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3 Memorable Rebranding Case Studies: Oatly, Mailchimp, Airbnb

February 23, 2023

3 Memorable Rebranding Case Studies: Oatly, Mailchimp, Airbnb

We live in a fast-paced society and it feels like every other day there's a new trend that every business should simply start following. Not only we have to keep up with exterior changes but also the ones that come from within. You might think that the shiny lustre of your brand has worn off and you start to wonder if it still reflects who you are and most importantly, if will take you where you strive to go.

Staying fresh while true to your essence is quite challenging and even the biggest companies in the world have evolved their brand identity to keep up with it all. Some of them got it so right that it almost feels impossible to remember how they were before.

Here are 3 memorable rebranding case studies:

1. Mailchimp

Back in 2018, Mailchimp announced its rebrand done in partnership with US-based agency Collins. Claiming they didn't want to lose their heritage in the process, they set out to hold on to the essence of what Mailchimp has always been in its core, retaining the weird and lovable elements that made customers fell in love with them in the first place.

Before, the logo script and Freddie (the cute chimp, yes, it has a name) had hierarchy issues and were never used together, leading the icon to not always be recognisable on its own. That is no longer the issue with the new visual identity as they have built equity for both through an iteration and refinement process. The single colour treatment given to Freddie makes the logo more functional and modern.

Why we love it:

They dialed up the brand's essence and its lovely quirkiness. The brand still evokes the same feeling, but the whole visual identity feels very up to date and simply cool.

2. Airbnb

You probably don't even remember Airbnb's old logo, right? Quickly designed by one of the founders back in the day, it was the typical start-up logo. Once the company started to grow, the intention was to increase brand awareness with a logo that could perform well with mainstream audiences. In order to achieve that, the whole brand had to change. Behind the new positioning was the idea of belonging and the icon developed was an abstraction of four principles: people, places, love and Airbnb. Even the colour used was bespoke and named after the street it all begin, evoking the sense of emotion and passion through and though. Simplicity was key here, the logo itself is easy to recognise and reproduce, and completely time-proof.

Why we love it:

They sure did not cut corners. All the elements were considered to perpetuate their emotional message and it has proven extremely effective as they are at the forefront of consumers’ minds due to their soulful essence, creating strong and emotional brand associations.

3. Oatly

A Dutch oat milk brand that started on the 90's, Oatly has come a long way. When they decided they wanted a rebrand, they knew just changing the logo simply wouldn't cut it as the brand was simply invisible. By bringing new people along with no experience on the food industry whatsoever, the insight was that the product was great and it had the potential to be a brand that could actually weave into people's lives, provided they could find their voice. As they didn't have the budget to advertise, they invested on changing the package completely and it became their key marketing driver. It was a bold move, as it could have confused customers, but it completely paid off. Every side of the packaging offers something interesting to read, and they use smart and witty copy to bring out their narrative. The legal side? They call it ''the boring side''. They speak broadly about their beliefs, are not afraid to stand up on social media about race, gender inequality and everything that is wrong with the food farming system. No wonder they were successful in raising $200 million earlier this month, with Oprah as one of their investors.

Why we love it:

Oatly was brave enough to completely re-invent themselves, or rather, create a new path for themselves, stay very authentic and true to their core beliefs. They understand the brand as something way deeper than simply a logo and invested largely on smart copywriting to get people's attention without feeling pushy.

Rebranding can not be taken lightly. It’s meant to help brands thrive and not just survive. Embrace the change and commit yourself to your culture, clients and bottom line. And if you need a hand, we are here for you.

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