The following companies decided to completely change their names and you could say the rebranding process went extremely well for them! Or… like a boss. (No, we’re not rebranding. Don’t worry!)
In 1893, Caleb Bradham from New Bern, North Carolina proudly made what would later be known as Pepsi in his drugstore and sold it as “Brad’s Drink”. After six years, he decided to change its name to Pepsi-Cola in 1898, a name derived from the digestive enzyme pepsin and kola nuts used in the recipe to make it.
Caleb’s goal with his Pepsi-Cola was to aid in digestion and boost energy, not make people fat. Since 1961, it has simply been known as Pepsi. A successful rebrand indeed! Our favorite Pepsi slogan? “More Bounce to the Ounce” from 1950.
Would you believe Google wasn’t always called Google? Let me BackRub that for you. No, seriously, they originally named it BackRub, because the search engine checked backlinks to gather information about how important a specific web site was.
In 1998, they decided BackRub was a stupid name and went with Google instead, which is derived from googol (the number one followed by a hundred zeros). This is supposed to show that the search engine provides large amounts of information, however most people have no idea what googol means to begin with. It certainly worked out for the guys at Google though!
Before they rebranded their company to be named after the Greek goddess of victory, Nike used to be called Blue Ribbon Sports. In 1964, Philip Knight, a track athlete at the University of Oregon, and his coach Bill Bowerman started selling shoes made by a Japanese shoe company then called Onitsuka Tiger (now ASICS) out of a parking lot van at track meets.
They changed the company’s name from Blue Ribbon Sports to Nike in 1971 and the rest is history. Today, Nike has more than 44,000 employees worldwide and is generally considered to be the most valuable brand among sports businesses, so I guess you could say the rebrand was a success! Just do it.
Before 1937, the United Parcel Service (UPS) was actually known as the American Messenger Company. Founded in 1907, the Seattle-based company rebranded to UPS in 1937 and didn’t look back. Today, it’s one of the largest shipping companies in the world. What can Brown do for you?
Break me off a piece of that Rowntree’s Chocolate Crisp. What?! Yeah, rebranding it to Kit Kat was a good idea. The chocolate-covered wafer biscuit bar is now produced worldwide by Nestle, but it was originally created by Rowntree’s of York, England. Nestle acquired Rowntree’s of York in 1988.
At first, they used the trademarked Kit Cat name for boxed chocolates in the 1920s, but these eventually were discontinued completely. They invented Rowntree’s Chocolate Crisp in 1935 and it only took them two years to figure out that this was a boring-ass name for what would become an iconic chocolate bar, so they recycled their Kit Cat / Kit Kat trademark and called the bar Kit Kat from 1937 onwards.
Originally called “Pete’s Super Submarines” when it was founded in 1965 Bridgeport, Connecticut by a guy named Fred DeLuca with $1k borrowed from a friend, Subway now has over 40,000 restaurants in 100+ countries! It was rebranded in 1968.
While Subway is obviously a more marketable name, “Pete’s Super Submarines” is a kickass name for a sandwich shop!
If you know of any more rebrands that went really well, share them with us!