What is Debranding and Why Should Your Company Utilize it?

Technology is constantly evolving and it’s important to keep up with the latest trends. One such trend is debranding.

Debranding is a form of branding strategy where a company will overhaul its visual identity. Usually, its name may change or even be completely removed from its identity, its logo will be simplified, and all of its marketing collateral (such as the website, packaging and branding) will also be altered.

The motivation behind debranding is usually the brand or corporation wanting to make itself seem more approachable by the consumer-centric and less corporate. This has been accelerated by the Internet, which has constrained the dimensions of design. Now, corporate identities must fit inside 120-pixel mobile app buttons or 16-pixel favicons and they must have the ability to be easily applied to a wide array of branding initiatives aimed at different audiences.

While it may seem like a daunting task, there are many benefits to debranding your business, but let’s first learn about where debranding comes from.

Debranding: A Brief History

Debranding is not a new concept—in fact, it’s been around since the 19th century. One of the earliest recorded examples of debranding comes from the British brewing company Bass & Co.

In 1876, the company decided to remove its name and logo from all of its products after customers started referring to its flagship beer simply as “Bass.” The company’s logo was also replaced with a simple red triangle. While the company’s decision to debrand was met with some initial resistance, it eventually paid off. The company’s sales increased significantly, and Bass & Co. became one of the most successful breweries in the world due to its simple, to-the-point branding.

More recently, Burger King has undergone its own debranding. Their logo is now a flat design and more aligned with the logo used by the brand throughout the 1970-1990s. This shift to a more retro look is reflective of Burger King’s desire to reposition the chain as a higher-end burger restaurant (as it was originally seen) rather than a fast food joint. Furthermore, taking their branding in a new direction will allow them to appeal to a new generation of customers. Like Bass, Burger King’s retro-modern look has been a success.

While debranding may seem like a drastic step for businesses to take, it can be an effective way to refresh your image and connect with consumers on a more personal level.

Debranding Makes Your Brand Easily Identifiable

Brands are constantly vying for attention and it can be easy for consumers to become overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information they are bombarded with on a daily basis.

Debranding is the process of removing unnecessary design elements from a brand’s visual identity. This can include removing flourishes, complex typography, drop shadows, and gradients from logos and other visuals. Debranding can help simplify a brand’s identity and make it more visually consistent.

By removing extraneous text and graphics, debranding allows consumers to more easily identify your brand and its core message.

Adapt Your Brand to Different Audiences, Locations, Niches, Etc. 

A skillfully debranded logo can easily help you create a new color palette and branding strategy for your company without losing any of the recognition you’ve worked hard to build. Do you have a marketing initiative aimed at women? Use femine colors. Trying to give off an autumn vibe? Use colors that evoke the leaves changing. You can do all of this with the same debranded logo!

A complex brand can be more difficult to understand or keep up with when compared to a simpler brand. By debranding, you become far more flexible by offering customizations or options that allow customers to make the brand their own.

Essential in a Mobile World

In a mobile-first world, where the dimensions of design are constrained by the size of app buttons and favicons, debranding can be an important step in creating a more usable interface. Removing major traces of your branding can help users focus on the task at hand, rather than be distracted by logos and branding elements.

Usability is key and debranding can be an effective way to ensure that users have the best possible experience.

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If you are ready to debrand, let us know today!