Why Legacy Beverage Brands are Revamping Their Image

Beverage Rebrand

Recently, three high-profile, legacy brands – Ocean Spray, Mars, and Pomi – announced major overhauls of their beverage branding.

Why are they revamping their image now? Marketing experts said it’s part of a broader industry trend toward adapting to evolving consumer desires, such as a preference for health and wellness products.

“Brand revamps often signal a response to evolving market dynamics,” said Jesse Knox, head of content at ShipTheDeal, “or to reposition in a competitive landscape.

“In 2024, these changes may reflect shifts towards digital branding, sustainability, or inclusivity trends,” Knox added, in a conversation with The Food Institute.

A few major brands have pulled off successful rebranding initiatives in recent years. Dunkin’ Donuts’ shift to simply Dunkin’ serves as the gold standard, according to Marshal Davis, the president of Ascendly Marketing. By dropping the word “Donuts” from its name, the brand effectively broadened its market perception beyond just baked goods, Davis told FI.

Knowing When It’s Time to Revamp 

If a brand’s messaging no longer resonates with its target audience, it’s time for a rehaul, experts note. In essence, when a brand is slipping into a perception of “sameness,” it’s time for significant changes.

“When this happens, the brand loses its voice and starts to sound like all the others, with safe, lukewarm marketing,” said Reilly Newman, brand strategist and founder of Motif Brands.

“As the uniqueness factor dissipates from a brand, it loses relevancy and it leads to a slow decay of perception and market share.” 

For established brands, complete image overhauls should be infrequent, ideally occurring every 5 to 7 years, said Mark Haas, the CEO of The Helmsman Group.

Tips for Rebranding

A successful rebrand involves more than just visuals, as Progressive Grocer touched on in a recent article about the aforementioned beverage rebrands. Half the battle when rebranding involves carefully creating a strategic initiative that establishes honest and transparent messaging.

The other half of the battle involves the fight for the consumer.

“Instead of being the loudest in the room, try to be the most fascinating,” said Miles Marmo, co-founder of Agency Squid, who has worked on brand campaigns for the likes of Mike’s Hard Lemonade and White Claw Seltzer.

“A brand can’t be everything to everyone – nor should it want to be. Consumers are being yelled at by hundreds of brands, creating chaos in the aisles. Think of it as being the most sought-after person in the room at a huge party.”

What typically results in brand loyalty is a strategy that, above all else, involves genuine marketing.

“How do you visually speak and attract a person in a genuine way that makes them come to you? And how do you keep their interest?” Marmo said. “A rebrand should be exciting! It’s an opportunity to make a brand better.”