Confusing Bumble Rebrand Sheds Light On Rebranding Risks

Bumble, a popular dating app, has undergone a rebranding process which left many people confused. Her Campus reports that the company recently cleared its Instagram feed, replacing it with cryptic posts featuring images of exhaustion and hints at something new. Speculations were rife, with some suggesting that there could be a shift in focus due to Gen Z’s “disillusionment” with modern dating.

This move by Bumble highlights the risks associated with rebranding. While the anticipation surrounding the rebrand might have generated buzz, there is also a chance of alienating existing users if the changes failed to align with their expectations.

There are many examples of companies facing backlash or confusion from consumers after they’ve rebranded. While rebranding can be an opportunity for rejuvenation, there are also inherent risks that require careful consideration.


Why Do Rebrands Often Fail?


Rebranding can be a powerful tool for businesses to refresh their image, attract new customers, or signal a shift in direction. However, even well-intentioned rebrands can fall flat. Here are some reasons why:


Unclear Goals:

Successful rebrands need a clear target audience and defined goals. Without a clear aim, it’s hard to measure success or create a resonating strategy.


Ignoring The Audience:

Sometimes, companies follow trends or opt for what looks modern without considering their target audience’s perspective. Extensive market research ensures the new identity aligns with customer expectations.


Lack Of Research:

Understanding the current brand perception among customers and competitors is crucial. Failing to research brand strengths, weaknesses, and market position can lead to a rebrand that misses the mark or alienates existing customers.


Losing Brand Trust:

Established brands have built trust over time. A drastic rebrand that discards these positive associations can confuse customers and harm brand value. Gradual evolution is often safer.


Inconsistent Execution:

A rebrand involves more than a new logo. It should cover all customer touchpoints consistently. Inconsistent implementation causes confusion and undermines the rebrand’s impact.


Short-Term Thinking:

Building brand awareness takes time and effort. Expecting quick results after a rebrand leads to disappointment. Effective rebranding needs a long-term commitment.


Aesthetics Over Substance:

While visuals matter, a successful rebrand reflects genuine shifts in values, mission, or product offering. Superficial changes won’t win customer loyalty.



Tips For A Successful Rebrand


Rebranding can breathe new life into a company’s image and attract fresh customers. However, it is crucial to approach it strategically to avoid mistakes. Successful rebrands begin with clear objectives and a deep understanding of the target audience. By setting specific goals and conducting thorough market research, businesses can ensure that the rebrand resonates with customer expectations and preferences.

Additionally, it’s essential to maintain consistency throughout the rebranding process, from the new logo to marketing materials and customer experience. By implementing the rebrand consistently across all touchpoints, companies can reinforce their message and avoid confusion among consumers.

Successful rebranding requires a long-term perspective and a commitment to building brand awareness over time. Companies should not expect immediate results but instead focus on sustained efforts to communicate the new brand identity effectively. This involves investing in ongoing marketing and communication strategies to reinforce the rebrand and engage with customers.

Ultimately, a successful rebrand goes beyond aesthetics, reflecting genuine shifts in values, mission, or product offerings. By prioritising substance over style and aligning the rebrand with the company’s core values, businesses can build trust and loyalty among their audience, ultimately strengthening their market position.


Historically Bad Rebranding


Rebranding can sometimes backfire for even the largest companies. Here are examples of historically bad rebranding efforts that illustrate the risks involved in such strategic moves. These instances highlight the importance of careful planning and consideration before undergoing a rebrand.


Twitter / “X” (2023): Elon Musk’s rebrand of Twitter to “X” in 2023 was widely criticised. The single-letter name lacked meaning and alienated users, while the drastic change from the recognisable bluebird logo confused the established customer base.


BBC’s “Cursive Logo” (1997): The BBC, the UK’s public broadcaster, introduced a new logo featuring a stylised, cursive version of their initials. The design proved difficult to read at small sizes and clashed with the BBC’s established brand identity. The logo was met with widespread derision and was quietly phased out within a year.


Kodak (2016): Kodak, struggling in the digital age, tried to rebrand as a printing company. The shift confused consumers who no longer associated Kodak with photography.


Airbnb (2014): Airbnb introduced a new logo many found generic and forgettable. Backlash from the design community and users led them to tweak the logo shortly after.


Weight Watchers (2018): Weight Watchers rebranded as WW, aiming to move beyond weight loss and focus on overall wellness. While the intention was positive, the abrupt change confused some consumers about the core service.


The History Channel (2008): The History Channel shifted its focus towards reality TV shows, diluting its brand identity as a source for historical documentaries. This alienated loyal viewers who felt the channel strayed from its core mission.


The recent rebranding of Bumble serves as a reminder that strategic moves like rebranding can be complex. Although rebranding can offer opportunities for rejuvenation, it also carries inherent risks, as historical examples of unsuccessful rebrands shows us.

Therefore, companies planning to rebrand should take into account the lessons learned from both successful and failed attempts. This includes setting clear goals, conducting thorough research, ensuring consistent execution, and focusing on substance over aesthetics to effectively resonate with their audience.