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Why businesses re-brand (and why they must)

Companies rebrand for the same reason you would get a new haircut or buy a few items of new clothing for your wardrobe each season. To be the part, you need to look the part. It’s not necessarily an issue of being fashion or trend conscious. But you need to be in tune with the zeitgeist on some level – and in order to communicate an internal change to market, it helps to show an external one. You need to keep things fresh and relevant, including your content, look and feel. But you also need to do so in a way that’s authentic and real, and not just ‘for the sake of.”

Coco Chanel maintained that a few classic clothing items should form of the essence of one’s personal brand. One then works around them, using accessories and add-ons to change it up and play with one’s look and mood to add texture and variety. The iconic French designer was absolutely spot on. However. We do also need to show our audience, consumer and client that we can adapt to change and that over time, we learn lessons and apply them. The clothes that suit us at 14 are unlikely to look as appealing at 40. You may still wear jeans or a little black dress, but the cut, design and stitching of the clothes, the fabric and hem length will alter according to where you’re at.

While your intrinsic brand essence should not alter, your look may need to.

Change is a good thing. As long as it’s done right. There is nothing more damaging than suffering the ignominy of an expensive rebranding exercise gone pear-shaped or belly up. Just ask Gap. Or Pepsi. (Read a great piece on international rebranding fails here:

Closer to home, there are few of us, whether in the business of branding or any other industry for that matter, who would want to put up their hand as the mind behind Absa (bank’s) new look and Africanacity campaign. There is nothing more ignominious than a very expensive mistake that lands as insincere with the consumer. And while this is certainly subjective, when a campaign is widely lampooned, you can safely assume it has been received with a pinch (or ton) of salt by the market.

Others get it just right, as M & C Saatchi Abel did for Mr Delivery South Africa with their ingenious “Fire the Chef” campaign ( which was followed up with a powerful new look and marketing strategy for what has become, simply, Mr D. The brand offering may not appeal to everyone, but then fast food doesn’t necessarily do it for those who believe in foraging or using exclusively organic produce to prepare home made meals. What the rebrand does do is meet the needs of its target demographic. It’s humorous, on trend and it’s backed up by efficient technology.

When G Studio Branding Agency decided it was time to evolve, we had a close look at what we stood for. When this agency was formed 15 years ago, it was a small graphic design operation run from a garage by three passionate and talented youngsters. A decade and a half later, it had morphed and developed into a strategic creative marketing business serving an international client base, with a staff complement of more than 25 people based in Cape Town, Pretoria, London and Hamburg.

Our logo was, well, outdated. And while our brand essence hadn’t altered much, our service offering certainly has. We still believe that human connection, beautiful, arresting creative and an authentic approach defines us. But our range of services and skills has broadened and deepened. We integrate. We strategise. We distill. We build your brand around powerful, authentic concepts that speak to your audience in the language they understand. We work through-the-line and across all platforms. And we constantly refine our campaigns, our designs and our communications to make sure your marketing is both on budget and on point.

We chose to communicate this message about our business offering and our unique selling points in two important ways:


We streamlined our logo. We lost the blocks and reigned it in. We wanted to look as cohesive as the offering we present to our clients. Instead of looking out there, we wanted it to look stately and serious-minded to communicate the integration and interconnectedness of our strategic branding approach. We kept our corporate colours and our name, but we made it look more grown up.

We’d like to think Coco Chanel would have approved.


We created an impactful, playful and evocative video that encapsulates our vision. Watch it here


We’d never had a company slogan. But we’d always had a year campaign. In 2018, we chose “Let’s get serious” as the latter. We wanted to communicate that we are not some fly by night operation. We aren’t about the glib, the glam or the glitz. We work hard. We make beautiful things and craft evocative copy. We monitor, track and analyse data. We believe that strong, well researched and substantiated creative work moves people and speaks to them. And that it matters. We also wanted to communicate this very clearly to our audience through a new-look website and on our social media platforms.

Which is how and why we came up with our company slogan:

Creativity evokes constructive change

Change can be incremental or sudden and radical. But if you want to implement change you need to partner with those who understand what approach is best for you. Best for your brand. Best for your pocket. Best for the planet.

And that, essentially, is what we’re about. Feel free to drop us a line and tell us what you think of the new website, look, feel and messaging. We’d love to hear what you think.

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