The Maxwell House brand reboot raises an important question for any major name considering the change: should the transition from old to new be gradual, or instantaneous?
Or, to follow the coffee maker’s lead and stick with the classics, is rebranding several small steps for a brand, or one giant leap for brandkind?
Trusted or Tired?
Most brands require refreshment every so often, as logos become tired and imagery becomes outdated.
But equally, fans become attached to what’s familiar. Even when a rebrand is necessary, changing too quickly runs the risk of alienating more existing fans than it gains new ones.
So much investment goes into creating, developing and protecting brand assets that in most cases it makes sense to make changes gradually. There have been plenty of examples over the years of brands that changed their identity too quickly, only to be forced into an embarrassing retreat.
More Money, More Problems
Even the biggest brands have made mistakes moving too quickly. The often referenced example of Coca-Cola’s “New Coke” and, more recently, Gap’s hasty retreat on a new logo, show just how badly established brands can get it wrong.
No matter how well-intentioned a brand update is, fans will make it known in no uncertain terms when they disapprove. This can easily leave the company in question with not only a significant write-off in the marketing budget, but a dent in its public credibility. Given that this is what rebranding is generally intended to prevent, it usually makes sense to move slowly and monitor how well each step to a new brand identity is received.
Swinging back to Maxwell House, the return to its classic “good to the last drop” theme seems like a solid, if slightly uninspired idea.
The decision to use that creepy “SNIFF” video, though? More distressing than de-stressing.