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  • Kristen

Burger King or General Motors: Which Rebrand is Better?

In the past few weeks, some well-known companies have announced updates to their logos, including Burger King and General Motors. At the surface, the reasons for their logo updates are similar. Both logos were updated to make a statement about the company’s evolving business strategies.

For Burger King, the change is to modernize the logo and signal the brand’s evolution in food quality, sustainability, and digital.

For General Motors, the change is to express its commitment to electric vehicles.

However, in digging into the strategies behind the new logos and how the rebranding is being rolled out, I’d say that one will be more successful than the other.

Before I get into that, let’s talk about how to measure the success of branding initiatives. It starts with identifying your goals for the brand. For Burger King and General Motors, they stated that they want their businesses to be known for specific things - food quality, sustainability, and digital for Burger King and electric vehicles for General Motors. Therefore, their primary KPIs should revolve around tracking perception and attributes of their brands in those areas, looking for increases in the percent of people who state the companies are known for those characteristics. This should be captured through an ongoing quantitative survey. But ultimately, these companies want to sell more products. That’s why they have spent time to focus their companies' business strategies and reveal new brands. So, in turn, they should also be measuring indicators that show growth in purchases, from increases in website traffic to sales. All in all, branding is more than just putting a new design on a website, it’s a change that should make a positive impact on a business, including its bottom-line.

So, which rebrand do I think will be more successful? Burger King. Here’s why:

  1. There is an underlying strategy to the rebrand that cuts deep across the business in different areas: food quality, sustainability, and digital.

  2. Their rebrand was developed by an external agency (jones knowles ritchie) versus GM’s internal team. It’s easier for external teams to consider the views of consumers, bringing new, relevant perspectives. Internal teams get caught-up in being influenced by product-focused stakeholders.

  3. It’s not just a marketing campaign. This is a pivotal difference in the rollout of the rebranding between these two companies. Burger King’s new logo and visual identity will be expressed not just on their website, but in their food packaging, uniforms, store merchandising, menu boards, and restaurant signage. It is a change that is being embedded throughout the company and all of its touchpoints with customers, online and in-person. GM’s rebrand is explained as a marketing campaign with a new tagline, website, and advertising. Their rebrand touches the surface but is not necessarily completely immersed through the company.

Companies don’t rebrand often. For Burger King, this is the first change in 20 years. For GM, the fifth logo change since it was founded almost a century ago. It is immensely important that branding is deeply connected to a business strategy, understood by leadership and employees at all levels. And the brand needs to be consistently expressed to employees, prospects, and customers, across physical and digital marketing and sales assets and the people who customers interact with, including sales associates and customer service. Companies that design and execute branding activities comprehensively and implement ongoing methods for measuring success will benefit the most from a branding investment.


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