My company is in the process of rebranding, something that they did a couple years back, just before I came on board as one of four graphic designers. Keep in mind we are a company of roughly 8,000 employees, all over the U.S. And now we have 5 designers. Hmm. So it falls on our team to redesign EVERY SINGLE ITEM that is in circulation internally and externally. The powers that be hired a large firm based out of NYC to come up with the new brand. Which brings up the question of market research. Did they do it? I have no idea, being a lowly graphic designer.
Case in point - Tropicana.
image courtesy of http://blogs.ft.com/gapperblog/2009/02/pulp-friction-at-tropicana/
Most people have noticed that they redesigned their cartons. But they failed in the market research department, because the public HATED the new design. So they're forced to go back to the boring old, straw in the orange design. Personally, I really like the design of the new carton. But I'm a graphic designer, and I appreciate contemporary design. But I do understand how this could look generic to consumers, and be confusing. And it earned a spot on Yahoo's dumbest business moments of 2009.
What's the message here? Don't eff with what people KNOW. The average person is easily confused by this. I know that when I saw that Tropicana had a new design, I thought, that's cool, they're keeping up the the times. I think the old design is a bit dated - but it's what people know and trust. I've also learned that as a designer, it doesn't matter what I think - it matters what the audience thinks. So my expertise in all things graphical means jack shit.
So we're in for an exciting, yet scary time with our rebrand. Of course, what we sell can't be bought in the cooler section of your local grocery store. Yet, we have an image that's out there, that people are familiar with, and it's scary to turn the page to something completely different.
But hey, it's job security for me. Ha!