Considering a rebrand? Rebranding your company, product or service can be one of the most important decisions you make as a strategic marketer or entrepreneur. A successful rebrand can allow you to access new markets, win new mindshare, increase your top and bottom lines and build powerful brand equity.

Rebranding requires a tremendous amount of work. Before we dive into the step-by-step rebranding process, let’s take a look at some examples of successful, and unsuccessful rebrands.



Twenty years ago, Target was a commodity discount retailer that was undifferentiated from the likes of K-Mart, Sears and JC Penny. To separate from the cutthroat world of competing on the basis of price, Target began creating partnerships with designers like Missoni and Alexander McQueen, becoming affectionately known as “Tar-zhay” for the chic discount offerings and growing to be second only to Walmart in its market share.


Nearing bankruptcy in the 1990s, having become a niche computer manufacturer for designers and schools, Apple rehired founder Steve Jobs and refocused on style, introducing the iMac and killing their PC-like beige box computers. While not a typical rebrand handled by an agency, Job rebranded the entire company by focusing on innovation and creating completely new products and services, turning Apple into one of the world’s most valuable companies.


Vodka is practically a commodity; taste tests show that most consumers can’t differentiate their product in blind taste tastes. Thus, many vodka brands differentiate via their brand positioning. Ciroc was initially launched for
the North American market in 2003 and marketed to nightclubs and entertainment venues in the U.S., with a heavy focus in Atlanta and Miami. Sales struggled. Brand owner Diageo, owner of brands such as Johnnie Walker, Guinness and Sterling Vineyards wines, partnered with Sean Combs in 2007, giving him the lead on all brand management decisions for Ciroc and sharing the future profits of the brand growth with him. Combs’ personal style and creativity propelled Ciroc sales from 40,000 cases per year in 2007 to 2,100,000 cases per year in 2012.


SUBWAY – from Pete’s Super Submarines

In 1965, Pete’s Super Submarines opened in Bridgeport, Connecticut. A year later, it changed the name to Doctor’s Associates Inc., after co-founder Dr. Peter Buck, a nuclear physicist. After little success under the two previous names, Buck and co-founder Fred DeLuca gave it a third try using the name Subway. Today it’s the world’s largest submarine sandwich brand with over 40,000 locations around the world.

PayPal – from Confinity

Before it was called PayPal, the company was called Confinity – a name representing the merged words of “confidence and infinity.” While the company’s initial focus was on Palm Pilot payment and cryptography, the company chose the brand name PayPal after a Confinity engineer developed an online demo that allowed people to email payments. The company was later acquired by eBay for $1.5 billion in July 2002.

Accenture – from Andersen Consulting

Accenture was the new name applied to the spinout of the consulting division of Andersen Consulting in 2001. It’s a controversial rebrand that was criticized initially for the made-up word. However, after Arthur Andersen was convicted of obstructing justice in 2002, the entirely new branding allowed it to escape the negativity associated with the Andersen name.

Rebranding is expensive, even for a small to midsize company. If your

rebrand includes a name change, you’re likely to incur costs from $100,000s to millions for your new logo, visual brand identity and marketing materials, identity and assets.


But even spending millions of dollars on a rebrand doesn’t ensure success. If done poorly, it can potentially destroy a product or company. Here are a few examples of companies who missed the mark with their rebranding.

Netflix Launches Qwikster

Most people are familiar with Netflix, the first disrupter in the video rental business. Their DVD-by-mail business contributed to the demise of Blockbuster, and in 2018, their streaming business is the largest in the world with over 118 million subscribers. However, the launch of the service was bumpy. In 2011, Netflix spun out their DVD-by-mail service under the new brand Qwikster to separate the mail order service from the streaming service. It was more than a name change; it was designed to be a completely separate businesses. Existing customers were required to re-register for their mail services and have two separate accounts, one on Netflix and one on Qwikster. Netflix lost hundreds of thousands of customers and their share price dropped by 37%, so they quickly reversed this decision and restored the singular Netflix brand.


If you’re over 40, you probably remember the New Coke debacle in the mid- 1980s. Although blind taste tests showed consumers preferred the new taste in small doses over the original formula, there was a tremendous backlash and Coke reverted to the original formula later that year, which shows that even the biggest and best brands can get it wrong.


If you’re considering rebranding your product, service or company, here’s a 10-step process for rebranding a company, product or service.

