What is the purpose of debranding

The primary purpose of branding is to influence people’s associations and feelings about brands and establish trust among customers and build loyalty. Brand identity plays an imperative role in differentiating a business and represents the intangible emotional connection to customers. In a world where advertising campaigns, logos, and branding are everywhere, the winner is the one who conquers hearts, not the one who captures eyes.

Marketers have the mission of building credibility with audiences and raising trust among them to attract more customers. But today it is more difficult than ever to earn the trust of people who have changing standards, especially younger generations.


According to Kantar’s study, consumers are growing increasingly distrustful of both advertisers and social media platforms. The report surveyed 8,000 people in eight markets. It found advertising to be the least likely source people would use to garner information about a business, with just 14% saying they trust advertisers in this respect, you figure out that most of them prefer honest and clear marketing messages with a focus on uniqueness, value, and quality. Brands and corporations are often distrusted by generations and they demand honesty and transparency from businesses. They focus on discovery, independence, and social change. In this situation, marketing experts step in with debranding.

Branding is the art of becoming knowable, likable & trustable.

John Jantsch

What is debranding?

Corporate giants tend to exploit trends to maximize profits. This causes them to lose their authenticity and makes them seem like soulless corporations that care only about their bottom line. In this situation, think tanks do not sit on one’s hands. Debranding is the opposite of branding, where everyone is trying to build massive brands, others have decided to step back and allow customers more room to breathe and express themselves.

Debranding has no exact definition. The company’s name can be removed for a more symbolic logo, or the brand identity can be simplified to convey a clear message to audiences. This will fix the bad reputation of companies in order to get closer to customers and build trust. There are some brands that do this by simplifying their logos, while others may make changes to their brand tone of voice. In general, debranding is the process of removing the manufacturer names from products to appear less corporate and more generic.

In a world where people have social media power in hand, everyone wants to claim their own territory. Due to this, companies are forced to retreat from their positions and let customers express themselves in ways that are comfortable for them. So they are more likely to trust the brand and be more welcoming to it.

Companies logo change
Source: Bloomberg

Why do companies debrand?

Brand design has become simpler, with fewer lines, details, and personalities, and logos are becoming more basic. In a video, Ben Schott, the advertising columnist from Bloomberg, explains it all, why brands are de-branding and what it means for brands.

Here are the major reasons why companies debrand:

Digitalization – The use of digital devices, such as mobile phones and tablets, has become an inseparable part of people’s lives. As a result, businesses are trying to adapt their brand and identity to these devices by wiping out details and simplifying logos. This will enable them to be more flexible and have an effective presence in a variety of environments.

Growth – With the growth of companies comes to the need to distance themselves from flamboyant and quirky logos in favor of modern and simple ones that appear more professional and updated. Obviously, their audiences are with them in these changes, and these changes are reasonable for them because this is what both sides want.

Trends – Companies that rebrand or debrand and do a refresh to build more trust will encourage other companies to do the same, in order to maintain their loyal customers. Keeping up with the latest design trends is essential for businesses to remain competitive. It is possible for businesses to fall behind if they fail to keep up with design trends. It’s imperative for businesses to stay on top of the latest trends in design and ensure their designs reflect their values.

Examples of debranding

Since there is no standard definition for debranding and the needs of brands’ audiences vary by industry and culture, debranding can take on different forms. Here are some examples of the most successful examples:

In terms of innovative branding, Coca-Cola is a leading brand and has experimented with debranding. As part of its 2013 branding campaign, 150 of the most popular names in the UK were replaced with its usual branding. The Guardian reports that the campaign was a success. The campaign increased young adult consumption by 7%, generated more than 18,300,000 media impressions, and increased traffic to Coke’s Facebook page by 870% while increasing page likes by 39%.

Coca cola debranding

Nike is also on the list of brands that have debranded. Nike’s debranding was considered the first by some.

Nike debranding

In order to streamline its logo, Nike deleted its name and left only its signature ‘Swoosh’. As a result of this debranding, Nike’s ‘Swoosh’ logo has become such an integral part of its brand identity that it was named after the online company store, “Swoosh” has also been incorporated into sportswear designs.

“I Hate Thailand” is a great example of debranding. Through social media sharing, it became a sensation and attracted over 2.6 million viewers.

I hate Thailand debranding

The romantic-comedy short film tells the story of a tourist named ‘James’ who visits Thailand for a week-long vacation. He loses his bag containing all his belongings. With the help of a local village girl, he recovers his possessions with the help of other villagers. The film ends with James saying he was wrong to have ‘hated’ Thailand when he did not know the country well enough. He ended up staying for two years.

Does it work for every brand?

If your business is not mature yet and your brand values and benefits have not been established, debranding is not gonna work for you. Small brands should be focused on their customers to increase brand awareness and gain a wider share of the market to be able to do this. Also being generic and customer-oriented can happen in the very first steps of branding and brands can introduce themselves in this way from the beginning.

Brands shouldn’t be emotional and take a rash decision on debranding and should assess the market position, target audience, and competitors. Any unwise move may affect the brand’s position and status and also affect profitability.


Many successful examples of debranding have been seen in brand marketing strategies. This program can assist business owners in achieving their growth goals. You should keep in mind that all of these movements should be based on a complete understanding of the brand’s position. This means that precautions should be taken to make sure the campaign does not backfire and that the company does not suffer large losses.

If you need any help with your business branding, contact me.

Milad Rezaee
Milad Rezaee
I am Milad Rezaee, Logo and Brand Identity Designer. At least 10 years of experience through working on different projects with clients all around the globe helped me to learn a lot and I want to share them with you.

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