Debranding: Strip Back Your Brand, Stand Out

Debranding Webinar

Debranding is essentially stripping back a brand and making things a lot clearer. In a purely creative sense, it is important to take an ‘audience-first approach’, looking at how we can impact and engage with others at any given level, utilising different and the latest best practices for maximum digital attention. We need to understand what works most effectively throughout all the digital platforms from social media through to search and obviously, your own channels such as your website. Debranding is a simplified process seeking out a clean visual presentation for your logo or brand, possibly also including the restoration of previous logos from a simpler time. With the need for digital clarity to cut through the noise and make a ‘conversion’ (from a sign-up to a sale), it has never been a more relevant time to Debrand.

5 main reasons to embrace debranding:-

At Anicca, we are experienced in branding and debranding exercises and have years of experience understanding the unique makeup of brands. In that time, we’ve learned the 5 main reasons to embrace debranding are:

Moving away from old negative connotations – In our example, Hermes has tried to move away from their notoriously bad press and recorded customer annoying experiences. The new concept was to emphasise the richness and plurality of the UK and its communities.

Important to reinvent yourself – Post-pandemic, we saw a lot of relaunches. Simplifying a complex identity is something that pre-dates the digital era and this boom in a new branding paradigm is about connecting better with your audience on a more personal level.

Being more on-trend – If you adapt your brand identity to be more trend-based, you are in fact more relevant and able to interact with your target audiences. This isn’t a new thing, brands have adapted over decades and this process all comes from being more approachable. For example, Nike went from a one-word brand to a straight through to the sole usage of the “swoosh” as their over-arching brand developed.

Companies wish to show they have evolved – The debranding movement started when big corporations like Nike did not need to use the word anymore as it was globally recognised enough to drop this. This was when the term “debranding” was coined and whenever this happens at a corporate level, it is soon copied, looked at by designers and academics alike, creating a movement

Big brands need to compete successfully – Brands need to compete, embrace modernity and simplification helps them in new markets and to younger people. Using Mcdonald’s as an example, we saw from 2000 that they used no words and just an icon. They introduced the strapline “I’m loving it” in 2003, then moved to a simple flat golden arch in 2006.

When personalisation became a thing…

In the era of personalisation around 2015, Coca-Cola started using their typeface with people’s names, so you could find personalised bottles, buy them for others and have more reason to purchase one. Everyone knows the Coca-Cola brand identity, but this added level of personalisation was actually anonymisation which made it more relatable as it moved away from “business” and created more relevancy to purchase as a gimmick.

“With 50% of teens and young adults having not enjoyed a Coca-Cola in the previous month alone – we had to reconnect with our key audience.”

Coca-Cola: Discussing the “Share a Coke” campaign

Over the course of seven years, the campaign, which featured well-known figures from Australia to Vietnam, was distributed to over 80 markets. The campaign helped the beverages brand increase its footprint in overseas markets and reverse an 11-year slide in US consumption. It also demonstrated the value of offline personalisation.

This boom notion saw brands from Nutella personalising their products to even Cadbury’s creating concepts for personalisation in the gifting market. Even throwaway products started to personalise themselves, and it was like everyone wanted to jump on this trend. Even the Starbucks app became more personalised, gamified and hugely popular, to enhance the experience the brand delivers. Customers started to place orders and pick their desired beverages up in-store. Additionally, Starbucks made the customer experience more engaging by awarding points for each transaction that can later be used for free gifts.

Branded gifts went wild!

The likes of Lego, Love Island, Disney and even whiskey brands all started to personalise their service and product ranges. You can even get a personalised Nando’s sauce these days! Even posh brands, like those relating to champagne, became involved in personalisation and it was like a branding copycat culture emerged quickly.

All of these personalised approaches work well at a multi-national corporate level but I suppose in today’s age, that’s because we’ve gone into this digital economy mode, where we all make these split-second digital decisions. During the pandemic and in a previous webinar, I discussed the attention economy and how within the digital economy, we make decisions in 0.25 seconds.

We, as consumers and customers, quickly understand what is relevant and what is now. We as businesses and brands understand how to stand out and how complex brands are harder to compute.

Simplification is key

Trying to decipher a brand and its key messages needs to stay simple. It must be clear what messaging is trying to say and then customers will engage with that content to a far better level. We are all wonderful data miners and you see this on Tinder, with the swiping analogy of knowing what is relevant to me and what’s not required. Clear paths and clean visuals need to get to us at that moment as we are spoilt as users.

What is absolute premium now?

Digital attention is at an absolute premium now. Social media channels and ads within these channels show how we’re used to just discounting what people are saying. Brands need to make their impact as short and sweet as possible. Time is crucial and we’re used to taking the shortest possible route on things.

Through the digital economy, we’ve had to go down the “mobile first” design route as all of a sudden, our screens have become a lot smaller in terms of what we engage with and so the user experience has to mimic this. In turn, pixel pressure is important since each pixel is at a premium so we need to take up as little as possible but make the most impact as possible with that. Our attention spans are limited and in the digital sphere, we have to be quicker for our audiences. Just think about Netflix, Uber Eats and AirBnB who don’t have a product, they essentially have a user experience and we as users, especially through the pandemic, were using these channels more and more. Marketing budgets are dedicated to user experience – how we visualise and interact with that brand so you need to match this approach.

About Anicca

Our creative team at Anicca are able to help you with your creative needs, as well as discussions around branding and debranding. User experience is front of mind for us and we are well qualified in simplifying what you need to do.

As you can see from the Anicca 15 logo, we are in our 15th year celebrating our company anniversary. We have a team of 27 and 45 clients from different walks of life, from local government to the likes of Experian. We are passionate about all things digital, technical and creative and have our agency missions in mind this year.

We enjoy spreading our technical expertise via our free webinars and if you need to discuss specific digital branding concerns with us, then just drop us and get in touch.


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