1. Quantify the reasons for the rebrand and conduct a brand audit

What are the reasons for your rebrand? Are you launching a new product or service?

Expanding into a new market? Changing the vision or mission for your company? Focusing on differentiating and gaining a competitive advantage? Or moving on from a negative event?

The reasons for your rebranding will affect the creative decisions you make for your brand positioning, brand creative and brand visual identity. Conduct a brand audit to understand the current perception of your existing brand and quantify the work required for your rebranding project.

2. Assess the risks/ROI

Always conduct a marketing ROI analysis before starting your project. Do you have the resources and budget? Have you quantified all of the costs associated with your rebranding? What type of return do you think it will produce?

Here is a list of common items you’ll have to create/recreate: logo, website, corporate identity, signage, print materials, ad creative, marketing materials.

3. Naming – Are you selecting a new brand name?

If you’re changing your brand name, don’t start by choosing your name first. Start by creating your brand strategy so you know exactly what your name should represent. THEN complete the process for selecting a new brand name. While this is the opposite approach from the way many businesses proceed, having a clearly defined brand strategy can help give you clarity and daring when selecting a great brand name.

4. Determine your new brand positioning

If your brand positioning is changing, map your competitive positioning to understand where you hope to fit in the future marketplace. This can help you to avoid entrenched competitors and give your team a clear roadmap of the mindshare you wish to own for your brand.

5. Define your brand architecture

The essence of your brand strategy is your positioning and what you want your brand to stand for. Sometimes that’s clear, and other times it takes some work. If you’re unsure, this brand architecture exercise can help you to define your brand architecture – the three things your brand should mean to your market and, eventually, the mindshare you wish to own.

6. Summarize your brand strategy and write your creative brief

Now, pull it all together in a summary report and add your brand inspiration, brand differentiation and brand personality traits. Create a compelling brand story and outline your ideas for your brand visual identity.

This document should include all of the key elements of your brand strategy. Your creative team will rely on it for direction and you can use it to judge the effectiveness of their results.

7. Select your creative team

Do you have the resources to handle in-house? Even if you’re small, it’s wise to include a professional agency. If you complete steps 1-6 of this process before selecting your agency or creative resources, they’ll have a much clearer understanding of what to create and you’ll save a lot of time and budget on the strategy design.

8. Evaluate, test and protect

Evaluating creative and brand messaging is an iterative process, best completed by a team that solicits real-time market feedback. Continue to gain feedback throughout the process, but beware of over-relying on focus groups! Over-reliance on focus groups gave us New Coke. Balance market feedback with your reasons for rebranding and the strategy that your team develops. Try tools like Usertesting or Usabilla to capture feedback. Protect your name by filing for federal trademark or service mark protection.

9. Create your launch plan

About three to six months before your brand is ready to go-live, create your launch plan. How will you unveil your brand to the market? What promotional activities will you use? Think about your website launch, digital and social media promotion, events – live and online, customer notices, media/press/bloggers/social influencers. Build excitement by letting your audience know that something new and exciting is coming.

10. Go-live and execute!

The culmination of all of the hard work of your rebranding project is your launch – perhaps the most exciting (and nerve-wracking) event for any marketer. Execution is all about the details, so carefully plan your activities on the calendar, give clear instructions to your team, measure all feedback and metrics and adjust and refine when required. Not everything will always go according to plan, so stay flexible and adjust when needed!



Developing a content marketing strategy is kind of like creating an appealing menu. It’s an important start, but the execution is what matters. You have to be able to cook the dishes correctly, plate them attractively, serve eager customers, and then make sure they actually enjoy your food, come back for more, and tell all their friends about their fantastic experience.

Food content marketers have, in many cases, fallen short. The NewsCred Top 50 Content Marketing Brands includes just a few standout examples from the food space. Although most food brands are producing creative content, many lack a content hub. Some that do try to get away with reheating stale content that isn’t so fresh. Or, they fail to maximize that content by promoting it consistently on social media and other marketing distribution channels. Still other food companies opt for one-off promotions instead of creating an ongoing, consistent content strategy.

Yet, consumers are hungry for food content. Consider this:

  • BuzzFeed’s Tasty has more than 94 million Facebook fans

  • “How To Cook That” is now a top 10 search phrase on YouTube

  • And let’s face it, your social feeds probably consist of lots of food photos – are we right?

