July)

7. The Situation Room inside the White House was renovated. (September)

8. Amazon's Prime Video announced that it would begin including ads but would charge users to avoid them. (September)

9. In response to #4 above, the CDC announced that it would no longer distribute COVID-19 vaccine cards. Does this mean that they will become valuable collector items? (October)

10. Netflix announced that it would open brick and mortar locations. Will visitors purchase merchandise to promote its programming or simply sit on couches and watch its programs? (October)


1. Post-pandemic consumers are different. They want to do business with companies that align with their values. According to Wharton marketing professor Americus Reed, "The biggest message is to not make the mistake of thinking the brand is just simply the tagline, the logo, the colors on the website...After three years of disruption, anxiety, and worry, shoppers are no longer content to buy on price, style, or convenience. They want a deeper connection with companies." (Throughout 2023)

2. Several news organizations, such as NPR, stopped using Twitter/X due to lack of "Fake News" safeguards. And several large brands stopped advertising on Twitter/X due to owner Elon Musk's politics, handling of Twitter/X employees, and lack of content controls. (Throughout 2023)

3. GM became the top-selling car in America, retaking the title from Toyota. (January)

4. Frontier Airlines offered free flights to adopters of adorable kittens from Las Vegas. (January)

5. Hillary Rodham Clinton joined Columbia University as global affairs professor at the School of International and Public Affairs. (January)

6. As a result of the Covid pandemic, urgent care centers popped up all over. (January)

7. Leading up to Super Bowl 57, the M&M's brand made a big deal that actress Maya Rudolph would take over for the colored spokescandies, who were taking a break from their promotional duties, which always included participating in a memorable ad during the Super Bowl. In the days leading up to the Super Bowl, the name of the candy was changed, the inside of the candy was changed, and to be honest, it was hard to keep up with all the drama, But then, at the end of the Super Bowl, the spokescandies held a news conference, and all was right with the world: The candies/characters/brand ambassadors announced their return. (According to MarketingWeek: "Research has shown that, done well, there is evidence to suggest mascot characters are more likely to attract new customers, grow market share and even reduce price sensitivity.") (February)

8. Finland, the world's happiest country for the last six years, hosted a four-day happiness masterclass in June. (promoted in March)

9. Finland joined NATO, dealing a blow to Russia over the Ukraine war. (April)

10. Mattel unveiled a Barbie doll with Down syndrome. (April)

11. Tesla announced that it would advertise for the first time. (May)

12. The FinanceBuzz insurance company offered a new job with a salary of $1,000: "the official Fast and Furious Claims Adjuster." The objective was to keep track of all damages from every car crash during all 10 movies in the series. (May)

13. Mattel honored Hollywood icon Anna May Wong with a Barbie doll in its "Barbie Inspiring Women Series." (May)

14. TV game show host Pat Sajak announced his retirement will be effective following the conclusion of his 41st year on the show mid-2024. Ryan Seacrest was introduced as his replacement with letter-turner Vanna White continuing on the show until 2026. (June)

15. Meta's competitor to Twitter/X was called Threads and launched to record-setting numbers of users, alas, to Mark Zuckerberg's disappointment, the usage numbers have declined since launching, because, according to BusinessInsider, "Twitter became popular as a place to stay informed and get access to critical information. Meta wants Threads to be a hangout space for lifestyle brands and influencers instead of a newstand." (July)

16. Due to the Maui wildfires, a Hawaii tourism official said, "If you want to help,. keep your trip and travel to Maui to spend money to help fuel the recovery." (August)

17. First-of-its-kind law in Illinois enacted to penalize libraries that banned books. (August)

18. Small supermarket chain Trader Joe's announced that it would not add self-checkout lines to its stores because "they were not consistent with the store's brand culture." (August)

19. Football pro Tom Brady became a strategic advisor to Delta Airlines. (September)

20. The U.S. Semiquincentennial Commission agency filed a trademark application for "America 250." Guess who will have a big party on July 4, 2026? (Answer: everyone in the USA!) This means big marketing opportunities for all brands. According to Rosie Rios, Commission Chair, "America’s 250th anniversary is about more than reflecting on our past, it’s about honoring the contributions of individuals who built this country, the innovations that put this country on the map and a man on the moon, and imagining what the next 250 years might look like for our children and the generations to come." (September)

21. Crayola, the crayon company that began in 1903, a subsidiary of Hallmark Cards, announced the launch of Crayola Flowers, an online flower shop that will sell bouquets and boxed flowers. In addition, there will be a fundraising component whereby 10-50 percent of every sale will be donated to a participating charity chosen by the customer. Nonprofit organizations will also be able to use the floral storefront as part of their own fundraising campaigns. According to Warren Schorr of Crayola, "The idea is to extend the Crayola brand into the flower industry in a slightly different way. Instead of just selling flowers when they're needed, why not unite this idea of color and creativity with spreading kindness." (September)

22. The U.S. Supreme Court finally adopted an ethics code. How effective will it be? Time will tell. (November)

23. The Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team hoped to create a dynasty by signing two legendary players: Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto. (December)

24. Tesla recalled two million vehicles to limit use of Autopilot feature after nearly 1,000 crashes. (December)

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/fan/stakeholder recognition? These are important questions before considering, planning, and executing strategic branding changes.

What brand will make news during 2024? Another recap will appear here on this blog in January 2025!

Image Credit: Bright Pink Agency.

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