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Fubar Branding: How to turn a simple Rebranding into a disaster in 5 easy steps

Welcome to our latest Fubar Branding article, where we provide professional tips on taking a simple rebranding effort and turning it into a complete and utter disaster.

Today, we're focusing on one of the most infamous examples of branding failure in recent history - the Gap rebranding disaster of 2010.

Step 1: Forget about your Brand's legacy and Identity

The first step in ruining your rebranding effort is to forget about your Brand's legacy and identity. It's not essential, so forget about it. It's exactly what Gap did when they changed their iconic Logo in 2010. They ignored their 20-year history and the identity that was the expression of their promise and legacy.

Branding experts like Al Ries and Jack Trout have long emphasized the importance of a strong brand identity. Ries says, "Your brand is your promise to your customer." Unfortunately, Gap didn't get the memo. Instead of building on their rich history and iconic identity, they decided to throw it all away and go with a generic, uninspired design that nobody asked for.

The result? Consumers were not impressed. They had grown to love the classic blue box logo that Gap had been rocking for over 20 years, and the new Logo just didn't cut it. It was met with widespread backlash, and people were not shy about expressing their displeasure.

But wait, it gets worse. Gap attempted to defend their new Logo by claiming that the new Logo represented a "modern, contemporary version of the iconic blue box," but consumers weren't buying it. They saw right through the BS and called Gap out for what it was: a soulless attempt to follow the latest design trends without any regard for the Brand's identity and legacy.

Step 2: Don't bother with Market Research

Congratulations, you've successfully ignored your Brand's history and identity! But why stop there when you can take it to the next level of catastrophe? Easy, just skip market research altogether.

Who needs to understand the target audience, market trends, or consumer preferences when you can just wing it? After all, you're a branding genius with a gut feeling that can't be wrong.

As famous marketing guru Seth Godin once said, "The best way to predict the future is to invent it." So go on and invent it! You have a bold vision (and, most likely, a willingness to gamble with your Brand's reputation), so you don't need facts and data.

Take a page out of Gap's book and just throw money at your rebranding effort and spend a whopping $100 million on a new logo without bothering to test it with your target audience. What's the worst that could happen, right? Oh, wait, the worst that could happen is that your customers hate your new Brand and leave in droves.

But who cares about those pesky customers anyway? They're just the ones who keep your business afloat - no big deal. So forget about market research, take a shot in the dark, and pray that it works out. After all, isn't that what being a risk-taking entrepreneur is all about?

Step 3: Introduce the new Logo abruptly and without a warning

Congratulations, you've made it to step 3! Now that you've ignored your Brand's history and identity and skipped market research, it's time to introduce your new Logo without any warning or explanation. That's right, just spring it on your unsuspecting customers and watch the magic happen! 

Why give your customers any indication that something's coming? Certainly not you! You're a maverick! A renegade! And the best way to show that is by making a sudden and drastic change, leaving your customers wondering what the heck is going on. But hey, that's just more publicity for you, right?

As famous branding expert David Brier once said, "Without a brand, you're just a commodity." So why bother maintaining your brand identity when you can just switch things up whenever you feel like it? Like Gap did, when they introduced their new Logo in 2010 without any warning or explanation, and customers were left confused and disoriented, wondering if they had landed on the wrong website or if their eyes were playing tricks on them.

But hey, who cares about your customers' feelings or loyalty, right? They'll come around eventually. Or not. But at least you can say you made a bold move! So go ahead and introduce that new Logo without any warning. Your customers will love the excitement of not knowing what to expect. It's like a fun game you play with your loyal fan base. They will like it. And if they don't, well, you'll always have your new trendy Logo to comfort you.

Step 4: Don't handle negative feedback

Congratulations, you've made it to Step 4! By now, your new Logo has been released into the wild, and the public is not reacting as you had hoped. Maybe they're laughing at it, perhaps they're angry about it (you will never know! You hate Research, right?), or maybe they just don't care. But whatever the reason, negative feedback is pouring in, and you have no idea how to handle it.

Well, fear not, my fellow brand-destroyers! There are plenty of ways to make this situation worse. Here are a few tips:

Ignore the feedback - After all, who cares what the public thinks? You know what's best for your Brand; they should just accept it.

Blame the public - They don't understand your brilliant new design and are too stupid to appreciate it.

Make excuses - Maybe the Logo wasn't perfect, but you were under a tight deadline, or the design team didn't understand your vision. It's not your fault!

Delete negative comments - If you can't handle the heat, get out of the kitchen. Or, you know, just delete all the comments that don't flatter you. That works too.

Get defensive - How dare they criticize your work! Don't they know how hard you worked on this? You'll show them!

Remember, the key to handling negative feedback is never to admit that you might be wrong. That would be a sign of weakness. So instead, double down on your bad decisions and keep digging that hole deeper. That's not the end.

Step 5: Revert back to your old Logo as quickly as possible

Congratulations! You've made it to the final step of ruining your rebranding: reverting back to your old Logo as quickly as possible.

After receiving negative feedback and seeing a drop in sales, it's time to admit defeat and go back to what you know best: the old Logo. Don't waste time considering other options or trying to salvage the new Logo - just admit your mistake and hit the undo button.

Of course, handling this reversion with the same level of grace and finesse as the initial rebranding is essential. Make sure to generate some PR buzz around the decision to go back to the old Logo - it's not like you're going back to it because of poor market research or lack of consideration for your Brand's history or anything, right?

As one branding expert once said, "Changing a logo is like changing your identity. It needs to be done carefully and thoughtfully." But who needs careful and thoughtful when you can just change your Logo willy-nilly and then change it back again when it doesn't work out?

So go ahead, revert back to your old Logo as quickly as possible, and act like nothing ever happened. It's not like your customers will remember your failed rebranding attempt or anything.


Congratulations! You've successfully ruined your rebranding efforts and tarnished your Brand's image in the eyes of consumers. By ignoring your Brand's history and identity, disregarding market research, introducing the new Logo abruptly and without warning, handling negative feedback poorly, and then quickly reverting back to the old Logo, you've managed to create a disastrous branding fiasco.

But don't worry, you're not alone. Many other brands have made the same mistakes, but none quite as spectacularly as the Gap. So take comfort in knowing that you've joined the ranks of infamous branding failures.

Remember, rebranding can be tricky, but with these simple steps, you can surely achieve the ultimate failure. We'll be here to watch the chaos unfold.

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