So how can you figure out which types of food-related content will resonate in a very crowded space? One strategy is to focus on food and restaurant trends, especially among the biggest digital content consumers: the millennials. CBD Marketing’s analysis of 12.5 million social media posts by U.S. millennials (ages 18 to 35) revealed that they:

  • Gravitate to healthy, natural foods and cultural flavors

  • Like to cook and prep meals

  • Support alternative food distribution via meal delivery and meal services

Furthermore, a Nielsen study found:

  • Millennials want to know more about how their food is produced and want to “see the story behind the scenes” (81 percent and 80 percent, respectively)

  • 73 percent are willing to pay more for sustainable brands

  • 58 percent of millennials eat out at least once a week

Like chefs, good content marketers with a keen understanding of their customers’ tastes can develop a focused menu of content offerings (across platforms), sprinkle in the key ingredients (video, dynamic apps, cause marketing), and experiment with new digital flavors (chatbots, IoT technology) as they become trendy.

Here’s a sampling of effective, customer-satisfying food content marketing strategy tactics, straight from today’s top brands:


Remember all those social media food posts we alluded to above? It goes to show that people love to share their culinary masterpieces – whether home- cooked, eaten out, or ordered in – and get tips and commentary from others with similar tastes. That’s why food brands win when they leverage user-

generated content (UGC) that engages and celebrates their customers while driving brand goals.

Plated, a NewsCred Top 50 winner that sends aspiring home cooks ingredients and step-by-step recipes to create simple but impressive-looking meals, has grown in large part thanks to UGC.

Plated uses UGC to build a community. On Instagram and Twitter, Plated asks fans to share their meals with the hashtag #platedpics. The company often reposts the #platedpics people share on those networks, and features them in an ongoing blog series. The UGC not only celebrates Plated fans; it also shows other people how easy it is to create Plated meals (and how delicious they look), which may persuade them to try the service.

How to get started: To encourage a steady stream of UGC, invite customers to share their experiences with your brand on their social networks. Develop and promote a special hashtag, and then reward customers for contributing; random drawings and discounts, or simply just featuring their posts on your social channels and content hub, can go a long way to incentivize participation.


This might seem like a no-brainer for food brands, but not every company is fully using recipe content to its full advantage. Whole Foods is a brand that does. The Amazon-owned grocery giant features more recipes than promotions on its website homepage. It has a dedicated recipe newsletter and often promotes recipes on Twitter and Instagram.

The healthy grocery store chain also deploys recipe content via the Whole Foods Facebook chatbot, in which users can browse products or search recipes using keywords or even emojis.

“Whole Foods Market customers are always looking for inspiration, no matter whether they are at home, on the run, or walking down our aisles,” said Jeff Jenkins, then Global Executive of Digital Strategy and Marketing at Whole Foods Market, in an interview with VentureBeat.

And knowing that inspiration is so very often found via mobile devices and creating content in that vein is what helps a food brand stand out.

How to get started: While you might expect Betty Crocker or Kraft Foods to serve up recipes, even single product lines and niche brands have found success with recipes. Chobani almost single-handedly made baking with Greek yogurt a thing, promoting yogurt recipes across its distribution channels. Think about some unique ways that your products might be used – even reach out to your customers to ask – and see if you have enough ideas to warrant regular recipe content.


When it comes to social media marketing among the fast food giants, no other brand has more appeal with Gen Z and younger millennials than Taco Bell. With more than 1.1 million Instagram followers, 1.91 million Twitter fans, and 66,000 YouTube followers, Taco Bell’s investment in creating unique content is clearly paying off.

If social media channels are snacks, Taco Bell’s content hub is the main course. The hub features blog posts about interesting creators/Taco Bell enthusiasts, employees (like a dietician and a brand marketer), and even fans who take their love of the brand to the extreme, like a couple who got married at a Taco Bell!

In all it does, Taco Bell makes fans the center of each content decision – the YouTube series “For Here or To Go” is a great example. And no marketer could forget the incredible success that Taco Bell had on Snapchat with its 2016 Cinco de Mayo filter that turned users’ faces into giant tacos, viewed more than 224 million times!

How to get started: Few brands find tremendous success on every social platform at once, so start with the one or two that your audience spends the most time on. Whichever you choose, try to stay on top of the latest social media trends, whether it’s using influencers or creating Instagram stories. (Taco Bell is killing it with those, too!)


