POV: Branding Wins from 2023
Rebranding can be a double-edged sword, presenting both risks and benefits for businesses. On the positive side, rebranding offers the opportunity to revitalize a company’s image, reach new audiences and stay relevant in a dynamic market. A well-executed rebrand can enhance brand perception, attract customers and foster increased loyalty.
However, the process comes with inherent risks, which is why you should rely on professionals to not only guide you through the process but to execute it on your behalf. We recommend a deep dive into the why, how and what works — as well as what doesn’t work — for your current brand; research into what you need to attract your target demo; and, of course, find a dynamic team to bring it all to life. That’s what we do here at M3 Group.
There are wins and losses in branding, for even the biggest, most notable brands. But we’re focusing on the triumphs.
Our content strategists, who play major in helping our clients branding efforts, chimed in on a couple of national projects they felt strongly about as wins for 2023.
Penny Spehar, senior content strategist
Western Union: Embracing the Future with a Nod to Tradition
In a striking move, Western Union, the storied brand synonymous with telegrams and wire transfers, unveiled its comprehensive rebranding in 2023, marking a significant shift in its corporate identity. This rebrand wasn’t just a facelift; it was a thoughtful reimagining of Western Union’s legacy in the context of an increasingly digital and interconnected world.
The new logo, with its modern and streamlined design, encapsulated the essence of speed, connectivity and reliability that Western Union aims to project. However, the rebranding did more than just update its visuals. It underscored Western Union’s commitment to innovation and adapting to the rapidly evolving financial landscape. This move signified a transition from a traditional money transfer service to a more versatile, tech-forward financial services provider, catering to the diverse needs of its younger, global customer base.
Western Union’s rebranding journey was as strategic as it was visually impactful. The company rolled out a global campaign to introduce its refreshed brand, leveraging various digital platforms to maximize reach and engagement. This campaign highlighted not just the new look but also the expanded suite of services, including mobile and digital offerings, underlining the brand’s evolution in the fintech space.
Western Union’s focus on digital transformation, especially in mobile technology, resonated strongly with a younger, tech-savvy demographic; while its commitment to reliability and trust appealed to long-standing customers. By balancing innovation with its rich heritage, Western Union’s rebranding masterfully navigated the challenge of staying relevant in the digital age without losing sight of the values and trust it has built over decades. This rebranding story is a compelling example of how traditional companies can successfully transition into the digital era, striking the right balance between heritage and innovation.
Jordan Raubolt, senior PR/content strategist
HBO Max Becomes Max: A Rebrand Hit (But Not at First)
Last spring, Warner Bros. Discovery officially transformed its streaming service HBO Max into Max. While the move to remove the iconic HBO from the name was largely aimed at showcasing the platform’s broad programming mix and making it look more family friendly, many in the branding world considered it an epic failure.
Initially, I was right there with them — criticizing studio executives for throwing HBO’s brand equity in the proverbial trash. But then I had a conversation with my son, Cam, who loves “Teen Titans Go!” and watches the animated series daily on Max.
When the new Max launched, subscribers were required to delete the old app and download the new Max app, which I took care of for him after he got really upset when he couldn’t find the HBO Max app on his iPad.
After I explained the situation, Cam’s first question was, “Why did they do that?” I told him I didn’t know, adding that I thought it was a pretty dumb idea. He then asked, “Who’s Max?” to which I replied, “Oh, he’s the guy who owns HBO.” Cam was completely satisfied with the answer as if it was the most logical thing he’d ever heard. He then quickly moved on to stream the next “Teen Titans Go!” episode from his profile in the new Max app.
Though this is purely anecdotal, unscientific insight from a 7-year-old boy, it changed my perspective on the contentious Max rebrand. Despite the initial shock and rage from a name change, consumers will quickly get over it — especially if they can still watch their favorite show.
M3 Group has a lot of branding wins from 2023 as well, and our clients can attest to that. Want to know more? Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.