I have recently seen two examples of product / image rebranding that have caught my attention. Both for completely different reasons.

The first one is Coca-Cola‘s “Mother“. About a year ago when the drink was first introduced, I decided to buy one and see what it was like. My taste buds rejected it immediately. And not in a “Oh that’s bad, but maybe in a few months I’ll forget how bad and try again” way. It was possibly one of the most horrid flavoured drinks this side of Sarsaparilla.

It got me wondering how on earth Coca-Cola let this slip through the taste-testing cracks. Given their massive customer base, well established other flavours and an already saturated energy drink market, I expected much better. I expected this drink to disappear from shelves as fast as it had appeared.

I was close. Not long after, a “new formula” was announced. Massive advertising and money spent to show that indeed their first attempt was a failure and now it’s much better. But for me, the damage was already done. After both literally and figuratively leaving a bad taste in my mouth, this is one cat who won’t be willing to give it a try again. I’m sure Coca-Cola have picked up plenty of “new recipe” Mother lovers, but I’m not going to be one of them. While you were out, I found Rockstar, and that’s where I will stay.

Note: If your sting loyal customers with a Z-grade product, you’ll probably lose them.

The second re-branding exercise I have witnessed is that of City Farmers. I remember their cringe-worthy song, their cheap looking ads and their country bumpkin image.

However this image proved successful. They are popular, and have found a great market over the last few years. I’ve become a loyal customer of theirs, and have no need to shop elsewhere for any pet related products. They are like Bunnings for pets.

However, It shocked me to drive past the massive warehouse for the second time that week, to see that it was no longer green. It was bright orange, with a brand-spanking new logo. And a much better one at that. I figured their web site would have been updated too, so I checked. It’s one of the better looking ones I’ve seen in a while.

City Farmers, you won me as a customer with your cheap and tacky image, and then you cemented me as a customer with your willingness to adapt and somehow completely change your image better than most companies ever do it. I’m not sure who has designed the web site, but they’ve certainly done well.

Note: Use the right professionals for the job and listen to their advice. Remember, they’re the ones with the expertise.