There are so many great examples of marketers using content to bring their brand’s ethos to life. In the food industry, few do it better than Ben & Jerry’s. The ice cream company is as much known for its delicious variety of decadent flavors as it is for its stance on pressing political and social justice issues. Its content hub features posts about ice cream recipes and new flavors, as well as stories that align with its values, like “We Stand with the Student Leaders of March for Our Lives”.

Jay Curley, now Ben & Jerry’s Global Head of Integrated Marketing, told New York Magazine: “We’re trying to create a new model for how businesses can use their voice to have an impact on important social movements, and show that you can do that and it doesn’t hurt your business. As a matter of fact, it may help.”

Proof that it does? Ben & Jerry’s business has tripled in the last 15 years.

Another example of brand values being good for business is Clif Bar. Its content hub showcases the company’s most important attributes: health, wellness, adventure, nature, sustainability, and an active, passion-fueled lifestyle. Recent stories include a profile of two Clif Bar-sponsored athletes who set out to raise $100,000 for Bears Ears National Monument, and a big rock piece of content about The Great Trail, a 15,000-mile network of trails across Canada.

What you won’t find is a hard sell. And it’s not necessary. Equating Clif Bar consumption with the brand’s lifestyle has garnered legions of fans. Clif Bar’s Instagram account – which has more than 147,000 followers – further follows that strategy by featuring fans’ nature photography tagged with #FeedYourAdventure over product shots.

How to get started: If you know what your brand values are, don’t be afraid to share them. You don’t necessarily have to get political or controversial – just be authentic.


As people become more conscious consumers, they want to know the stories behind what they eat. In other words, how is the food produced? Where do the ingredients come from? Who are the people involved?

Kashi’s “Stories” align well with the brand’s wholesome, healthy products. The stories share insights into healthy eating and food inspiration, and change the boundaries of food norms. The “Certified Transitional” video series and related blog posts, for example, highlight Kashi’s investment in farmers who are in the process of becoming USDA certified organic.

How to get started: Whether your brand is focused on all-natural foods or you’re a restaurant that uses locally-sourced ingredients, it will benefit you to share that information or other sustainability initiatives with your customers.


Getting in on the next big technology trend can pay off, as it has for a few food brands that have created Alexa skills. Stubb’s BBQ sauce launched its skill, Ask Stubb, to assist grill cooks. The skill features recipe ideas and tips like: “Don’t ever put ribs on top of each other. You have to allow space for the heat to penetrate.” The best part is you won’t hear Alexa’s robotic voice – you’ll hear Stubbs himself, making it a more user-friendly experience.

How to get started: Listen closely to your customers’ needs and check out some other top brand experiences on Alexa. Then, create audio content to enhance how your users experience and interact with your product.


Content marketing strategies for food brands work best when brands highlight their values and know their audience’s tastes. But more importantly, brands need to work harder so that their customers aren’t left feeling hungry for more – otherwise, they’ll take their content appetites elsewhere.



Have you ever noticed that as you learn more about the world of photography, you tend to realize just how little you actually know? This phenomenon is what's referred to as the Dunning-Kruger effect. The name of the phenomenon came from two social psychologists David Dunning and Justin Kruger. During a study, the two recognized that the less competent someone was at a given task, the better they thought they were. Put more simply, if you think you're a great photographer, there's a good chance you're not nearly as amazing as you think you are.

Almost everyone falls victim to the Dunning Kruger effect at some point in their career. But the more self-aware you can become, the less likely you are to fall into the trap of being a bad photographer who thinks they're good. To help combat this downward spiral, Below are tips shared by experts about how you can combat this phenomenon:

  • Beware of feeling comfortable- If you start feeling comfortable in your abilities, try something new and expand your horizons. Don't get complacent.

  • Learn to let go of old work- Always try to one-up yourself and make your next shot your best shot. If you still think that shot from four years ago is your best, you probably haven't improved much.

  • Ask for feedback and constructive critique- It's not always easy to hear, but an outside perspective can help you get a broader and more realistic view of your skills and ability.

  • Always keep learning- You have never learned everything. Never think you've finished learning something—everything is a rabbit hole of knowledge.

  • Feeling bad about your old work is a sign of progress- Thinking your old work isn't great means you've learned where you've fallen short and know how to improve your work.

