Branding is telling a story. Rebranding is telling the same story from a different perspective, and with new subplots.
Disney is a master storyteller—and re-teller—of tales as old as time. Beauty and the Beast is a brilliant example, not only of a commercial success, but also of recreating a classic to make it both familiar and new at the same time.
If you’re a business trying to recover from bad rep, a big mistake, or simply a lousy marketing year, there’s a couple of things you can learn from the story of a bookworm, a beast, and talking teapots.
Give the Teapot a Back Story
Not just Mrs. Potts, but Lumiere, Cogsworth, and even the villain, Gaston. In rebranding, you have to put something there that wasn’t there before.
There were many plot holes in the original 1991 fairy tale. Why was the entire castle staff punished too? Where is Belle’s mom and what happened to her? And why was the Prince-turned-Beast a meanie? These were some of the questions viewers asked from the old movie.
As a company, you have to listen to your target market about what’s missing in your product, or in your service so you can adjust. Audiences evolve, and so must you.
In the retold story, Gaston is a war hero. The Prince’s servants were punished because of negligence. Belle’s mother died in the plague. And the little prince’s own mother died of illness too, and was raised by his cruel father who was himself a beast. Disney did this for Cinderella too, in the 2015 movie by adding new parts to the story.
This goes the same for branding. You need to add a new unique selling point. Apple is good at this. After the company hit a low point in the early 1990’s, Steve Jobs rebranded the company that influenced the world with its modernity and minimalism.
With many versions of the iPhone, we can barely keep track of what’s new in the latest release but it has successfully sold them over and over. Be it a better camera, wireless headphones, a new operating system—add an exclusive feature.
Keep the Rose and the Yellow Dress
If the Beast had a sunflower, and Belle wore a red dress, it wouldn’t be recognizable anymore as the Disney classic.
Above: Google’s old logo. Below: Google’s current logo.
Remember that in rebranding, you’re not changing the entire story. You’re just tweaking it. You have to study what resonates with your audience to know which things to keep. What are the good things that are associated with your brand? What is its trademark?
When Google changed its logo, it changed the font, but kept the colors. The symphony of red, blue, yellow, and green within the word became Google’s most identifiable visual identity.
Despite the transformation being subtle, it was significant as the sans serif font that replaced the serif was crucial in making Google’s logo more readable in all digital formats.
Don’t rebrand just because. Rebrand for a reason.
Lastly, Cast Many Emma Watsons
And many Luke Evanses, Ewan McGregors, and Josh Gads.
Beauty and the Beast had a star-studded cast. Even minor characters like Cogsworth and Cadenza were played by Ian McKellen and Stanley Tucci respectively.
All of these brilliant ideas on how to rebrand are useless without the right team.
In Beauty and the Beast, even the wardrobe was portrayed by Audra McDonald, a six-time Tony awardee. The cast of Beauty and the Beast was an amazing ensemble, up to the minor characters.
Successful branding requires a skilled digital marketing team that can assess what you need and execute with top quality. Looking for one? We got you covered.