Rebranding an American Legend

What Zesty New Sauce Can Teach You About Re-branding

Who didn’t grow up with regular trips to Pizza Hut? It was a fun experience! The building, shaped like the iconic hut logo. Games. PIZZA! Wonderful. But, after decades of success, Pizza Hut started to fall into a decline. So, they decided to kick it up a notch . . . a spicy, saucy garlic knot type of notch. And. . . we like it.

After studying a reported 100 or more flavors, connecting with their customers, and pondering their identity, Pizza Hut expanded their menu, rolled out a new logo and launched an ad campaign that celebrates their unique position in the pizza industry.

This story, which occurred in late 2014, is a re-branding success story. It’s a story about a company that decided to survive, and in that decision understand that a rebrand is more than just a creative advertising campaign and a new logo. To reboot, reinvigorate your brand, you have to make changes to how you do business, and to the product or service you deliver. Pizza Hut understand that the taste palette of its core customer base (and indeed, much of the American taste palette) has evolved. So, it broke from its tried and true recipes and made something far more exciting.  As much as we find the new logo and messaging exciting, ultimately both would mean nothing to the consumer if Pizza Hut hadn't’ created a new experience for them to enjoy.

The takeaway: A rebrand has to go beyond an update of a company’s visual identity. A rebrand has to change the experience the company provides, and sometimes that means re-examining some of the core principles, or ingredients, that once made that company successful.

Full Disclosure: This post was inspired by two piping hot creations we picked up for a company pizza break. (To be real.)