In the end, no matter what you think of your work or how far you've come, it's ultimately about enjoying the ride. Our parting piece of advice is to 'learn why you're doing things, not just how to do them'.



We often talk about the importance of self-assigned projects. Photographers need to constantly stretch their creative muscles by shooting what they love– whether or not it’s something they are currently being hired to shoot. Personally-driven work also helps show clients what kind of work a

photographer produces without a script, and how well they might collaborate with a creative director of an art department in the future.

One facet of self-assigned work is the art of the test shoot. For photographers who shoot reportage, travel, or similar types of work, self-assigned work requires a camera, two legs, and a lot of research. But for photographers who normally shoot in a studio, or work on sets that require a large crew, test shoots can be a vital part of maintaining relationships with food stylists, makeup artists, and even other photographers.

If everyone is on board and willing to collaborate, test shoots can be fun, creative spaces that lead you to unexpected places. Sometimes, if you want to work with a certain stylist or model, you’ll need to hire them the same way you would for a client-based project. But other times, test shoots are mutually beneficial, and everyone will donate their time to end up with a final project each of you can add to your portfolio.

There are different levels to test shoots, from a full studio filled with assistants, stylists, and models to a quiet kitchen with a few strategically placed lights and a close friend or two looking to collaborate.

It’s always a lot of fun but a little strange going from a commercial shoot to a test shoot. Suddenly there’s no product to sell, no parameters, and no art director to please - you are free to create. The flip side is it can be so open that you have to give yourself some direction or you can be aimless. Have fun with the exercise, and immerse your team in the fun!



New research is challenging long-held assumptions about how our eyes influence our stomachs.

You’ve probably heard the idea that using smaller plates and bowls can affect your perception of how much you’re eating, thereby helping you eat less. But how well does it work? A new study sheds light on that popular theory, finding that if you’re really hungry, it doesn’t work. The reason why is a glimpse into the fascinating psychology of how we see and judge the world around us.

Tzvi Ganel, head of the Laboratory for Visual Perception and Action at
the Ben Gurion University’s Department of Psychology, headed up the research. Ganel explains that while your plate size has a definitive effect on how you perceive the food contained in it, how it affects your perception all depends on how ravenous you are. The hungrier you are, the less your perception will be altered.

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Published in the journal Appetite, the research conducted two experiments, the first with 32 women and another with41 females and 40 males. Together with PhD student Noa Zitron-Emanuel, Ganel exposed the subjects to food in plates of different sizes to measure the effect of food deprivation on the subjects’ susceptibility to something called the Delboeuf illusion.

The Delboeuf illusion is a psychological phenomenon that affects how we perceive two circles of identical size relative to the size of the circle that contains it. The inner circle will always appear smaller to us if it is contained in a larger circle. In food terms, this means that if you put a pizza on a plate, your brain will think it’s bigger than the same pizza on a larger plate. The theory goes that if your brain sees food on a very large plate, you won’t be satisfied when you eat it. Put the same amount of food on a small plate, and you will.

Ganel and Zitron-Emanuel found out that if subjects were hungry, the illusion simply didn’t hold up. Ganel says over email that the data clearly shows “that it is more difficult to trick the brain via illusions when food is in need.” In comparison, the researchers also exposed participants to neutral representations that didn’t involve food–just circles of the same size inside other circles of different dimensions. In that test, the experiment subjects were affected by the Delboeuf illusion, regardless of their hunger level.

Their conclusion? If you’re hungry, your brain throttles down the Delboeuf illusion to save your life. “[This adaptive phenomenon] allows humans to effectively evaluate objects of interest when such objects can be vital for survival,” Ganel writes.

But dieters, not all is lost! A 2012 study by the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University found out that lighting and other environmental factors can have a big impact on your appetite. The test divided a real world fast food restaurant in Champaign, Illinois, into two dining areas: one was your usual burger environment with bright lights, colors, and loud music while the other one was decorated like a nice restaurant with indirect lighting, white

tablecloths, and jazz music. Then they took 62 random customers and measured their calorie intake. The results were fascinating: “Although customers in the fine dining atmosphere ate for 4.7% longer, they ate less than their fast-food counterparts.” They also found out that the fine dining customers weren’t more likely to order more food than the fast food customers, yet if they did, their orders contained 14% fewer calories. They rated the food better, too.

In other words, the way you eat is important–even if the old “use a smaller plate” theory doesn’t always work.